"Valuable" is in the eye of the beholder and subject to interpretation. We've all lost something we considered valuable; however those were almost always something we could live without. In other words, losing a loved one in death shouldn't fall into this discussion, because at times the death of someone we loved can seem almost too much to bear.
In the 1950s, my mother lost the beaters to her Kenmore electric mixer, the big kind that sits on a stand. She'd had the mixer for several years, and she used it almost every day. She had all three of us girls searching everywhere we could think of. One of us said, "You threw them in the trash by accident. That's the only explanation left." She would never, ever accept that. She'd say, "No, I would never do that." And even twenty years later, she'd wonder, "What happened to those beaters?"
My husband and I--at separate times--have lost our matching wedding rings. I wrote an entire blog about that once. I remember how we felt, thinking we'd never find them, but we did. In retrospect, though, we could have lived without them. Our marriage wouldn't tarnish, nothing in our life would change, and we'd manage just fine. We might have even bought new rings if we hadn't found them.
Last Christmas, my husband bought a beautiful Cross pen and pencil set for me. Really, this set is special, very beautiful, as well as practical. I keep them on top of my desk, to the left, at the base of my little blue lamp. One day I noticed the automatic pencil to the set was not there. I began to search. Did it fall into the nearby trashcan? Did it roll off the desk and under my dresser? Is it in a drawer? A pocket? I went through every single thing in the room to no avail. When had I used it last? Could I have taken it to the hall desk where I have two built-in bookshelves? Could it be anywhere in the desk? I consulted my husband. Did you borrow my pencil? Is it anywhere in your office, on your desk, in your closet?
He and I searched the entire house, opening everything that could be opened. Bottom line, we scoured the house--and the vehicles--until we could not think of any other possible place to look.
I searched off and on for days. He told me he'd buy a whole new set for me.
No, I said, I want this set—just like my mother wouldn't accept the fact those beaters were gone.
But he began searching for another set on the internet anyway. When he found one he thought I'd like, and before he ordered the set, he sat down with me and said: "That pencil did not disappear into thin air. It's in this house somewhere. Now, think. What were you doing when you last used it?" I couldn't remember, of course, but I kept thinking about the hall desk. "I think I looked up a phone number, and the book is on the first bookshelf."
He said, open it—see if you left it in there. Nope. No pencil. While we stood in the hallway where this little desk is built into the wall, he reached up and pulled down a hardback book, one I use often in research. He said, "Look." Sticking out at the top, between the pages, was about an inch of that mechanical pencil. Then I remembered having the book on my other desk, open, and using the pencil to take notes. I have a habit of laying a pen or pencil in the groove of the open book. He's much taller and saw it, but I couldn't unless I stood on tiptoes.
Would you believe I cried? But really, would the loss of the pencil have changed my life? No.
Sometimes I think we waste too much time remembering and regretting something we've lost.
---A rejected manuscript.
---A connection with a family member.
---An entire unproductive morning.
---A chance for success.
---A visit with someone before it's too late.
---An unfinished project.
I hope you and I will evaluate our lives, accept that which we cannot regain, clear our hearts and minds, and move on.
But suppose we do mention someone we loved and believed had died…but he returns? What you believed was lost forever is now standing before you?
In TEXAS PROMISE, Jo Cameron marries her childhood sweetheart Dalton King. Soon after the marriage, Dalton joins the Texas Rangers without consulting her at all. He leaves and after a long lonely year, she receives a startling letter from the Texas Rangers headquarters in Waco, Texas announcing his “probable” death in far West Texas.
After a period of mourning and a family service to remember Dalton, Jo moves to Austin and begins a dress shop business.
But Dalton returns, tarnished, broken and bitter, and filled with rage at his wife.
Her sister True said, "Oh, Jo, I wish… What's wrong?"
Jo gasped at the envelope she'd picked up, stared, and turned pale. She held the letter in a trembling hand.
"It's from the Headquarters of the Texas Rangers in Waco." She sat back, shaken, staring at the piece of mail. "I know what this is. I'm sure of it. Oh, True, I'm not ready." She held it to her breast for a moment, took a deep breath, and opened it.
Dear Mrs. King:
I regret to inform you that upon a thorough search of the Chisos Mountains of West Texas, our investigative unit was unsuccessful at locating your husband, his body, or anyone who might have seen him. The entire force of the Texas Rangers of this great state extends condolences on the loss of your loved one. We also grieve for the loss of a brother in arms.
We advise you to apply for Widow's Benefits as soon as you wish.
Sincerely, Captain Louis Lancaster, Texas Ranger Headquarters, Waco, Texas
Jo finished the letter, held it out to True, dropped her head in her arms on the table, and sobbed. Her shoulders shook with emotion while she cried her heart out; releasing all the sorrow she'd felt for more than a year. The sadness had begun three weeks after their beautiful wedding, when he had announced his departure.
Dalton King had landed in hell, but if he hadn't, the pain and horror couldn't be any worse. His head throbbed dully, fiercely, as if someone hammered railroad spikes through his skull, and the rest of his body didn't feel much better. The excruciating stabs and jolts kept him frozen, with no energy to moan or writhe. Surely, he would die.
But someone stood near in this place. Close, but where?
TEXAS PROMISE: The Camerons of Texas-Book II
Now through April 15—full length novel.
Spring 99¢ Sale: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00930ZCOC/
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas