A Timely Present

Mom's gift to me was more than just a watch. It was a way to stay close to her...

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open pendant watch

The pendant watch was the most beautiful thing I’d ever owned. Silver, attached to a silver chain, with an intricately designed cover, it was a Sweet 16 gift from my mother. I wore it every day, as a constant reminder of her. The watch fit her to a T–stylish, yet practical.

For eighteen years the watch kept ticking, through marriage to my beloved Larry, children, a magical life. Not once did it need a repair. Then, abruptly, it stopped–on the day my mother died.

I took it to a watchmaker, but he said it couldn’t be repaired. “It’s so old, the replacement parts are no longer made,” he said. Still, I continued to wear it. It was still stylish, even if it was no longer practical. Mostly, though, it made me feel close to my mother. Not just spiritually, but physically. To me, feeling the watch against my breastbone was almost like feeling my mother’s heartbeat.

Sixteen years passed. That watch never left me. Then Larry passed away. After Larry’s funeral, after all our friends and relatives had left, I retreated to my bedroom.

I sat on our bed, drained, numb. The two people I cherished most in the world were gone. Was there nothing for me to hold on to? I broke down and cried. “Oh, Mom,” I sobbed, “I need you. My Larry is gone and I won’t see him for a while.”

Instinctively, I felt for the pendant watch that for decades had hung from my neck. It wasn’t there. Then I remembered: I had taken it off before the funeral. I went to my jewelry box. I fingered the watch, my mother’s long-ago gift of love, and held it in my hand.

I could swear felt Mom’s heartbeat in my palm. And Larry’s, too.

Then my heart skipped a beat. The watch—the watch was ticking.

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