Thursday, March 1, 2018

I lost my wedding diamond and the strangest thing happened.

I shared this quote from the Buddha on my Instagram the other day, and I had no idea it would morph out of my computer screen and become a real-life situation in front of me:

At the time it was just one of those inspiring ideas that gets shared by me because, heck, who doesn’t want to be one of those people who finds a blessing in every situation?

Yeah, like what the Buddha said.
But the following night as I was crawling into bed I felt my ring finger snag on my blanket and I instantly knew something was wrong. When I glanced down at my hand my wedding ring was there, but the diamond was gone, leaving only the sharp tips of the four-pronged setting attached to a white thread.

What?! I was stunned.
I had no idea when the ½ caret diamond fell out of the setting.

Later during that night Jim turns over in bed and asks me what’s wrong. I have no idea how he knows I am lying awake, my eyes open in the dark, but we talk again about my missing diamond. 
“I just can’t believe it’s gone. And. I guess I'm surprised how much it bothers me… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the timing.”

Sometimes the littlest loss can feel like a kick when we’re already down. 

Have you noticed this too?
For what seems like weeks, I had been languishing in sickness, too fatigued by a hacking cough to allow my typical self-care regimen to carry on, the things that keep me  grounded.

Suddenly the culmination of illness, no yoga classes, a missed appointment with my hair colorist, and of all things-- a broken kitchen faucet now spewing water from under the sink, had left me vulnerable. Feeling out of sorts.

In the morning, still wearing my empty ring, I look in the mirror and see a woman I don’t recognize, tired, with a few gray strands popping from her head.

I decide to scour the entire house for my shining gem, all the while feeling aware of the irony.

You see, I’m not really a diamond person; I’ve never cared much about having them, nor do I notice them on other women’s fingers. My rings tend to be sterling silver and delicate, or a cool piece with turquoise that I bought at a booth when I was wandering the sunny streets of Laguna Beach trying to find my car.

The one exception has been my diamond wedding ring that I haven’t taken it off in thirty years.
I guess you could say I'm attached to it.
I feel about this missing diamond like I felt about Sparky, my very own orange-striped tomcat that died when I was in second grade. I knew something was up by the look on my young Mom’s face when she showed up outside my grade school in our old, 1957 Ford Station Wagon.

Even six and a half year-olds know bad news is coming when their mother begins with a shaky, “Sis. I have something to tell you….” We didn’t make it pass the giant, metal warehouses at the end of the block when I started sobbing uncontrollably, and it only got worse when my Mom tried to console me.
“We’ll get you another cat…. I promise…. I promise!”

“I don’t want another cat. I-want-Spar-keey!” I answered between hiccups.

Which explains my disinterest in a replacement right now.

The wedding diamond I want back is the one that my blonde, sunburnt boyfriend skimped and saved for while we lived in a flamingo-colored complex in Venice, California. It was the eighties, and I thought the avocado green and peach tiles in our closet-sized bathroom were a perfect backdrop for our showers.

We slept under old casement windows, stuck half-open because of clumps of cracked paint inside the frames, but we loved feeling the ocean air blowing over us as we lay on a simple mattress, no headboard, no expensive bedding, and light years away from our parenting life.
 It's weird, really.  But when you wear something on your third digit for thirty years it feels like a sensory extension of your hand. It's just there, part of your finger.

Until it’s not.
Ok God.
The Universe.
That part of me that aspires to be more than someone who picks out meaningful words to post on Instagram and then forgets them.

I know a lesson when I see one.
I know it because every time I look at that empty gold, four-pronged setting on my finger I feel that hollow pit in my stomach. And I whine about the odds of having a diamond just plop out of a ring, and why did this happen to me anyway, and at the worst possible time.

Of course. The good Me would automatically think, Why not you Leslie?  But this is not a good Me right now, this is a Me whacked out on poor sleep and a lingering cough and the realization that this isn’t a simple, replaceable possession.
And this makes me sad.

Like a lot of stuff we lug around with us, my ring is imbued with precious memories that connect me to my past, to a cocktail lounge inside Marina Del Rey, California circa 1987, with ocean waves splashing outside the window, a cherry wood bar the size of an island, and black leather seats. Jim, with a funny smile as he stands up, then drops to his knee with a blue velvet box and my diamond ring inside.

And now it's gone.

And so there it is. My lesson about attachment and loss.

This is what the Buddhists talk about when they remind us that impermanence is a fact of life. Nothing. Stays. The same. Which is the reason we must learn to live our lives fully in the present moment.

Attaching ourselves to “sameness” is what causes us suffering; the more we cling and resist and deny our feelings about these changes, the harder our journey. 
Frank Ostaseski, the Buddhist teacher pointed out that we all experience losses and “little deaths” almost daily. In his book, Five Invitations, he writes:

“The loss of a treasured piece of jewelry, being let go from a job, the abrupt breakup of a relationship, infertility, financial crises, kids going off the school, the loss of our vitality …the loss of control, the loss of our dreams,…when our expectations aren’t met…Sometimes our grief is about what we’ve had and lost, and sometimes it is about what we never got to have in the first place.”

His point is that the little losses in life will help us prepare for the bigger ones, if we bring our whole self to the experience; if we're kind to ourselves and allow our many expressions of grief to be acceptable.

My diamond is lost. I feel sad. That’s natural. That’s ok.

Maybe I’ll find it.

Maybe this tiny gem will fall out of my sheets at some miraculous moment, and a ray of white light will illuminate it mid-air and I’ll reach out in slow-mo and catch it in the middle of my palm.
But probably not.

Gale's home

In the meantime, I went to visit Gale because that’s what I do on Friday afternoons. Gale was married to Bob for over 50 years until he died of cancer at Thanksgiving. Sometimes she thinks she hears him sneeze from the next room.
Bob was a man’s man, a fighter pilot in WW2, and once after he had told me about a special mission in North Korea I said, “My god Bob, you’re a hero.” But he just raised his left eyebrow and with his cigarette dangling from his mouth, told me in his Jimmy Stewart drawl,

“Well, I didn’t do anything different than any other soldier.”

Bob took care of everything for Gale because both her knees need to be replaced and she can barely walk. He was assigned to be my hospice patient, but on my visits he always insisted that I focus on Gale, because that was helping him, he told me.

Last week I planted a bare-root rose to honor Bob’s death. Gale had ordered it on Amazon despite her tight budget, and while I dug in the dirt she sat on the rickety wood bench, bleached from the ocean air and watched me. Afterwards I poured ice tea into two paper cups and I saw her blue eyes glaze over as she stared at the thorny stems and thought about her husband.

 “He was such a kind man you know. Such a good man, god, it was so hard to see him suffer so.”
We tapped cups and when I walked out, she was so happy because the rose was planted close enough to her rusty purple door and she could watch it bloom.

I know now.

Gale has lost something truly invaluable, unmeasurably precious and irreplaceable.

Me, I’ve just lost a diamond.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m still bummed about my ring. But I also know that every night I get to hop into my warm bed with my husband. Every day I walk around on strong legs and I have a home that I’m not afraid of losing.

Our grieving over our losses—no matter how big or small—will always be there, Ostaseski says.

And he makes a good point about this.

People never say, “When are you going to get over your happiness?” Well, our feelings of grief are no different, our loss doesn’t go away, it lasts a lifetime. But the relationship we have with the loss will change, the intensity will soften, and this allows us to keep moving forward.

As this co-founder of the Zen Hospice Project explains, “We don’t get past our pain. We go through it and are transformed by it.”
I think I know what he means.

The external facts haven’t changed for me, the diamond is still gone.
Yet even in the days since, there’s been a slow, loosening of my grip, an emerging ease about what happens or doesn’t happen next. Only now I’m no longer talking about my ring anymore, I’m thinking about how I react to Life.  
before the rose bush got planted

In the meantime, I do know this. That when you least expect it, Life will deliver --the exact people and experiences-- you need to keep growing. To point you in the direction of real joy. To transform you into that best version of yourself.

And that person who finds blessings in every situation? The invitation to be that person is always right there in front of us, waiting to be found in some of our most frustrating experiences.

Like mine, with a tiny, missing diamond.

And if we’re lucky, we’re paying attention.

I'm sharing this post with friends:


Simply LKJ said...

Beautifully written as always Leslie. Having lost my MIL just a year ago, and now dealing with my own mother's mental illness and dementia I am learning a lot about loss. This really spoke to my heart. Thank you for sharing.

J said...

Living fully in the present shouldn't be so hard, but I'm working on just that, too. I've missed you and told you that I wouldn't stop reading! xxoo, Jill

A happy reader said...

Loss often brings clarification. I hope your diamond turns up.

Karen said...

As always, a wonderful reminder of what truly matters.
Still, I hope your diamond shows up unexpectedly.

Blondie's Journal said...

I'm so emotional, Leslie. Yeah, plumbing problems, the flu, the sick pets, a shattered phone. We place such focus on these things and a need for all to go smooth.

I have to say, your part on nothing stays the same riveted me. About loss lasting a lifetime, but how we move on. I have a private Pinterest account that I am going to add this to. It's something I could never express to someone who is grieving, but I'm taking it as strength for me, for the future losses.

I lost a gorgeous birthstone ring that my guy gave me for my first birthday together, Now, please understand--I'm the Queen of finding stuff. As Roseanne Barr used to say, "My uterus is a tracking device.".. Always look in the areas you spend the most time in...the kitchen, your office, your car. Since this wasn't a lost item, I think the prongs were loose and pulled the diamond out. Enter fabric. Your laundry room, your hamper, your bathroom rug, your bedroom area rug. Things bounce, too, so look all around. It's important to do this can get swept away easily. You can also vacuum and meticulously go thru the dust and dog hair. :(

By the way, my amethyst was found on the laundry room floor, as that was all I ever did with three critter kids: laundry!! Let us know if you find it. It's all about love.


NanaDiana said...

Oh! I am so sorry that you lost your diamond!! It is heart-wrenching to say the least. Maybe it will turn up when you least expect it. Maybe check your drains (by taking the trap off at the bottom) and also check the inside of your washing machine (where my SIL found her diamond).

Hope you are feeling better all the way around as the weekend blossoms before us. Blessings- xo Diana

Calypso In The Country said...

Another beautifully written post, Leslie. I always have to pause and reflect after I read your blog. How true that we all experience small losses all the time. The loss of a pet does prepare us for larger losses down the road. I remember my kids crying over lost goldfish and hermit crabs...though I know that will never compare to the day (hopefully many years in the future) that we lose our dog, Rosie. I can't even think about that now! I hope your health improves and you can get back into your normal routine. And I am sending positive vibes to find that never know!
Take care and have a wonderful weekend!

Holly Boyle said...

Thank you for this beautiful post an don't worry about that diamond, you are what you are seeking.

Sarah said...

Leslie, I'm heart sick for you. I know this feeling, but there is still hope. It might show up unexpectedly. You never know. My sweet husband gave me diamond studs for our 25th anniversary. One Sunday afternoon I happened to touch my ear and realize my earring was not there. We retraced our day, going back to the restaurant where we had eaten lunch 3 hours earlier. Searching under the table, I found the back to my earring, but no stud. I searched the parking lot, our home again and again, but nothing. Then weeks later, after our house keeper had been there every Tuesday, I came in a side door with groceries in hand. There in the middle of the rug was something shiny. I couldn't believe it. My diamond stud was back. It's a story that makes little sense to me. I can't imagine how we missed it, now how it wasn't vaccumed on those days our housekeeper was there. None of it makes sense, but it happened. I hope your diamond suddenly reappears for you.
But I know that is not the reason for this post. Your words are much deeper and meaningful. Loss, final loss, of the loved ones in our life have no comparrison. Take care and get better soon. Sending you a big hug.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


May I fist say, you need to write a book! I would be the first to buy it. Your wisdom is enlightening. I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading your blog and your instagram. You always lift me me, inspire me, and make me sit, pause and ponder your posts and life.

I am so sorry that you lost your wedding ring diamond. My friend, i am sure that there were so many memories, etc wrapped up in that diamond but you know what? All of those memories live in your heart, you do not need the diamond to remind you of that.

I am much like you( I swear that we would be best friends) I do not like diamonds or jewelry for that matter. I have never worn my wedding ring although I LOVE IT for the sentimentality of it. I just do not wear jewelry, never ever have. The ring was given to my mother in law by the mother of her best friend who was killed at the age of 29, when she was 8 months pregnant. Louise, the name of the mom basically "adopted" my mother in law as her own and treated her like her daughter. She left her the ring along with other pieces when she passed. The ring is actually three rings soldered together, the middle ring is filigree diamonds with a flower pattern, it was her wedding ring, the outer bands are sapphire eternity bands.

I love the ring because of its provenance and what it means to my mother in law. Oddly, when she offered my husband a ring she offered him a 3 carrot diamond and he said no, Liz would never wear that, so she gave him this one and I treasure it.

I savor my grandmothers recipes that were given to me on my wedding day. I savor the cards my mom sends me and all the great trips that she and I have taken over the years to Europe, and around the USA. I savor every minute that I spend with my family and friends. especially me niece who was recently diagnosed with Retts disease.

I hope that you feel better soon Leslie. I was sick over Thanksgiving and it took me over a month to get better for at least 10 days I never left my couch. My husband was starting to worry.

Take care of yourself. I will pray that if God is willing you find your diamond. Take care of yourself and your health.

Thank you Leslie for ALWAYS being honest, authentic and YOU. You inspire me and I hope that someday we can meet.

catlover said...

Thank you for writing this. I admire that you are able to share so profoundly from your heart, and the introspection that has already led you to value what you have so much. I loved this.

Anastasia Martin said...

I love this blog post!! I just wanted to tell you I deleted my instagram..needed a break! Maybe I’ll be back soon. Regardless, I would love to see you again soon! Love how this brought you a wonderful lesson even though your initial reaction was to be upset. That tends to happen to a lot of us sometimes..It’s what I love about life though. Those growing pains are the ones we learn from the most. When we are in that vulnerability of being completely befuddled it brings the most valuable lessons within ourselves. It’s so easy to ask “Why?” things happen, when at the end of the day we have no clear went exactly the way it should have, and look—this blog post is already inspiring so many others out there!! These situations bring things to our lives we do not even understand.


Bobbie Fey said...

You take me on a journey of thought and fill my being in the now. Your words are priceless. I thought I had lost a diamond ring, anguished for a few days and miraculously it turned up. My mother always told me nothing is ever lost. She has been right so many times. Now the meaning to me is......we always have it in our heart!

Leslie Harris said...

Diana you are so sweet. thank you for your empathy, it was such a loss. And I didn't think of the drains until you mentioned it. I need to have my husband do that, but I did check the inside of the washer. no luck so far but I'll be screaming from the hilltop and you'll hear me if I find it.
My health is almost good as new.
stay healthy yourself,

Leslie Harris said...

Jane you gave me the best ideas! And I love hearing your detective mind at work. The funny thing is I know that Rosanne Barr quote and I'll say that to the guys in my life when they can't find something and come to me. Which I usually find. So far the uterus hasn't done it's usual job with my diamond, but Jim thinks we'll find it still. (And i thought he was the rational one lol)

I will let you and the world know if I find it. In the meantime your words and friendship make me happy.


Leslie Harris said...

J-- since you're a no reply blogger I'm hoping you see this. I usually email responses to be on the safe side...but I just wanted to thank you. Not just for your comment but for being a reader who comes back, you have no idea how much that means me.
sending you my warmest hug.

Leslie Harris said...

A happy reader:

You're so right.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your kind wishes about my rind.


Leslie Harris said...

Thanks Shelley for reading my post and sharing your own views on loss. I remember being so sad when our goldfish died and heck, I was in my forties. lol. Oh goodness, losing pets are the worst. When I first heard of the concept of impermanence I found it jolting and sort of depressing. But I've come to see how that simple idea can help us feel gratitude for what is happening now in our lives. For the relationships we have--today, like with precious Rosie. .
I am back to my old self again. Thanks for the good vibes, and I hope you all are well again too. Being sick sure sucks huh?


Leslie Harris said...

Elizabeth thank you such a beautiful comment. I do feel like we are kindred spirits, wouldn't it be great to finally meet in person? If I win the lottery I promise to fly there and take you to lunch so we can drink lots of good wine and eat a gooey dessert and gab for hours.
I found your story about your MIL's ring fascinating. Talk about a ring being infused with residual emotions from the past. Does your husband call you Liz? I never knew that. But if he passed on the 3 carat diamond ring he must really know you well. I did think twice about sharing my lukewarm feelings about diamonds thinking every woman must think I'm nuts. But then you zeroed in on that and could relate. Love it. And I love hearing what you savor in your life, the things that you value.
As always your supportive words help me more than you realize. I literally pause before I hit the publish button each time I write a post like this. I don't know why I feel so nervous, usually about it being too long or too uninteresting for most people. And then you'll say the most uplifting words. And just like that, I'll think ok. Maybe I should keep sharing.

sending you a warm hug from an cold, overcast Huntington Beach,

Leslie Harris said...


And you blow me away too. Thank you for sharing your mother's words... that nothing is ever lost. That really resonates with me. See? I write something and then you share your amazing wisdom. We're a good team.

I always love hearing from you Bobby.

Leslie Harris said...

Thank you Holly. I really appreciate hearing from you.

Leslie Harris said...

Thanks Karen.

Leslie Harris said...

Anastasia I’m so proud of you that you recognized the need to take a break from IG. You are so wise for your age, a lot of older people don’t have that kind of insight or restraint to walk away from their social media acct like you. Even for a short break. I told you I love your IG posts but I didn’t tell you its because you are so real with your words. It takes a lot of courage to share our tender feelings and insights on social media no matter what age. But especially when you’re younger. I’m not sure I would have been able to be that vulnerable at your I’ve admired you for this. And I hope you’ve gotten the kind of support and love you deserve from your posts and that you’re not taking a break because of some negative experience.
Having said that, we will see each other again, I’ll tell Michael myself! Thanks for reading my long post I’m so touched and of course I absolutely love hearing your views.

Carla from The River said...

Hello Leslie,
Another amazing post. I always smile when I see a post from you pop in my e mail. You are REAL! HONEST! that is why I enjoy what you write. You keep it real.
Thank You,

La Contessa said...


Kelly Mckenzie said...

Such a dreadful feeling when you look down and you realize the loss. Ugh. I am sorry. Take heart. My dad gave my mother her engagement ring after 25 years of marriage. They were married during the war, so just a simple gold band sealed the deal. The best man forgot to bring his camera so we have no photos. Anyway, this engagement ring was too big and yet she wore it gardening and it slipped off, not to be noticed until later that evening. Search parties were launched. It was finally found, days later, under the kitchen window.

My heart melted when I read about your cat. It reminded me of the time my mom was waiting in the street when I got home from school at 13. She told me that my dog had gotten out and was hit by a bus. Heartbreaking and yes, we just want them.

Sending bushels of wishes that the diamond winks its way back to you!

Mary Dickson said...

beautiful post Leslie. Did you ever find the diamond?

michele said...

What a gorgeous post, Leslie. I just love your heart. I keep thinking about the loss of the diamond yet the remains of the most important part of the symbol: the circle. It's the circle which represents infinite love which cannot be broken. It's the circle where the value is and not the hard stone that sparkles. And should that remaining circle be lost, all is still not lost since the circular impression it made from decades on your finger will remain. I hope the diamond will be found (I could care less about diamonds myself), and I can't help but think of the rare diamond who is YOU sharing your heart and soul openly, inviting us into your brilliance, and creating ripples of positive influence and goodness. xox

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