Family Culture

The three items that I would select to carry with me to my new community would represent my family culture at different stages.

1. My maternal grandmother’s gold wedding band. She and my grandfather were married for over 50 years and she never removed her ring. She explained that when your husband places a ring on your finger its forever. So it came as a surprise on a cool September day in 1974 when she removed it and gave it to my grandfather. She passed away a few days later. I was 12.

2. My Lladro porcelain baby. It was a gift from my first husband to celebrate the birth of our first daughter. It represents the beginning of my new family in a new country,Germany.

3. My external hard drive. A few years ago I spent about a month collecting old family photos from my aunt and her children so I could have them stored digitally. I am an only child whose parents and grandparents are deceased, so its important to have pictures to share with my grandchildren.

Although I would be upset to give up my baby statue and my hard drive I would. The statue has literally traveled around the world with me and ultimately lasted longer than my first marriage, but I can do without it. The hard drive contains copies of one of a kind pictures, but I gave CDs to both my daughters. My grandmother’s ring is priceless and represents the love and commitment they shared. It will eventually be given to my only granddaughter to wear should she choose to marry.

This exercise was somewhat difficult not because of the idea of leaving the familiar; I’ve moved many times. Nor was it the notion of having a limited number of “things”. It was the reminder of how much loss I’ve experienced in my life and the reminder of my own mortality.

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