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favoriteTwo days ago, I realized I had lost my favorite watch. The watch was sent to me from a friend after my best loved cousin passed away. I loved the watch; it was very expensive and she only wore it when we went to the theater or out to eat. I commented that it was so beautiful she should wear it more often. She laughed and said she sometimes forgot about it. I was amazed when I received it; until its loss, I considered it my very lucky charm.  I retraced my steps, turned the house upside down, and it hasn’t appeared. There was no reason why it should have fallen off; it had a special safety bracelet.

For one day, I could barely function. It was embarrassing how lost I felt without the watch. I keep feeling my arm for my watch. I was out of sorts without my good-luck piece. I started thinking about what it meant.

It was a link to the past. It was a past filled with laughter, good times and some mystery. Part of the mystery was her unwillingness to go through chemotherapy to stop her leukemia.  She had cancer ten years earlier, and came through it with flying colors. She used to tell me it was a breeze. When she finished her treatment, she coached me through my cancer which started the day after she finished her treatment! Believe me, it was an awful winter. We were planning a trip to Italy and more good times in her town of Boston. By the way, we had not seen each other for over twenty years until she tracked me down at a seminar I was doing in Maine one year! We never knew why our families stopped talking, but they had. We vowed it would never happen again, and we began a very close friendship for almost eight years.

 

The eight years were filled with more fun than ever had when we were kids. She was a  couple of years older and, I thought, wiser than me.

The closer we got, the more I noticed how frightened she was. The nurse who ran eight operating rooms at Mass. General was willing to die than go through a bone marrow transplant. The one who told me not to worry about anything was undoubtedly worrying. I was there when the doctor told her if she didn’t continue treatment, she would be dead in a week. I heard her say, “I don’t care!” What had I missed?

I loved the watch but more than that I loved Rosalie. She was the grown-up sister I never had; the one who didn’t compare me to anyone else in my family. She was the one who loved me unconditionally. She approved of my finance and actually adored him; we spent many wonderful times together.

I tell myself; it’s just a watch. I really can’t afford to replace it because of the cost, and it wasn’t insured. I’m hoping someone found it, and they are wearing it. My arm feels so empty, but maybe it’s really my heart. I know Rosalie is gone but there was still a piece of her with me. The watch was the piece I really valued because I know how much it meant to her. How many other things am I  holding that really don’t matter?

She is in my heart; more than ever. Her love and good wishes for me are very much alive.  (She thought I was amazing and I felt the same way about her!) Our families came from very humble beginnings, there were Italian immigrants. We both spent our summers on the farm helping with chores. We both hoped to move on in our lives. I was the first to attend college in my family; she was the second in hers. We both knew we didn’t have much money but our families worked hard and assured us we would get through college.

I want the watch back, but more than that, I want Rosalie back. I’m mad that she made the decision to go away and leave me on my own. I am happy to have spent so much time with her and her most prized possession.  The watch was just a symbol of my connection to my cousin; I know she is still in my heart.

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