Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Necklace

The day before we left for vacation, I bustled about cleaning things up in the garden, and the pear tree reached out and grabbed my forget-me-not necklace. The one that has survived two babies' grabby hands. The one my sister gave to me just after Henry died. The one I wore at first just on what I expected to be hard days. The one I at some point started wearing pretty much all the time.

For a long time it was a talisman against the world that didn't know I'd lost a baby. I'd put my hand to it frequently for comfort, for something to do when I told that news—or didn't. Now, as I find myself putting my hand to my bare neck again and again, I realize just how much. I probably have another silver chain somewhere that I could use with it, but I haven't had time to look.

I spent most of my pregnancy with Elizabeth feeling like I couldn't breathe. Some nights the necklace felt like it was constricting my breathing. I'd take it off, only to put it on again the next morning. I worried about the instructions not to wear jewelry to the hospital in my pre-birth anxiety I feared they would make me take it off. 

Yesterday, Kathleen noticed I wasn't wearing it and wanted to know why and where it was. She asked over and over and over and over as a two and half year old can. 

She wanted to see it, so I showed it to her. "Put it on, Mumma." I told it was broken, that I couldn't wear it until I fixed it and she lost it. For over an hour, she screamed and cried and kicked. She didn't want me to wear another necklace. She didn't want to wear another necklace. She didn't want to go up to her room with her dolls and special animals to hold. She didn't want stories or songs or other distractions. Finally, after some time with me and some time alone and some time with Brian, she agreed to come down for bacon. 

Even calm, she asked me again where it was. She heard me though and said, "Got stuck in pear tree." 

I don't know why it bothered her so much. I don't think she knows the significance. I don't know if she is just used to me wearing it and she was reacting as she might if I lost my glasses or got a drastically new haircut or if it was just the random thing at the moment that opened flood gates. 

The thing is I kind of like not having it on sometimes. It is like a haircut—it's surprising how cool and light it feels with it off. I have two chains upstairs, either of which will probably work, but I haven't made the switch because I'm not ready to put it on again. Maybe it's time to take it off, maybe replace it with a family necklace that represents all three of my babies. I know where it is if I need it. 


  1. I've just had a necklace made with all three names on and have started wearing that instead. Still adjusting to it.

    Poor Kathleen, I also wonder why she got so very upset. Perhaps she is just so used to you wearing it that she thinks of the necklace as a part of you? I remember, as a child, I used to get very upset when my mother cut her hair.

    I'm sure you'll always keep your forget-me-not and there will be times you want to wear it and times you will be happy to have it safe in a jewellery box or drawer perhaps?

  2. Oh poor girl! It's interesting how their little selves process things like that. I, too, have a necklace some friends sent me, which I wore all through my pregnancy with O and at his delivery. I don't really wear it much anymore . . . not sure why not, though.

    My best friend gave me a bracelet when O arrived safely, with all three babies' birthstones on it. I have all these things upstairs in my room, waiting to be worn. I don't know.