The Bracelet By Nancy C. Mansfield

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After a long beach walk, I stroll up to my favorite palapa restaurant and plop down in a red plastic Corona chair. I bury my feet in the warm sand and gaze at the tranquil ocean. Pelicans and Gaviotas circle lazily overhead. The sound of children giddy with excitement are playing in the surf. Vendors and artists parade before me selling their wares. Mexico, in all of her poverty, has such an abundance of exquisite beauty. The warmth of the people and their traditions, the fresh fruits and seafood, and the beautiful coastline all fill me with an overwhelming sense of reverence and gratitude that brings me to tears.

I sit at my favorite restaurant for a reason. It is my intention to purchase a handmade bracelet from one of the vendors with my daughters name on it.

I order my favorite shrimp platter and I make a toast to my beautiful daughter who talked about going on this trip with me last year.

As I’m finishing my lunch a young man comes up to my table with his display of bracelets. He can see I’m looking for a specific name and immediately hands me a notepad and pen and says “please to write it.”

As he makes my bracelet he asks if it is for myself and I say “no, es para mi hija que esta en el cielo con Dios” and I point towards the heavens. He slowly looks up and makes eye contact with me and says “Lo siento amiga.”

I pay for my lunch and bracelet and make my way down the beach to the jetty. I place the bracelet on the cross where many mourners have gone before me. I weep like I have never wept before for her. Grief grips my heart. I’m in anguish that she could not see what was possible for her in this beautiful life. I wonder why I couldn’t save her. I miss her terribly.

As this wave of sadness passes through me a sense of peace and compassion possess my soul and in that sweet moment I know all is well. I am holding grief and joy in the same space. It feels like healing has begun.

In that moment I forgave her for leaving us. In that moment I forgave myself for thinking I could save her.
In that moment I knew God was near.

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