The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Ring

People ask me a lot how my mother is doing.  It's a really tough question to answer because everyone wants to hear something positive and encouraging.  Mom is going downhill, there is no way around that.  True, she is still overall a very cheerful person and tries very hard to connect to all her family members and friends though she is definitely getting foggy about how everyone fits into her puzzle.  She still knows us and that is great.  For now.  The way Alzheimer's goes, that will leave eventually too.  I've been wanting to write for a long time about it, and I just haven't known how to put the words together.  And then suddenly it all came tumbling out in a poem.  Here it is.

Star Sapphire

A ring is on my finger
Slender sliver circle
Oval of blue clutched by
Tiny empty claws 
Where chips of diamonds once winked
Long ago lost to the daily jostles of mother’s hands

My favorite part: a star
Hidden in the depths of the sapphire 
Flashing only when tipped just so in the light

It was a gift to me
A gift given awkwardly
Passed suddenly over a cafe table
No birthday, no parting words
Or “remember me by”
You should have this. 
It was a gift from my father.”

Surely my mother, with her sudden bestowing
Could not have known that 
Even then
She was striding so surely towards her descent 
Into the clouding oblivion of disease

What little voice whispered to her 
That this was the time?
The time to slip it off,
Look at it once more,
And with a quick polish of the thumb
Press it into my palm?

This ring,
It is a token
An anchor
A key to the secret entrance of time’s erasing:

There I am, leaning on the kitchen counter
The dirt of a summer day still smudging my face
Watching my mother’s hands hustle and whip over bread dough
The click of her ring as she rolled and shaped
Was the only solid sound in that mass of softness

And there I am, sagging at her side
Perching crookedly on her bench,
Leaning into the warmth of her as she played the piano,
Her ring adding a percussion of clack-on-key with every ring-finger note.

These visits to myself are brief but so solid
In memory all is yellow light
So warm it seems to gather everything closer
I see her hands; certain. efficient. warm.

Now they are flighty, unsettled, thin.  Cool.
I look for my mother in those cloudy eyes
Which hardly meet my searching gaze
I find little reminder of dough or music or warmth

So I bake bread
I sit at the piano 
I run my hands over the counter
And against a mixing bowl
Through all the daily jostles of a mother’s hands
My children lean into me
My sapphire winks
I hear a familiar little clack
And there is my anchor 
Holding in my mind
The remembrance that though she is not so now

My mother once was my mother.


Linda R said...

Hugs to you and your family.

Lainey said...

Rachel, That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

You my friend are AMAZING I had no idea you were going through this with your sweet MOM. Blessed Mothers. Love you Big Much, Mary

Cullen said...


What a beautiful, touching post. You truly have a gift with words.