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Memento Vivere

Courtesy of Dylan Pichnarcik

By Dylan Pichnarcik

Editorial Staff

Over time, we collect stuff. 

Whether it be souvenirs from a memorable vacation - or a random collection of items you cram into a small dorm room. 

You will have belongings - some may be treasure, others may be clutter.  

Some may even be useless. Like that $13 “It’s five o’clock somewhere” wooden sign you just had to buy at HomeGoods. 

Other items you own will hold more significance. 

Some Catholics carry around rosary beads, as a reminder of the mysteries of their faith.

You may have an endless plethora of photographs, highlighting every major milestone in your life.

Your dad may still have thirty year old tickets from the concert that “changed his life” tucked in a box.  

The list goes on. 

My point is that we hold onto things for various reasons - maybe they remind us of a better time in our lives. Or it's an unconscious psychological trait that humans developed over time - which can be summed up as an adverse effect of a child’s safety blanket. 

Everybody has something that they hold close. For me - my “something” is a ring. However this is not just any ring.

My ring was given to me upon my grandfather's passing.  

I can still remember the first time I saw it.

 A small gold band with a large black stone pressed over a tan hairy knuckle. It was probably the only piece of jewelry I had seen him wear.

I was about 7 years old at the time, and oddly enough I was at a bereavement for another family member. I looked down at the ring, then up at my grandfather - and in a small squeaky voice said “Grampy, that’s a nice ring you have.” 

Now, none of you know my Grampy, but he was quite a smooth talker. 

“Thanks, you can have it when I die.”

Sorry, you said what? To a 7-year-old? While at a bereavement? Smooth talker… 

Looking back on it now, it's quite comical as it is just not something you may expect. But at the time I remember my grandmother giving him quite a stern talking to about not scaring me. 

For some reason this memory stuck with me - perhaps it was the first time I had thought about death. 

But upon his passing, this memory came back to me - and it was the one thing I could think of that I wanted as a physical remembrance of him. After some time had passed and the 900 things you needed to do after someone died were fulfilled. I made my request known.

Shortly after that, the ring I had seen all those years ago was now in my possession and I wear it with pride. 

Like the many items others hold close, wearing it reminds me of times shared with my family and with my grandfather. 

When times were different - better. 

I am not alone in this practice - families have heirlooms that they pass down through generations. High schools and colleges give class rings. They are mementos created to bring us back to our prime. 

The principle is the same. The items that connect us to a certain memory or bond will always hold significance in our lives.

Never forget where you came from, and if you are fortunate enough to have something in your life that is a physical reminder - embrace it. 


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