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  • I finally replaced the stone in Grandma's ring.

    I say finally as though it's been decades, but it hasn't. She died four years ago, and only five and a half years have passed since I bought the ring for her on a side street in Bangkok. She'd asked me to find a ring that she could wear in place of her wedding ring, which she'd continued to wear since my grandfather passed but now wanted take off. Not because she had fully healed from the loss of him (she never did), but because the symbolism wasn't helping her anymore.

    Her birthstone was garnet, and I looked for a deep red stone, but the one that caught my eye was beautiful icy blue. Aquarmarine - one word for the color and the stone - in the shape of a heart, with light sparkling all the way through. Just like her.

    I wanted to wear her ring during the rest of my trip, to pour a little of myself into it for her, but I didn't. I am rough where she was delicate, and I knew I would scuff it or worse. Instead I tucked it into my bag and brought it home to her, safe and sound.

    It didn't take long for the stone to fall out, leaving a heart-shaped hole in the setting. Fitting; did we really think we could replace the band she'd worn for fifty years? The ring with its empty gold setting became mine when she died. When my wedding band needed replacing, I decided to try again.

    My birthstone is amethyst. When I was young my father and I won a loose amethyst in a mail-in sweepstakes; I've saved it for twenty years. Now our prize sits on top of a hole shaped like a heart, with light sparkling all the way through. Just like her.
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