This essay was written on April 10, 2017 in honor of the birthday of my late sister, Amy Montgomery.
Today is our sister Amy's birthday. Her light began 36 years ago, and we were blessed with her presence for nearly 34 years on this earth.
Since I can't celebrate Amy with a gift today, I'm sharing about a gift we shared with each other. A pearl ring that is one of my most prized possessions.
A pearl is a gemstone that develops due to an irritant inside an oyster. In many ways, Amy was certainly a pearl to many. Like all loved ones, sometimes she would drive you mad, but her stunningly beautiful soul and the joy, generosity, and love she so freely offered to everyone, made the irritants a glimpse in her memory.
In 2003, I pledged Delta Delta Delta and joined our Mother and Grandmother in the family legacy. The stone of Tri Delta is the pearl and my precious ring was my initiation present from Mom.
Flash forward seven years; Amy moved from California back to Texas because she needed to rediscover her own beauty in her life and remove the irritants. I loaned her this ring, drawing from the symbolism of the pearl as a token of support for her.
Amy flourished, and it was during this time that she conceived and gave birth to Elly, her pride and joy.
When she left this earth, I desired to have the ring back and we began to look for it. Mom, our Aunts, Joy, Abby, Jason, me... We searched over a few days and no one could find it and we resolved that perhaps it had been lost. A week later, I returned to pack up her possessions. Sure enough, there it was in the middle of her bathroom sink with the stopper down. A place where I would be sure to find it. Perhaps it fell out of a makeup bag we looked over or someone was in the house that we weren't aware of and set out the ring, but I like to think that it was one of her final gifts to me.
This ring symbolizes a great deal for me. It reminds me that our dearly departed really aren't that far from us, perhaps in another dimension as close as pages in a book. It reminds me that every irritant in life, no matter how painful or devastating, provides the opportunity to develop something beautiful from it. Every day presents an opportunity to choose where to focus the energy in your life; the irritant or the developing pearl. The love and laughter I shared with Amy for 29 years helped me become the pearl that I strive to grow into every day. Being Amy's sister, and the lessons she taught me made me a better person. The loss we have experienced with her death makes me a better minister, have more empathy, and more serenity over the aspects of life that are beyond our control. Losing her taught me to love more fiercely, just as she did. The loss of Amy, and all loved ones who have gone over, is a constant reminder that this life is a glimpse and every day is meant to be treasured, even the days we struggle. The love we share with others is a gift, even with the irritants.
A beautiful aspect of the Pearl is that they develop in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some may not be deemed as "perfect" to all, some may develop blemishes in their fragile state, but each has value and worth. We are all pearls in our own right and we each have the ability to allow our irritants and blemishes to empower our beauty and worth.
Today is hard, because I would give anything in the world to call my sissy and wish her a happy birthday. It is easy to be enveloped with the grief and sorrow but I'm choosing to focus on and celebrate the beautiful Pearl we had for nearly 34 years. Amy was brilliant, loving, generous, hilarious, and brave. She is irreplaceable, and we were so very blessed to have her for the time we did. Amy was our Pearl gone too soon.
Over Christmas, Elly took an interest in this ring. When she is older, I'll gift it to her and tell her the whole story. More importantly, we will continue to share the countless memories and reasons as to why her Mommy was such a beautiful and precious Pearl. Amy was and is so very loved. Thank you to all who help us keep her memory alive for Elliott. Happy birthday, dear Sister.