Friday, 28 November 2008

The Empty Box

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

A couple of years ago, I was stunned to receive a letter form our county council informing me that I was being awarded a substantial sum of money for long service in my place of work and that I could go to a shop and choose something to the value quoted in the letter. I could then show them the voucher and take the goods home.
Well, strike me down. All that work in the special school over the years, cleaning up sh*t and all those kids I had lifted onto changing tables at great detriment to my back, the crates of sandwich boxes that I lifted and carried.............. now being recognized. I couldn't believe it!
I read on, I couldn't have the gift in cash and I had to spend the voucher in one shop.

I gave the matter great thought and eventually decided to get something that I would never think of buying for myself. Something I would not normally be able to afford. An indulgence!
I chose a gold bracelet in two colours of gold. White gold and yellow gold, sort of entwined around each other in a kind of plait. The bracelet had a good clasp that looked secure. The bill came to just over £300, more than I would ever pay for a bracelet.
Well, I showed it off and wore it on special occasions. I kept it in its posh box that had come from a posh shop.
Last summer holiday, I was having all that worry with my sick son in law and had planned to go and see him. However it was the start of the school holiday and I decided to wear the bracelet for the duration and felt it would be safer than leaving it in the house, in case we were burgled.
The day before I was due to go away, I noticed that the bracelet had gone. To my horror, I realized that I hadn't seen it since the day I put it on. That was three weeks before! I would normally have taken it off for showers and things but because I was not used to wearing it, I'd forgotten that I'd even put it on.

I searched the whole house. I searched the garden. I tried to think what I had done that first day of the holiday. I'd gone shopping and I just hoped that it wouldn't have been found by some druggie who would sell it cheaply for his next fix, or some kids who might have just tossed it about without realizing how valuable it was. 

Then I realized there was a possibility that I had accidentally thrown it in the council garden waste bin along with all the twigs and branches that I had chopped back around that time. The thought that I had given the bracelet inadvertently back to the council was very ironic but was a distinct possibility. I could imagine some one opening a bag of compost that the council had sold to them, made with my leftovers and the look of surprise when they pulled out their bounty. It was a sickening thought.

Of course it could be nearer to home. It might be under the soil somewhere or at the bottom of my mini pond. In fact it could be anywhere. If only I knew where and when I lost it, I might have had a chance of getting it back.
I didn't even get a photo of the bracelet. All I have left is the empty box.

It has taken me all this time to blog about the loss. I was too gutted at the time it happened and had felt very sorry for myself. Everything had seemed to be going wrong in my family.
However, in the end, I began to realize that it was only a material possession and not flesh and blood. I never had the bracelet before, and I haven't got it now. I am exactly where I was before I received that letter.
The council might have reclaimed their gift through the compost or it might be on the wrist of some lucky person. I only hope that person stops to think who might have lost it, though I doubt it. They probably thought it was owned by a very rich person who didn't deserve to have it in the first place!
I keep hoping it will turn up, though I doubt it.

This story was told for Photostory Friday hosted by Cicely and MamaGeek.
With apologies for the uninteresting photo!


Unknown said...

How sad to have lost such a reward.

Casdok said...

How lovely of the council to give you some money. And such a shame you lost the bracelet - but you never know it could still turn up when you least expect it?
But as you say there are more things to life than possessions.

softinthehead said...

The picture is a great illustration of the story - now I really want to know what the bracelet looked like. Great post - sorry about your loss though.

Suburbia said...

I can remember the feeling that you get when you lose something like that, it 's sickening. (not that I've ever had jewelery worth that much either but sometimes it's not the value in money but the memories that go with it!)
You are right, it is only a material posession, but all the same.......

Anonymous said...

Aww even though it's just a material thing it still hurts. I hope by chance it will show up.

Lavinia said...

Oh Maggie May, I know exactly what you are going through, and it *is* tough, and sad. You see, I lost a gold bracelet once too! Back in 1989, an Italian gold bracelet that I had saved up for and bought with my own money. How I adored it! Then one day, it was gone. Like you, I was stumped as to where and when it had slipped off my wrist. Needless to say I turned my house upside down, checked with the local police if someone had found it and turned it in (fat chance!) and even dug deep into all my upholstered furniture in case it had wedged itself down there. It wasn't there, although you may want to try having a feel in the nether regions of your sofa and armchairs---I know that coins and the remote control, hairpins and pencils often make their way down there!! Anyway, my story has a strange ending. Many years later, I came across the exact same bracelet in a different jewellery store. It captivated me just as much as the first time I'd seen it. I decided to buy it...again! But guess I am too afraid to wear it. I fear I would lose it again and I couldn't face that. So the bracelet sits in my safe deposit box at the bank....for years now it's been lying idle there. Hmmmmmmmmm..... Once you have an experience like that, you are forever fearful that it will happen again.

I hope, truly hope, that your bracelet turns up.

Anonymous said...

I was reading, so hoping this would have a happy ending! How kind of the council to recognize your efforts. How wonderful it was to have the bracelet on your wrist for the time that you did. Your right thou and a good reminder, in the end there are more important things in our life, like our family and friends. Still, I hope is magically reappears some day. You deserve it!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Oh dear Maggie - like Cheryl I read through hoping for a happy ending. I'm so sorry you haven't found it - hope one day you do. But it does get the brain in a spin doesn't it - trying to remember exactly what you did and when. Fingers crossed!

A x

Dr.John said...

A great story. Hope it wasn't true.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Maggie,
Oh no this is so sad! I really do hope that it does turn up somewhere in the house, I know (kind of) how you are feeling...

A couple of weeks ago I was given a hand-made blue and white mug, it came all the way from Poland, a lovely and very intricate mug with lots of detail and I loved it.
The second time I used it to make a lovely cup of English tea (from the teabags that my Dad sends me every month) I dropped the mug in my bedroom and it smashed into a thousand pieces.
I was so gutted and all I could keep thinking was "If only I hadn't used it!" I get so angry at myself every time I think about that beautiful and irreplaceable mug...

All the best dear friend and I hope you find it!! x

Maggie May said...

Kimber..... It was till I came to terms with it.

Casdok...... I am beginning to run out of places to look.

softinthehead........ if it ever turned up I would print a photo.

Suburbia......... yes...... all the same

Kelli & Gohn Crazy...... thanks..... I hope so.

Lavinia..... Glad you managed to get another one. But now you are too frightened to wear it!

Cheryl..... I hope it does turn up eventually.

Dr. John...... Its definitely true. I always say if anything is fiction! I rarely write fiction.

Thanks Strawberry A J.

The Brit...... Sorry about your Polish mug. If something is treasured then it doesn't matter if it is gold or pottery, it still hurts!

Cecily R said...

Material it is, but honestly that kind of loss is gut wrenching! I'm so sorry you lost it, and hope that by some stroke of good luck it turns up again!!

the mother of this lot said...

Oh Maggie, what a shame. It might still turn up yet. Let's hope so!

Anonymous said...

I just hope whoever found it has a guilty feeling every time they see it
I once lost my engagement ring and looked everywhere for it for days
Then my husband had a brain wave, we had coal central heating at the time.He went and looked where we had put the ashes and raked though them - there it was. It must have slipped off when i was sorting the fire.

Chris said...

Oh wow, what a loss!
Your perspective is amazing, considering the circumstances.
I really hope the bracelet turns up.

Wendy said...

It's so hard to lose something of value. It kind of punches you in the gut. Then, you realize that it's only a "thing", not a person.

And you try to let it go. I once lost a ring that belonged to my girlfriend's mother. We were only about 9 or 10, but my friend let me wear it for an hour or so, while we were playing. When she asked for it back - it had slipped off my finger. We searched the grass forever, but couldn't find it. She got into serious trouble. Even though it was my fault.

Shellie said...

What a sad empty box, but a happy person who realizes what matters.

Rose said...

Maggie May, I would be sick about such a loss, too! But you have the right attitude about it: it is something material, and there are more important things in life that one can lose. It could have been worse, too--you might have spent your own money on it!

MomOf4 said...

I am so sorry that your bracelet was lost. I hope it shows up again!!

Ladybird World Mother said...

It is just so awful to lose something, especially something given to you for years and years of work... there is absolutely no advice to give, because you have done everything. Am so sorry.
Perhaps it has helped to write it down? And to get such responses. Hope it has. Much love and will send one up to St Anthony to ask him to find it!! (My mother used to pray to him a lot, with surprising results!)

Sandi McBride said...

My first thought about anyone other than me wearing my bracelet might be "I hope their hand falls off!" but on second thought I would hope that it was found by someone who would never think about buying themselves something so luxurious and lovely and that they would wear it proudly,
AFTER trying and failing to find the owner! So sorry you lost it...but so happy that your hard work was noticed and rewarded!

Maggie May said...

Cecily & Jackie....... It seems unlikely, but I hope so.

Valleysmam .... Glad you got the ring back. What a clever man your husband is!

Wendy.......... that must have been awful for you.

Shellie & Rose & Chris....... thanks for kind comments

Momof3 and Lady Bird World Mother..... many thanks.

Sandi McBride.......... yes at least I was rewarded and that was the main thing. Hope someone who is really deserving has it now.

Mima said...

How awful for you to have lost something that meant so much to you, and I can understand why it did. Don't be hard on yourself for mourning the loss, I think that anyone would. I hope that the circle comes around again though, and something good of some shape or form comes into your life.

david mcmahon said...

Maybe there is someone wondering how on earth to track down the owner, Maggie.

RiverPoet said...

Oh Maggie! I hope that someday you see the bracelet again, but you're right - it's only a possession.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." - Matt 6:19

Peace - D

Anonymous said...

Such a shame to lose something that meant a lot to you. Sickening definitely to think the council have it!!

CJ xx said...

Oh Maggie May...what a heart-wrenching story! I lost something similar to yours that I will post about eventually. I do think that when these things happen, it's God's way of reminding us that the riches of this lifetime of ours are not in tangible things! I do hope you find it though. It may just show up when you least expect it!!!

Congrats on your POD award! It is and all!

Jules~ said...

That really was wonderful that you were able to choose a gift of your own desire. Much of the time people are given something like a keychain or a special pen and I think "".
I imagine you felt sick to your tummy when it came up missing. It can still be found though. Yes it is a material possession but God delights in doing all sorts of things when we ask.

Working Mum said...

That is sad, even if it is a material possession, it had meaning.
I lost the stone out of my engagement ring just before our wedding. The insurance replaced the stone, but it's never been the same ring to me.

Hilary said...

That's a heart breaker for sure... a feeling I know well. I also recently lost a bracelet that meant a great deal to me. I hope you find yours, or that, as other have suggested, it now belongs to someone who also deserves that treasure.

Louise said...

Oh, I know how sick you feel. I once lost an antique cameo that was a gift and never found it. But it IS only something material. I'm glad you understand that, but it's still difficult.

San said...

I hope it turns up, Maggie. But you are wise to acknowledge that the bracelet is just a material thing, less precious than our other blessings. It did stand for the appreciation shown by others though, and that's why its loss makes me sad too.