I was up with a distraught Elizabeth from midnight until 2AM. Visible every few seconds was a flashlight beam from the backyard. While I sat in the rocking chair with my sobbing daughter, Charlie with his bad back, was in his boxer shorts and slippers scouring the backyard. Again. And again. And again.
Elizabeth barely slept all night ... which means Charlie and I barely slept either, since she was nestled in bed with us. She would doze off for a few minutes and then jolt awake with big tears and cry "Bunny! Oh, Bunny!!!" I was completely exhausted but I stayed awake comforting her, because her grief was so intense.
I had flashbacks to 1995. On April 14, Charlie and I went out to an Irish Pub with some good friends to hear a local band. During the course of the evening, I was fiddling with my beautiful engagement ring, a family heirloom that was once Charlie's great-grandmother's. I remember it was raining outside and my hands were cold - which made my ring fit more loosely than normal. Suddenly, I felt my ring slip off and heard a "clink, clink, clink!" along the floor.
My heart dropped to my knees.
I whispered to Charlie "I dropped my ring! Oh no, I dropped my RING!!" I got down to look on the tile floor and Charlie got down next to me. Our friends dropped to the ground and all four of us were crawling around looking for my engagement ring. People that had been standing around us, asked what we were looking for and I ignorantly told them the truth. After the wedding band episode we'd experienced less than a year earlier, I incorrectly assumed that everyone was truthful and honest.
Suffice to say, I spent the next 3 hours crawling around a dirty bar room floor looking for my ring. I was completely heartbroken that something so precious was lost, undoubtedly picked up and pocketed by one of the bargoers. Over the next week, I called over 250 pawn shops and over 200 jewelers in San Diego. I posted signs in the bar and offered
My ring was never seen again.
To this day, it still pains me to think of the loss, and whenever I see a pawn shop, I drop in to look for my ring. Last night while I was sitting up with Elizabeth and could feel her little body shuddering from the sadness ... I remembered how physically sick I felt when I had lost my ring. I was unable to function. I missed school and stayed in bed for four days, crying almost nonstop.
On April 19th I was jolted out of my slump and life was put in perspective when the horrific tragedy in Oklahoma City occurred. What those people experienced on that day ... THAT was loss. My ring? It was just a ring. A mere possession. My daughter is too young to understand the concept of material possessions right now. As far as she is concerned, bunny is her best friend. He is very real to her.
This morning, when I
A short while ago ... I received a call from Charlie. He told me that they were at the park and William, very deliberately, walked up to Elizabeth and handed her bunny. What Elizabeth's mother, father, grandmother and dog could not find ... her 2-year old brother did. Bunny had been inconspicuously tucked in the back of the stroller, a spot that we had all searched, several times last night.
I am beyond thrilled that Elizabeth has been reunited with her beloved bunny. I was seriously prepared to call Dionne Warwick and the Psychic Friends Network later today. But above all, my eyes have been opened to the affect that my children's emotions have on me. When something terrible happens to them ... it happens to me, too.
Even something as seemingly insignificant as a misplaced stuffed animal.