Living With Regret
Dori can feel the panic building like an unstoppable snowball in the pit of her stomach. How could she have done such a thing? What would her family say? The regret would soon come to her in quiet moments; every time she read her daughter a bedtime story or every time she walked past her late mother’s portrait.
Oh, how she wished she could turn back time. But that was impossible. There was no way back. There was no way to make it right. The remorse and regret would eat at her every day of her life. How could she have been so stupid?
A Busy Woman
Dori Rhoades is a busy woman. She’s one of those people who’s always on the go. Whether she’s working full time, volunteering in schools, or running daily errands, Dori knew what it meant to be a mom. On top of that, she also runs Conception Showroom, a maternity boutique in Los Angeles.
But unfortunately for Dori, her hectic lifestyle resulted in a costly mistake. And it was a mistake that would live with her forever.
Ready For The Week Ahead
One mundane Monday morning, Dori woke up ready for her week ahead. She rubs the sleep from her eyes and jumps into the shower. She had so much to do this week! The mom of two was planning her son’s 9th birthday party and her own anniversary, organizing a teacher appreciation week, and volunteering at her children’s school.
But thankfully she planned in advance and had her to-do list ready to go. But there was something she never planned for.
Years had gone by since Dori and her husband had moved into their new home. And, as time passed, their home had slowly accumulated piles of junk.
Although it’s not uncommon for a home-owning couple in their 40s to have an unusable garage, Dori was beginning to feel overwhelmed. But she never imagined that the solution would be the beginning of all her problems.
Spread Too Thin
Dori decided to turn to her community’s spring garage sale to try and get rid of some of her unwanted junk.
“I volunteer in my kids’ classrooms multiple times a week, I work full time, I think anyone who is a mother knows,” Dori explained in an interview, “You give so much of yourself that sometimes your brain stops working.”
Finding The Jacket
After working an office job for 40 hours a week, Dori spent all her free time taking care of her young family. She was exhausted. So when she found an old denim jacket hanging in the back of her closet, she tossed it onto the enormous pile of yard sale items without giving it a second thought.
But little did she know, she should have thought twice.
Getting The Yard Sale Ready
The following morning Dori started planning and getting things ready for her yard sale. She was going to bring her kids along too, so they could get involved. Dori was excited and relieved to finally be getting rid of all this unwanted stuff.
But there was something Dori really shouldn’t have given away.
First Buy Of The Day
As soon as she opened her yard sale, residents of the town flocked in, eager to a bargain. A young woman approached Dori’s table and picked up the denim jacket Dori found the night before. “How much?” The woman asked in a friendly tone. “$20,” Dori replied.
The woman got out her purse and handed over a $20 note to Dori. She took it and the woman took the jacket. But then all of a sudden, for some strange reason, a terrible feeling hit the pit of Dori’s stomach.
“I fell asleep with the kids and then woke up around 2 a.m. in the morning and was gathering things for this garage sale,” Dori said in a GoodMorningAmerica.com interview.
“I sold the jacket probably about 9 a.m. in the morning. It never even occurred to me what I was doing.”
A Successful Day
The yard sale was a success. Pretty much everything had gone, and Dori was very happy with how the day turned out. She decided to take her kids swimming and treat them to McDonald’s.
But Dori had no idea what was coming next. And she would soon learn that her day was not in fact a success, but a complete failure.
Woman In The Pool
As Dori jumped into the pool, followed by her kids, the family swam around in the bright blue water. Dori watched another family in the distance play and she smiles to herself. But then suddenly a woman appeared out to the water.
She had a distressed look on her face and was making her way to Dori. What was her problem?
She Had A Problem
The woman in distress got closer to Dori, and Dori asked the woman what was wrong. “I’ve lost my earrings, I think they’re in the pool,” the woman replied, sobbing. For a few minutes, Dori helped the woman look for them, but they couldn’t find anything. The woman thanked Dori for her help and swam off to her family.
But just as the woman swam away, an old memory burst into Dori’s mind. Dori’s heart started beating like a big bass drum, and she could feel a lump In her throat. She had no idea her world was about to be turned upside down. Dori remembered that, Inside of a pocket of the denim jacket she sold earlier, she had hidden something priceless.
A Huge Mistake
In order to keep them safe, Dori had stashed her $18,000 diamond earrings, $1,500 in cash savings, and another ring her husband had given her after the birth of her daughter in the old denim jacket.
Regret washed over her like the long slow waves on a shallow beach. Each wave was icy cold and sent shivers down her spine. Her heart dropped at the thought of her costly mistake. She gave it all away for $20!
Dori felt devastated. The earrings, like the ring, had also held great sentimental value for her. Her parents had come from Vietnam to the United States in 1975 as immigrants — and they brought very little with them.
Her father had gifted the ring to her mother, and after he passed away, her mother had given it to Dori. the ring was meant to be passed along to her own daughter one day as a family heirloom, but now she would never see it again.
“My dad had given my mom a ring, and after he passed, my mom gave the ring to me. It was something I’d wanted to pass along to my daughter. And I saved up for the other stone to make the earrings,” Dori tearfully explained in an interview.
But, worst of all, she didn’t know how her husband would react when he learned what she’d done.
Time To Move On
Though Dori was crestfallen, her husband, Greg, was incredibly supportive when she told him about the mistake she’d made.
Once she tearfully told him what happened and after a cuddle on the sofa, he simply said, “you know what, there’s nothing we can do. What’s done is done. Forgive yourself and move on.’”
It Eats Her Up
And Dori did just that. “Through this, all I’ve always said that I have my family and my house and we’re together and that’s what matters, but what really eats me up is where that one particular stone had come from.”
Although the chances of being reunited with the heirloom were slim, Dori didn’t give up.
Dori praised her husband, stating: “He reminds me that the most important thing is we have our kids and each other and we’re healthy.”
She knows that when life is filled with uncertainty, it is important to remember the things that surround us that we may have been taking for granted. But would Dori be in luck?
Holding Out Hope
Even though Dori was devastated and heartbroken about the lost heirlooms, she desperately tried to locate them again.
But, the chances were slim — mainly because Dori had waited weeks after the yard sale to even begin to put up signs and online messages about her cash and jewels. She prayed that the woman who had purchased her jacket would come forward.
What’s Really Important
Dori remains hopeful, but she knows in her heart that she probably won’t ever get her items back… but it never hurts to hold out hope.
After more of her husband’s reassurances, Dori smiled to herself. She took a deep breath and snuggled into her husband’s chest. There was nothing else she could do.