Finding Comfort in my Pearl Necklace
Mothers awe and gawk over diamond rings their friends have just purchased. For them, the shiny iridescent stone represents class, power, and contentment. However, I view the ring as lifeless. No matter how much luster the ring has, the precious, rare stone is viewed through my eyes as a useless, materialistic “thing”. The ring just sits on the woman’s long, primped finger because it has no purpose. My pearls have a purpose. My pearls have life. I see myself when I look at my pearls. After a night of heartache or a period of trauma, I can cling to my pearls to relieve my pain. The link to my past and the bridge to my future. My security blanket. My comfort zone. I believe in my pearl necklace.
Becoming a woman in every Jewish girl’s life is an important milestone. When I became a Bat Mitzvah, my grandmother gave me a pearl necklace, just as she had given every other grandchild before me. The pearls symbolized tradition and womanhood in my family’s life, and they were to be worn with dignity and pride. Every holiday, the girls of the family accessorized their outfits with the womanly pearls given by our grandmother. They were something we all had in common: the thread that linked our generations together.
Three years went by, and my pearls had the same luster as they previously had. However, the Schwartz girls had one less pearl necklace in their collection. Wearing the pearls felt different that day, as I clutched them tight in my right hand and held my sisters hand with my left. Even though the sun cast its rays onto the congregation of people on the clean cut grass, the picture-perfect environment was a misnomer. Sniffles and sighs drained my head, and I felt weightlessly heavy. Looking down at my grandma’s casket I could almost hear her voice whispering in my ear. Taking my last glimpse of Grandma, I gently rubbed her casket goodbye and then rubbed my pearls. Instead of clinging to my mom that day, I clinched on to my pearls. The solace they provided will allow my grandma to remain immortal and let her essence be eternally with me.
I now wear my pearls in a different light, knowing that I do not only wear them for myself but for my grandma. If I ever long to hear my grandmother’s voice or smell her sweet perfume, I put my necklace on and indulge in the memories that come with it.
In the future, the people-swallowing world we live in will create many challenges for me. Like a best friend’s genuine advice, my necklace gives me confidence to succeed and attack life with full force. Whether experiencing happiness or mourning, my pearls are the epitome of my past. They will continue to reign as my comfort zone in the future and will keep the spirits of loved ones alive. I believe in my pearl necklace, and with my pearls, I will prevail.
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