Immediately after Amy died,* we made the decision to have her cremated privately so we could bring her remains home. And my first thought was that I wanted to have her ashes put into some type of locket or necklace so I could wear them and have them near me always. And my second thought was, wow, I have officially become the type of crazy, bereaved mother you read about in horror stories. Honestly, if someone I knew told me they were going to wear their dead daughter’s ashes around their neck, I would be polite and kind but in my head, I’d be thinking they’d gone ’round the bend straight to creepy town. But now – now I get it, now I get why people would do this. How it wouldn’t feel creepy at all. How compelling, in fact, the desire to do something like that really is.
In the end, I felt like this could just be a bit too strange, or a bit too personal, or lending itself a bit too much to people complimenting my necklace and then my saying, “oh thanks, it contains the ashes of my baby who died!” We did actually have her ashes put into a small necklace, mostly because for a one and a half pound baby, most urns are ridiculously large, and the necklace is pretty and lives in her memory box rather than my neck.
But I did want something to commemorate her. Something I could wear every day, see every day, when I was thinking about her. I’m not a tattoo person, so a mother-child necklace seemed best. I ended up getting this, and it’s perfect. It’s pretty, it’s small, it goes with everything I wear. And it’s understated. People who know me, or Dan, or Amy’s story, they know what it symbolizes, but to the outside world there is no reason for this necklace to cause an awkward conversation about a dead child, and instead they compliment it, and I say, “thank you,” and omit the rest.
And now we have another remembrance of our daughter, one which makes me smile every time I go outside. A group of our friends got together and bought us a “Little Gem” Magnolia tree for Amy. It’s right outside our front door so we see it when we drive up, and when we leave. It flowers every summer and will grow to be 15-20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It’s just about to flower now. I never would have thought to do something like this, so I love that they did.
*I never know how to denote this time. Is it the time she was born? The time she died? Both? Do I need to write both all the time? I seem to default to saying the day she died, if what follows is sad or related to that, or born, if what follows is less sad or related to birth, but either one seems to deny something fairly important.