I’m terrible with jewelry. I love the idea of accessorizing with pretty things, but I can’t hold on to it. It’s just so small and misplaceable. Its got to stay on my body to be safe. This is why I never take off my wedding ring or my favorite necklace. Actually I’ve been wearing Vernon’s wedding ring under mine since a surgeon handed it to me the night of the accident.
In that secret cave some brownie hides my favorite misplaced jewelry, there is a silver heart hanging sideways from a chain. Vernon and I came across the jeweler at a Christmas market on the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. I hinted loudly to Vernon about how much I liked her handiwork, then he took it on himself to look her up later online and asked her to custom make the heart. Inscribed on the back is V+A. I was given it for Christmas.
This was the Christmas I was pregnant with Justine and through the year, I kept the necklace on. I knew what might happen if I took it off. As everything else in the mirror morphed and changed with pregnancy, the reflection of that simple heart was the only thing that seemed to stay the same. I was also very anxious throughout those long months. No longer being medicated for depression, my emotions moved to worrying about the future instead of feeling sorry for myself. That was no longer a luxury, when I was suddenly responsible to make a stable life for this child. Panic struck at unexpected hours. I had to leave my job earlier than expected and Vernon was struggling to make the difference.
I remember that necklace being a source of grounding for me. I would touch it or catch its flash in the mirror and be reminded that Vernon loves Allison. In sickness and health. In joy and fear. For richer or poorer. I would take a big breath and touch my fingers around the pendant and think: Vernon loves me. No matter what happens. He’s on my side.
I also memorized this verse and would murmur it like a mantra:
“…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
I credit both those things for getting me through the pregnancy. Too bad they didn’t help with the actual childbirth.
This is an illustration of a Claddagh Ring, or Irish Wedding Ring. The hands symbolize Friendship, the heart, Love, and the crown is for Loyalty. When I was younger, I wore one that I’d bought at a swap meet. Eventually I lost it, of course. I painted this as a little gift for Vernon, something to remind him that I’m loyal and loving, even if I’m not around much. The depth was probably lost on him, but he did keep handing it to people he passed saying it was ‘for me.’
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Song of Solomon 8:6