Jewelry allows me to reach those in need of comfort while grieving the loss of a loved one. Yes, making jewelry is fun and creative but it's also an outlet for my sanity giving me the ability to fulfill my life's purpose. Jewelry is the reason I am here. For me, it's the meaning behind the jewelry itself - something so powerful and important I can't even put into words.
Almost daily, I get emails from customers that start something like this - "I want to tell you why this bracelet is so important to me." When I read those words, I take a deep breath because I know I am going to cry. I read the most sad and beautiful stories, much like this one below:
"I have to tell you why I'm ordering these items, as well as the ring I previously ordered for myself with the same coordinates. After a 3.5 year battle with cancer, my beloved father passed away on July 3rd. My mother, brother, sister, and I were blessed enough to be with him, holding his hands and telling him we love him when he died. Just after he passed away, my siblings, mother and I all made a promise to each other to always honor my father's memory by continuing to love one another and care for each other in a way that would make him proud. The rings and the bracelet you are making for me are intended to be a symbol of that promise, and the coordinates are the location of my parents' home, where my father took his last breath."
Wow. Suddenly, the long list of items I need to order and the to-do items I can't seem to check off just don't matter. I cry. I cry because I completely get it and know their pain. I cry because losing a loved one is just really sad. And I cry because I know how much this jewelry will comfort them.
It's funny how things happen. As I was writing this, I received an email from the same customer. Just as she had inspired me to write this, she read my story and told me that I inspired her! We were inspiring each other at the same time - cool! As you can tell, she's an aspiring writer and considering following her dream of becoming an author as I have followed my dream of becoming a jewelry designer. I went on to tell her that the first thing I thought of when my dad died was, "S%^*! Now, I have to grow up!" I was 38 - as it turns out, she thought the very same thing and she is 39. I love to connect with my customers - as another one told me today, "Sad to be part of the 'Dad's who Have Passed' club." I used to think I was helping them but I have since come to realize this is my therapy just as much as it is theirs. It's most definitely cathartic. During the few weeks I interact with other ''club members" while I'm designing their jewelry, I love emailing back and forth sharing our experiences, similarities and heartache. It's always sad for me when I'm done and their order is shipped.
It took my dad dying for me to hop on my own life path - I had no choice after he was gone. And what a path it's been! I got married, started my own business, and raised my kids - I grew up. I never imagined myself saying this - especially out loud - but some good has come from Dad's death. It's been horribly sad at times missing him, but for the most part - it's been good, very good. I finally grew up and become the woman he always knew I could be. His job is done. There's light at the end of the tunnel for my grieving customers aka. club members.
I want them to know this.
The jewelry I make has purpose. It comforts others in the grieving process. I am honored to make it and I'm grateful for the understanding, the empathy, the gift, that my dad left me when he died. This is my journey now and I'm not sure where it will go but I trust in God's plan for me and pray he continues to use me to help others.