I would have never thought an object would mean so much to me, and that a small rosary could make me feel safe. This rosary is made of brown wood, and it was assembled in Mexico. It has been mine since I was sixteen years old. I am now twenty-five. Although it has been with me for nine years, it still has that smell of fresh roses. The rosary has that rough, rusty feel, as if someone literally created it at their home. It has fifty-nine wood beads, and each bead represents a different prayer. The beads are attached by rusty, little metal hooks that make the whole rosary come together. It makes a beautiful necklace that I sometimes like to wear. At the end of the rosary it has a little wood cross; the cross completes the rosary.
I remember my father picking me up from school and telling me he had just bought our flight tickets for our annual family trip to Mexico. I was so excited because I enjoyed our trip there and being with my grandparents. Our first week in Mexico went by so fast, and our visit was coming to an end. I had gone for a walk to la plaza to get some ice cream. Everyone goes to la plaza to enjoy ice cream, fresh cut up fruit, or corn on a stick, and everyone sits on the benches and converses. When I got back to my grandmother’s house, my father was standing there waiting for me. His face was serious, and he was wearing his aged, beige cowboy hat that had stains from the many years he had owned it; he would only wear this hat when we were in Mexico. His serious look made me think maybe I was in trouble. With a stern and deep voice he commented, “I want to give you something, and I want you to keep it forever.” We were both standing in the hallway of my grandmother’s house surrounded by pictures in frames hung on the gray walls. At that moment I thought to myself, what could it be? My father was never so serious; he would always joke around with us, so I didn’t know how to react. I kept eating my ice cream, expecting some type of prank.
My father then handed me the rosary. I looked at him and asked why was he was giving a rosary to me. I clearly remember his response. “Mija, I know one day I will be gone forever, and when I die, you can hold this in your hands and talk to me. I will be right there next to you, listening to you.”
I giggled, “Dad, you’re crazy! No one is going to die.” The way he held my hand when he placed the rosary in my hand gave me a heartwarming feeling, and for a second I thought, my dad has never given me something this meaningful. Why now? I took the rosary, and I thanked him for it. The way he looked at me with his hazel colored eyes felt like he was trying to tell me something with this rosary; however, I didn’t take what he said seriously. After all, I was sixteen at the time, and I couldn’t picture my father gone forever. Without thinking much of it, I placed the rosary in my purse.
Two days later, on the morning of March 6, 2006, we were getting ready to leave on a trip to a water park two hours away from my grandparents’ town. My cousins, uncles, and aunts were all waiting in the patio. The sun was starting to get warm, and all of our bags were packed. My father had been helping my grandfather get a smaller ladder down from the rooftop. The ladder he was on was unbalanced, and he fell back. By that night his heart stopped, and he was gone forever. Blood had spread all over his head. The head injury he received was just too much for his body to handle.
When I got the news, I didn’t want to believe it. My heart hurt. I couldn’t think. I didn’t want to talk, and I couldn’t stop crying. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and cry. I couldn’t believe we had gone on a family trip and I was returning back home without my father. Those last three days in Mexico seemed too short for me. I didn’t want to return back home; it seemed to me our home was going to be incomplete. That moment when he handed me the rosary came back to my mind. I wished I could go back in time so that I could have been more sensitive. I wondered if he knew this was coming. I didn’t understand what made him give me the rosary and say the things he said to me.
Days past and I felt empty. I would lie in bed and hold the rosary. I felt like I could talk to him and he was listening to me. To this day I carry the rosary with me. Whenever I’m stressing, worrying, or feeling sad, I hold it in my hands and stare at it. Its smell of roses makes me feel better. I think back to the memories I had with my father, and it gives me motivation to keep going. All of my bad feelings go away when I have it with me.
After these nine years I’ve realized that we have to appreciate everyone around us. At sixteen I didn’t realize how important my parents were to me. I had to grow up and become independent right after I lost my father. During my late teen years, I had to work to help my mother keep our home. I am now a mother, and I know my son is a blessing. I will teach him everything my father taught me. I have learned to listen to people and be more understanding. The rosary will forever be with me, and it will continue to motivate me. That little rosary is a piece of my father.