The Empty Jam Jar

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Some time ago, a friend remarked:"Marriage don't mean anything again. By the time you get a piece of the wedding cake, you hear them separate." It set me wondering why the happiness of the day can so easily be forgotten by many couples.

 
 
 
Some time ago, a friend remarked:"Marriage don't mean anything again. By the time you get a piece of the wedding cake, you hear them separate."
It set me wondering why the happiness of the day can so easily be forgotten by many couples. Lots of answers, I suppose, but this very short story came to me about remembering that day. Perhaps if we really could recapture the high emotion of the day,  the happiness, we might not be so quick to say -"It's over." — MAYBE?
If you don't like fantasy, the paranormal, or believe that some people can have 'powers' please don't read it. It's one of the stories in My Darling You — ebook on amazon.
 
 
The Empty Jam Jar
 
 
The day before my grandmother died, she called me to her bedside. My heart turned over when I saw how frail and other-worldly she looked – this once strong woman who had been there for me all of my life, nurturing me in the absence of both mother and father.
 
“I have something for you,” she said. “It’s the only legacy I have to leave for you.”
 
She slowly reached over to the table by the bed and handed me an empty jam jar and an envelope.
 
“Huh?” I asked.
 
She smiled.“Keep it safe,” she said. “It is very valuable. When the day comes that you feel that you have reached the end of your world. When happiness seems to be a thing long past; when you are so down that you feel that you would like to end it all, open the envelope and follow the instructions.”
 
My gran had always been a little off-center in her beliefs and actions, so although surprised, I took the empty jar and envelope without further comment except to say thanks. The next day she was dead. I buried her with a great deal of sadness. I was married, with two children, but it felt as if I had lost the only friend I really had in this world. My marriage was proving shaky, one of my children had been diagnosed as autistic. I needed Gran’s strength to pull me through.
 
Life became increasingly turbulent after she died. More marital problems. A difficult child to raise. Many months passed. Finally, Paul and I decided it was better to separate. So there I was, packing to leave home, ending a marriage which didn’t hold any more promises. I pulled an old suitcase out of a cupboard and wondered, for a minute, what an empty jar wrapped in an envelope was doing in it. Then I remembered – Gran’s legacy. I remembered Gran on her death bed saying ‘ read the letter and follow the instructions when you’ve reached the end’ . Surely, this was the end.
 
I carefully opened the letter and recognized her scrawling handwriting. I could almost hear her voice as I read – ‘This is not really the end. Open the jar, take a sniff and do what your heart tells you.’
 
Curious, I turned the jar round and round. It was empty! What on earth did she mean?
 
Nevertheless, I tentatively started to unscrew the lid. Maybe this was Gran’s idea of a joke, Maybe a jack-in- the-box kind of thingy would leap out at me. Maybe she thought this would make me laugh. But no, there was nothing in the jar.
 
The lid had rusted a bit – after all, it was just an old jar, so I had to use some pressure, but I still couldn’t get it off. Paul was in the other room, also packing as we had decided we would both move out of the matrimonial home. Out of habit, I went to him – we were still on speaking terms, and asked him to use his man-strength to open the jar.
 
He looked at me curiously. He must have thought I was cracking up. “Why don’t you just throw it out?” he asked. There was already a very big pile of stuff we were throwing out – discarding like our failed marriage.
 
I didn’t answer, so he twisted open the lid. Nothing popped out as I had half expected. It was, after all, just an empty jar. Paul held it up and peered inside, as if to make sure that he was seeing right, then gave it back to me with a curious expression on his face.
 
Feeling a little foolish, I brought the jar to my face and inhaled, as Gran had instructed, then, disappointed, I quickly replaced the lid and turned away – to find myself nervously waiting at the door of my old church, dressed in all my bridal finery; Gran, still strong, standing beside me smiling. (She had insisted on being the give-away parent). Then we were walking slowly down the aisle to meet Paul, handsome, himself looking nervous, but with each step I could feel the happiness growing big, big, bigger inside me, certain that this was the only thing I wanted in life – to be Paul’s wife, to have and to hold till death us do part.
 
I staggered back into consciousness of the present and saw Paul looking at me with the same look I must have had on my face – bewildered by the strange experience, and the razor sharp memories slicing into my emotions.
 
“Are we really sure we want to do this?” he asked in that gentle, caring tone I had not heard for a long time.
 
I had forgotten how happy I had been to become his wife. Maybe he had also forgotten the happiness of our wedding day. Was Gran some kind of obeah woman? Could she have really preserved some of that happiness in a jam jar, wisely knowing that there would come a time when we would need to remember in order to carry on?
 
P.S. Obeah = (Jamaican) The use of magic ritual to ward off misfortune or to cause harm
Story included in ebook on amazon- My Darling You
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