I had wandered into a small Indian shop in the foothills of the Sierras in Northern California and struck up a conversation with the Native American woman who owned the shop. My own Modoc Indian heritage and love of Indian jewelry prompted me to tell her of the pain I suffered when my mother’s silver Navajo concho belt was stolen. My mother had worn it almost every day of her life. It has passed on to me when she had passed through the arch of life to the other side.
I remember as a small girl putting my arms around my mother’s waist and feeling the warmth of her body through the silver platelets. Having her belt gave me great comfort after her death.
As I talked with the Indian woman, I could sense her empathy. But when I finished expressing my grief at having lost the belt, her message was not the one of sympathy I expected. What she gave me was a new beginning and an insight into my mother.
“Remember,” she said, “the true gift you were given was things of the spirit. Don’t ever cry over things that can’t cry over you.”
My mother is not a belt. My mother is reflected in the woman who now stands in her place – me. My true heritage is the talents and strengths that she left to me. I no longer cry over things that can’t cry over me. I cherish the fortitude and the love a woman left to me.