This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.
I’m a jewelry minimalist. I wear my wedding ring, “pearl” earrings, and maybe a necklace on fancy occasions. But this year for Christmas, Bjork surprised me: jewelry!
I lifted the red velvet box open and found a necklace laying inside. “It’s a mother’s necklace,” Bjork explained. The diamond was in the position for the 4th month of the year – April. Of course. The month that Afton was due. It was beautiful, simple, perfect. The clasp was a little tricky, so I asked Bjork put it on for me. As he lifted my hair and secured the clasp, I literally said: gosh, this feels like a movie… like foreshadowing, doesn’t it?
I wore my necklace for four blissful days. And then our world collapsed.
I cried as I hurried to put my wedding ring, my earrings, and my now precious necklace into a little plastic cup in preparation for the c-section. I handed it off to Bjork as they started wheeling my bed out of the room. It felt all wrong; I needed more time with this baby. I needed to be wearing that necklace.
When Bjork finally got into the operating room, he grabbed my hand through the tangle of monitor cords and opened his other palm to show me: he was holding the necklace. He held that necklace all through Afton’s birth. And twelve hours later, with the necklace back on, I held my baby in that chair in the NICU, and I remember little else in that moment but our touching skin, our mirrored heartbeats, and my necklace as a perfect companion to his little hand on my chest.
It’s only been 19 days, but time is swift. When I look at pictures of our last hours with Afton, I now have to squeeze my eyes shut so I can imagine exactly how warm he was, and exactly what his fingers felt like, and exactly how fast his heart was beating. How did it feel again? EXACTLY how did it feel? Please, Time, just give me this one vivid memory. In my most desperate moments, I hold the necklace and Afton feels just a little more real. Like it was all as sweet and hard and holy as those deep parts of my memories tell me that it was.
I’m still a jewelry minimalist, but my collection has gained one perfect, permanent piece.
I miss you, Afton. 💙