In 2018, I was commissioned to create a pendant for the Red Magnolia Theatre Company. It’s a new theater group in Baton Rouge, Louisiana founded by some talented ladies to foster more opportunities for women in theater in our area. I worked with them using their logo as inspiration and created a piece of jewelry for all the founders to wear and to raise money for their theater productions. I loved how it turned out so much that I made a few extra for me to have available for my clients. (The magnolia is our State Flower after all.)
Last month the pendant earned a whole new meaning for me. On December 31, 2018 we lost my dear, larger than life Father-in-law. He fought the good fight with cancer and until the very end kept directing at his beloved Virginia Sanford Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama (the last show only two weeks before he passed.) That’s how much energy and love of life this guy had!
Through the whole journey, my husband kept saying, I’m so worried about my Mom. Dad has done everything for them their whole life together. But I watched her. I saw that quiet strength. The care. The willingness to do what ever it took to make sure he was ok. Even on the days he wasn’t the best patient, she knew it wasn’t him talking. He was in pain so she never took the bait and kept loving him and taking care of him.
We are a theater family, so in my head everything has a theater reference; a song lyric, a show title or line. When we were driving to Birmingham to what we thought was going to be a quiet evening celebrating New Year’s Eve with family, I was thinking, what could I give Philip’s Mom that would have meaning? We had planned to open Christmas Gifts that night too.
We didn’t know that our sweet Jack would pass that day, quietly with all of us around him singing to him and holding his hands. He was just waiting for us to get there but we didn’t know. What followed was a week of arrangements and family and grief and many, many God Winks from Jack to let us know he was still with us.
On the day we left her for the first time since his passing, I knew exactly which piece to gift his Mom. She is a Steel Magnolia. (If you haven’t seen the play or watched the movie, I highly recommend it. It’s a true story written by a Louisiana writer about his family) I gave her the Magnolia Pendant. I wanted her to have a reminder in times when she doesn’t feel strong that she is a Steel Magnolia and I know that beyond the sadness and grief of losing her Jack, she has a powerful quiet strength in her DNA and I know she will be just fine.
Ana Maria Andricain
Ana is a metal clay certified artist creating handcrafted nature inspired artisan jewelry from her Baton Rouge studio. If you love natural gemstones and metal, welcome home!