We’ve all heard the phrase, “You can’t take it with you,” and it’s true. When we pass away, we don’t get to take any of our material possessions with us.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t give sentimental value to the items we do possess.
For three sisters in California, those items were their mother’s precious rings.
“When my mother retired, she occasionally went to the mall and ‘window shopped,’” explained daughter Debbie Davis. “Once in a while, she came home sporting a diamond ring that had caught her fancy. She tucked it away until she had three ‘special’ ones.”
For years, Debbie’s mother would ask her daughters which of her rings were their favorite so she knew which one to leave each of them when she passed. She would bring the rings down at family gatherings, show them to her daughters, and then, once everyone had confirmed which one they liked best, take them back upstairs and put them away for safekeeping.
“I chose the ring her second husband gave her when they married,” Debbie said. “He adored her and lavished her with so much love and attention. One of my sisters admired the one with a vintage flower-like design, and our little sister picked the more modern set ring. Each ring seemed to suit our personalities.”
Over the years, their mother would remind Debbie that it was her job to retrieve and distribute the rings when she passed and Debbie promised she would, but she never bothered to ask where the rings were actually kept, thinking they had plenty of time before they had to worry about that.
Sadly, their mother passed away from a heart attack when she was just 65 years old. None of the sisters were prepared for her passing and it was a heavy blow to the family.
As they mourned, Debbie remembered the rings and the promise she had made her mother to distribute them. As the sisters went through her mother’s belongings readying things to give to charity, Debbie kept her eye out for them, but they never surfaced.
“We searched high and low for weeks trying to find them,” Debbie recalled. “We went through every pocket, every shoe, files, cabinets, drawers. We thumbed through every book dozens of times as mom had a habit of sticking social security checks into a book until she decided to go to the bank. In desperation, we even looked under the mattress! The rings seemed to have vanished into thin air.”
Debbie was distraught. Not only did she not have this special memento from her mother, but she also felt like she had failed in keeping her promise.
“I was beside myself and heartbroken that I wouldn’t be able to fulfill her wish of giving each of my sisters ‘their’ ring,” Debbie said. “My sister and I are the ‘fixers’ in the family. We couldn’t ‘fix’ my mom dying, but I could at least ‘fix’ the promise I had made to her by locating these pesky rings.”
One night, frustrated and disappointed, Debbie went into her mother’s room, sat in the dark, and began to talk to her mom.
“[I] tearfully told mom I couldn’t find the rings and I was so sorry,” Debbie said. “I told her I wished she could tell me where they were so I could keep my promise.”
Just a few minutes later, Debbie’s three-year-old niece, Toni, walked into the room and asked Debbie to read her a story. Debbie was exhausted and sad and really wanted to grieve alone, but Toni was so insistent she finally gave in and told her to pick a storybook from her room.
The little girl rummaged through a box of her grandmother’s books that had been set aside for charity and came back holding a thick blue book.
“Toni, this is not a storybook and it has no pictures,” Debbie told her. “Go get one from your room please.”
But Toni insisted that this was the book she wanted to read.
Not wanting to argue anymore, Debbie sighed and opened the book to its center, and that’s when she saw something that made her jaw drop to the floor.
“[L]o and behold it was a ‘fake’ book,” Debbie explained. “Inside the cavity sat the rings I promised my mom I’d pass on! We had tossed and turned all the books dozens of times because of mom’s habit of sticking a check between the pages but somehow never discovered this one.”
Debbie said her family isn’t particularly religious and they had never believed in miracles before, but they can’t think of any other explanation for this incredible occurrence.
“[W]e believe [my mom] guided Toni to wake up, wander to me (not her parents’ room, mind you), pick THAT specific book from the pile and insist being read to,” Debbie said. “We truly believe that without divine guidance those rings would have been lost forever.”
“Thank you Toni and thank you Mom!” she continued. “I was able to keep my promise and we each have loving memories of ‘our’ rings that we proudly wear in memory of her. Finding those rings was definitely a ‘gift from heaven!”
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