Thanks to Covid
Many of us do it...proudly wear something that represents our children. Its been a thing to wear jewelry with our children's initials or something similar; or to wear a pin or t-shirt that supports them during games/competitions. Well, here's a little story about something I wear that represents one my children.
About 3 months ago on May 7, I received an email. "Several years ago you ordered some fingerprint jewelry from me. I am cleaning out my files and came across Wayland's impression. Would you like me to mail it to you?" ...You see, after we had found out that Wayland's tumor had progressed, meaning he had months to live (usually 4 at the most), my family had the idea to pool some money together and they purchased a thumbprint impression so we could make jewelry with Wayland's finger prints. So, one day in July of 2013 I brought Wayland to the kitchen and asked him to help me with a little project. I wanted to put his thumbprints on some "putty." We played with the impression putty a bit and had to do it over a few times, but we finally got a good one. I told him we were going to make some very special jewelry with his finger prints on it. It was going to be very special because I knew that in my near future I wouldn't be able to hold his hand any longer. I cannot begin to express how strange it is to be preparing a memorial for your child while they are alive. Something you can't really wrap your mind and heart around.
So we mailed Wayland's impressions off to be made into the necklace you will often see me wearing. As I was packaging it up, I felt sad sending that actual print away. I felt "jealous" of it, like I wanted it back someday. It was an item that touched Wayland's skin, a connection to him. You won't hear me say this a lot, but thanks to Covid-19, the artist who made Wayland's jewelry ( who is also a teacher) had some extra time on her hands last spring and went threw files of all past customers. She was returning impressions. I cannot begin to share how special it was to hold Wayland's thumbprint again, a flood of emotion and memories overwhelmed me. To me its a relic, a connection to my son.
This time of year is filled with strange emotions for me, for our family really. Wayland was dying as many of our friend's children were returning to school. 3 years from the day Wayland passed I was in labor with our 3rd child and gave birth to George Wayland early in the morning on August 10, 2016. Now, it leaves me imagining what it would be like to have all my children alive. What would it be like to see Wayland embarking on a new stage in life, Middle school. I somehow was not meant to see these moments, but thanks to covid, I was gifted with a very special moment from the past. A very special memory indeed.