Diamond Ring and Christmas
Betty Mason Arthurs
Christmas time brings both happy and painful memories. Today, I share one of a father’s love and his gift.
A father kept a memorable gift tucked away in the top drawer of his dresser. Among his extra keys, spare change, combs and handkerchiefs nestled, like delicate eggs in a nest, a small blue velvet box. David often touched the box and then opened it to gaze at the beautiful diamond ring, a gift for his lovely daughter.
His daughter was the sunshine in his life. It’s not often parents give birth to a selfless child who loved them “to the moon and back” even after she married. Marcy gave them a delicate granddaughter and handsome grandson. She and her family lived close by and every visit overflowed with her love and concern for her parents.
Marcy would turn 30 years in May. David visited a jeweler and they fashioned a custom gold ring with three small emerald cut diamonds for her birthday. The ring captured a visible, glittering expression of his love. Perhaps someday his granddaughter could wear the ring.
Then a few days before her birthday, and Mother’s Day, came the horrific news every parent dreads. “There’s been an accident. Marcy died instantly.” A few miles from home on a busy city street the van was hit head-on and Marcy’s two children in the backseat were badly injured. One driver was arrested for a DUI.
David, a retired fire fighter, and his wife, Catherine, fought to overcome their own sorrow while caring for Marcy’s grieving husband and their grandchildren. “God help us,” they prayed. There were days and days of hospital visits until the motherless family moved in with them. Sleepless nights followed hectic days of comforting three-year-old Jennie and six-year-old Troy. Catherine often held a weeping Jennie in her arms and rocked her to sleep. Troy said when asked about his mom, “I miss her a lot, her hugs and her smell.”
Christmas approached and the family tried their best to decorate a tree and hang outdoor lights. The children needed new holiday memories. Yet David knew, due to all their extra expenses, money was tight and he wondered how to buy the children presents. How would they pay for the sumptuous dinner Catherine always fixed for all the relatives?
In the black days following Marcy’s death, in the quiet of the bedroom, David would gently open the box and gaze at the precious diamond ring. Sometimes he cried, knowing his sweet girl would never wear it.
Two weeks before Christmas he felt God gave him an idea. Could he sell it to have Christmas money? Would his good friend across the street buy it as a gift for his wife? It would be painful to part with Marcy’s gift, but David was sure she would want her children to have a happy holiday. Catherine agreed, “We need to sell it.”
The next day, David knocked on his neighbor’s door. Teary-eyed, he told the story of Marcy’s ring and opened the tiny box. The ring’s diamonds glistened, beaming forth a sparkling message of love. “We’re really short on Christmas money.” Then he asked, “Would you like to buy it for Lois?” Mark embraced David just as he had on the day of Marcy’s death, “Yes, I’ll buy it. Lois has never had an engagement ring. I’ll save it for our 35th anniversary in June.”
My husband, John Mark, is the neighbor in this story from 15 years ago. I have also changed the names of our neighbors. Yes, John gave me this priceless diamond ring on our anniversary. I am Betty Lois and you can imagine I wept when told the story of a father’s love when given the ring meant for his daughter. Every time I look at my ring I am awestruck…it’s a symbol of unending love.
One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Merry Christmas, Darling,” sung by the Carpenters in the 1970s. Today we can still hear the rich voice of Karen Carpenter singing about being apart but together in heart and soul. It’s a timeless message for all who have lost a loved one. On Christmas I dedicate this song to David and his daughter.
God the Father so loved us that He gave the incredible gift of His son, Jesus. Christmas shows the almighty, powerful love of God for mankind. Jesus, the perfect gift, “tucked away” by the Father until the right time.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)