Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Journey of Hearts

A few years ago, I bought a piece of jewelry at the farmer's market in Hanalei. It has become almost as much a part of me as my long hair or my funny shaped ears.

It's a simple open heart, carved from a coconut shell and strung on marine quality thread. I love it so much, that when I recently got dressed up in my fancies to go somewhere, I removed the heart necklace and put on pearls. Right before I left my house, I switched out the pearls for the necklace that is 'me. I couldn't go out without it.

The Christmas after I bought this heart necklace, my sister in law gave me a memorial pendant. I had asked for a small memorial necklace, so I was touched to see it: a silver circle with his name and the number of days he lived engraved into it, with his birthstone hanging in the center. For a while, I wore them both. Perhaps four months after wearing the memorial necklace, the cheap chain broke and it fell off.

I was livid. We eventually found the pendant, but I was furious that a business would advertise something as a memorial necklace and then put it on a dimestore chain, thus ensuring that the person wearing the memorial necklace would soon be crushed by another loss - even if it was just the loss of a symbolic piece of metal (as if there is more room for being crushed).

Eventually, it became obvious that I already had a memorial necklace; it was the one I wore every single day. The one that never, ever fell off.
So... I contacted Eleni, the coconut necklace artist from Kauai.
I explained the story; how meaningful the necklace had become to me, and asked her if she would be willing and able to carve Elijah's name into my heart.
(haha - I just read that. It just came out. I am so dope.)

She said she would be honored to be able to fulfill such a request.

Of course to do this, I realized just now, I will have to remove the necklace from my neck and put it in a box, offering it up to the care of the USPS.
Someone hold me.

Tomorrow, my heart will be mailed across the pacific, back to an island that stole my real heart many years ago. With any luck, it will return to me in a few weeks, bearing the name of the child who also stole my heart. And cracked it wide open.

Wish us luck.


Aunt Jennie/Dee-Dee said...

What a beautiful story! I am so glad Eleni can do this for you. You are right...the Island did steal your heart. And I as the sister-in-law who gave you the memorial necklace am honored that you continue to wear the Island necklace from your special place of which you shared with me last year! Elijah will always be with us both. Love you lots Gmama! xoxo

furiousBall said...

that was sweet. luck at ya

mama to many said...

that's amazing and very touching. I have a necklace for Isabella that I bought for her first birthday, but I never wear it for fear it will break and I will lose it and be "crushed". I totally get it.

Can't wait to see the final product!

Julia said...

I don't have any memorial jewelry-- couldn't find anything that was "me." I love your heart, though, and the story.
If USPS makes you nervous, perhaps insuring the package, or getting delivery notification, or both might help you feel more protected. I would be nervous too. Good luck.

Lori said...

How beautiful to add meaning to something that is already so meaningful. We had rings made with our daughter's initials carved in them. My hubby was so worried about losing his that he had it tattooed around his arm. I love when people comment about the ring so that I can tell them about my sweet angel. I hope the carving on your necklace brings you that same opportunity.

Alli's Mama said...

Beautiful! I went to her website and checked out her stuff... AMAZING!! I think I'm in love with the butterfly version of your necklace!
Good luck with the USPS!

Lunasea said...

Wow, that's beautiful, and it will be even more beautiful when you get it back. I can imagine how hard it would be to give it up to the mail...I'd want to hand-deliver it just to be sure (and to get some more time in Hawaii, too).

Denise said...

My sweet G,
This post right here... Kicked my ass and made me cry. What a beautiful post! Love ya girlie!

Rachel Inbar said...

You are an incredibly special person. I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet you - your writing means a lot to me.

Which Box said...

A new reader - I loved this post. Love the open heart.

Good luck.

gwendomama said...

I would recommend this jewelry to anyone looking for a memorial necklace - simply because it is SO DAMN STRONG!

and gorgeous.

and yes -the butterfly one is super gorgeous and my favorite gift to give for bat mitzvahs, graduations, other rites of passage.
The spiral is also a lovely memorial - the infinity of the spiral is symbolic.

eleni's work is awesome. in a word.

amanda said...

What a touching way to remember. Just beautiful.

Shannon and Carey said...

The necklace will be back soon. Have no fear Gwen. Please post pics when it arrives. Isn't there an old song about a ".....heart over the ocean......."?
-Shannon :)