Feeling quite like the superhero, Wonder Woman, I now wear a bracelet that holds within it so much strength and love that it is impenetrable by negative forces.
“She’s gone off the deep end now!”
No, I haven’t lost all my marbles. I know the beautiful bauble that adorns my wrist holds no magical powers, but it has given me the gift of a tangible reminder every second it lays against my skin that an incredible woman began laying a path and it is my duty — and honor — to continue her work.
Grieving in the United States is an odd thing, to say the very least. Americans set an unspoken time limit on the mourning process that is simply unrealistic and unhealthy. We are expected to put on brave faces, returning to work and going about our daily lives, as if nothing has happened; and we do it because we are rarely given any other choice. Employers expect us back at work within days and the people around us tire quickly of our sadness. So, we hold back the screams and sobs and do our best to go through each day as if our hearts haven’t been ripped from our chests; and everyone commends us on how strong and brave we are.
What makes matters worse is that while you are in the initial stages of loss and grief, your loved one’s death becomes a monetized social event. Service. Music. Flowers. Food. Thank you notes. It’s a surreal moment when you realize you are going through the same preparations for your mum’s death as you did for your own wedding.
I do not envy those in the business of death. What a weight they bear.
When Tina, from Full of Grace Rosary Design, reached out to me with a business solicitation shortly after I made public my mum’s murder on my personal Facebook page, she knew she was stepping onto volatile ground. She did not know me personally, but knew others that did. She was kind, compassionate and respectful in her communication, and her intent was genuinely from the heart as well as something that aligned with my mum’s beliefs, so we began the creative process of designing and creating a memorial together.
Having been denied my mum’s few remaining earthly possessions, I have relied on decades of photos and memories that only her daughter could possess. One would think this would be enough — to have such a precious treasure trove — and yet it hasn’t.
I can still feel our last embrace in April as we stood on the sidewalk outside my apartment building before I told her “I love you” and put her in a cab headed back to her airport hotel. Mum wasn’t demonstrative despite how deeply she felt. It was, however, because of her level of empathy that she felt the need to protect herself. And so, that hug will forever be burned on my tactile memory because we stood holding one another for longer than we ever had before. And it was a farewell that tore at me four months before it would become our last.
That tactile imprint is what rushed back to me, like a full-body slam into a brick wall, when I touched the bracelet Tina had created. For the first time since that April embrace, her arms manifested themselves around me and I could truly feel her with me.
The bracelet, while elegant in its own way, is not particularly dainty and its weight is a constant, welcome reminder of her physical presence. I have touched each individual bead and turned them gently on the wire, feeling the surface and admiring their rare, individual beauty. And just as I protect her ashes, I also protect this physical manifestation of her — tucking it away in it’s cotton lined purple box every night safe from anyone who may wish to do it harm.
Taking a breath.
The hard part of this post is over and now I can tell you about how YOU could be a lucky recipient of a Rita Langworthy Memorial Bracelet, too! That’s right! You didn’t think all those petals went into just one bracelet, did you? I arranged for Tina to make a limited amount of bracelets and we are going to give THREE of them away this weekend and auction off the last one at our Inaugural Butterflies & Blues cocktail party fundraiser in NYC next year (October 17, 2016). These will be your only two opportunities to acquire one of these rare bracelets as no more may be made.
Here are the rules:
- Submit your “The Rita Effect” story HERE. (click link to be directed to story submission page)
- Deadline: Sunday, December 20, 2015, 11:59PM EST
- We will randomly select THREE submissions which will be highlighted in our next newsletter as well as their author’s receiving one of the LIMITED EDITION Rita Langworthy Memorial Bracelets.
- Bracelets are packaged in purple gift boxes and come with a card describing the creative process.
- Bracelets will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail and may be mailed only within the U.S.
P.S. Do not despair if you are not one of the lucky 3. We hope to begin selling the beautiful sterling silver & crystal butterfly beads individually shortly.