It has been very difficult to write since losing Shari. I did continue to write, but it was in a word document saved on my computer. I wrote miscellaneous ramblings about how I was feeling. Free-flow text containing shock, loss, sadness, lists of the little things I miss about her... things I didn't feel like putting 'out there'. At the very top of the document I typed the word 'BRAID'. I typed this word without thinking much about it. It just seemed to belong there...
Shari was such a unique soul. A gypsy girl with the most interesting sense of style. She combined colours and patterns that I would never consider, and pulled them off flawlessly. She always asked me if she looked 'crazy'. I always thought she was stunning, and was forever proud to show her off when we were out together.
Since losing Shari I have felt very connected to her things. I suppose it is because they are the only physical items that remain of her. Lucky for me, she was a collector. She loved to shop and pick up special items everywhere she went. Touching her things, holding them, wearing them make me feel connected to her. Interestingly, I tend to receive many compliments when I wear an item of hers. Likely because the item is usually far more colourful and interesting than my usual uniform of black or grey.
A few months ago an item of hers, a fun little, colourful keychain broke. It upset me more than it should have (considering it was, after all, just a keychain). It felt tragic because it was hers, and as much as I want to use and wear her things, I want to be able to keep them perfect as well. It was a reminder that we can't hold on too tightly to anything. It also gave me the idea of starting a catalog, an archive of Shari's things. Nora has been gifted much of Shari's special jewelry, and even some clothing that is far too big for her now. Both her and Julian have numerous pieces of her art. I would like them to be able to see Shari's things, and know the story of where they were from. Just another of the many reasons I miss her - she had an incredible memory, and she could tell you exactly when and where she purchased every item she owned, as well as exactly how she was feeling when she purchased it. She could also tell me what I wore to a random family get-together 15 years ago. My memory is very foggy on such things, but I will do my best to piece together a little archive of some of Shari's more special objects - or, I should say, some of Shari's objects that are special to me.
Shari bought this braid ring in the summer of 2014 at the second hand store: Goodwill. It is sterling silver, and she paid around $6 for it. I freaked out when she came over wearing it. I can still remember her sitting at the island in my kitchen, and I must have asked to try the ring on five times. I loved it - and so did she. She asked me if I wanted to borrow it, but I just couldn't. It was perfect on her long, elegant finger. She was dating a sailor at the time and she bought this ring because it reminded her of a sailor's knot. Shari was wearing this ring when she died, and I have worn it every day since. It has become one of my most treasured possessions.
When I am particularly sad or missing her I close my eyes and give this ring a little kiss. The symbol of a braid means many things to me now. It reminds me of the time that Shari wasn't well, and I brushed and braided her hair. A braid is two pieces that come together to form something beautiful, something stronger than each piece could ever be on it's own.