A small reminder


Story by Wynne Tidwell, Co-Editor in Chief

Occasionally she runs her hand down the chain of her necklace, a simple necklace. Gold with a ring attached to it. The class lecture continues, but Heather Lanier’s mind is somewhere else. She keeps going back to the necklace.
Twisting the chain around her fingers, weaving her fingers in and out of the band. She’s taken to another time- she’s back in the “old days.”

At 7:15 a.m. a white Ford F-150 makes its way to the end of the drive. Inside a sleepy 8-year-old Heather rubs the sleep out of her eye and listens. She listens to her father’s humming, the rhythmic tap of his fingers on the wheel. His hum escalates, and soon he is belting the lyrics to “Oh Susanna.” She smiles.

She treasured these moments with her dad. It was their time together. In the early hours of the morning, waiting for the bus, Heather learned a two or thing about life. She learned how to carry a tune, the lyrics to “Oh Susanna”, and more importantly, Heather learned about her father.

Heather is back in the “old days.”
Heather is back in the days where her father was still alive.

On the last day of her sophomore year, Heather Lanier’s father died. The cause was unknown, but he had recently been discharged from the hospital, and the family suspects his medication might of caused his heart failure.

The death of Heather’s father left her devastated. Angry. Needing to find an answer.

Heather started to find those answers through church.

“I have always been a Christian, but I had never really needed Him before, everything was OK with my life,” Heather said. “Sometimes it takes a tragedy to get closer to the Lord.”

Heather found that she needed something else, a reminder of her father, which came from an unlikely source.

“It started with my sister just playing with my dad’s wedding ring and putting it around a chain,” Heather said of the necklace she now wears. “I thought, ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool.’”

Heather didn’t expect to wear it everyday, but it grew on her, and since, the necklace has stayed around her neck as a reminder of her father.

“I mean, if he was still here, I never would’ve thought about wearing this. It would be on his hand,” Heather said. “But just knowing that was something that he touched everyday, something that he always had on his hand. It’s a little bit of him that I can have.”

And on occasion, it provides a comfort in difficult times.

“Sometimes it’s hard because I see my friend’s parents, and I know I’ll never have that, but then I realize he’s still with me,” Heather said. “Just holding on to the little things like this really helps me get through things.”

The necklace is a part of her identity. Very rarely is she without it and one can always see her with it. However, on first glance not everyone understands its significance. Usually people assume one of two thing: boyfriend or Sauron’s Ring of Power.

“It’s really funny because everyone is always like ‘she has the Ring of Power’ and I never knew what they were talking about,” Heather said. “My friend finally made me watch Lord of the Rings and it really does look like that.”

Heather has changed since her father’s death.
Before she was quiet.
She sat in the back of the room.
She was a wallflower.
But after her father’s death, she was forced to get strong.
She started to live in boldness.
She spoke out in class.
She became a leader in her church.
She became her own person.

“I’m not afraid anymore,” Heather said. “When I hear myself speak, it reminds me of him.”

Some may wonder if living with the constant reminder of her father is hard, making it difficult to really let go and always binding her to the past.

“Living in the past is not me at all. I don’t dwell. There are no ‘what-ifs’ with me,” Heather said. “I use this necklace to move forward. Plus, I will see him again in heaven.”