I always get a lot of compliments about my acorn necklace. Especially in the fall.
The truth is, it has nothing to do with autumn festivity at all. We hold onto what we can of people: it is why Superman logos bring a fleeting smile to my face and when I hear woodpeckers in the distance, my heart gets all giddy.
I love my acorn necklace because it is all I have to hold onto of Isaac.
My sister found out she was pregnant on her 8th wedding anniversary. She had already had one loss and when I called her to say happy anniversary, I had been living out on my own for only 7 days. I was the second person to find out he was alive, only after his daddy knew. The hope was tentative but spread like wildfire. We all laughed so much.
September came and I had been outside on a Sunday afternoon when I got the email that she hadn’t heard the heartbeat on her monitor. As I always do, I buried my head in the sand effectively and waited. We all waited.
The next day, I didn’t check my voicemail till after I had eaten lunch at work – my phone and I huddled in the bathroom when mom’s voice came sobbing across the line. Saying the baby was gone and Rachel was a horrible, sloppy mess. It is the only time in my life I have ever physically reacted to emotional news; I remember my knees buckling and I just sat on the bathroom floor while outside the door they all worried about absurd things like dogs needing blood draws and cats needing vaccines.
I walked out of the animal hospital and went across the street to the Mobile station and in between the noise of Route 6 traffic, I called mom to hear her still crying, trying to make sense of something we still haven’t been able to.
I drove back to my childhood home that night, because in grief it’s better to sit in silence with people than to sit in silence alone. I walked into the house and we just sat in the silence, because what was there to say? I so badly wanted to see my sister, wanted to sit with her, but I also was too scared. In those days, the only tangible word for us aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends was helpless.
Rachel wouldn’t eat. She would only drink Starbucks drinks. He was 14 weeks old and weighed 1.3 ounces when he was born. He had a little blanket and he had a little urn and he had a name he never would’ve had if he had lived: Isaac Jasper.
It means Treasure of Laughter, because he brought so much laughter to our lives in the fourteen weeks we knew about him.
Rachel found acorns in the following days. They brought her some kind of tangible comfort, and so they brought comfort to all of us, because we were all more scared of losing a piece of her than we were of losing Isaac. The acorn trend caught on with all her friends and family, and the acorn that hangs around my neck reminds me of the little boy I can’t wait to meet someday. Scattered around all our houses, 33 months later, there are acorns still.
Acorns to remind us that the littlest things can take root in our heart.
Guest story by Anna Barton