Sometimes love gets it wrong.
I recently ordered a necklace in remembrance of the baby we lost in March, Shiloh. The necklace I originally wanted would be made from some of Shiloh’s cremation ashes and some breastmilk that I had pumped while pregnant, which tested positive for hCG. The rest of Shiloh’s ashes are kept in a small memory box we got from Hallmark at the mall. It has a music box that plays “What a Wonderful World” and locks with a cute, antique-style key.
The plan was to have a custom teddy bear made from the receiving blanket in which I wrapped Shiloh after I had miscarried and to have the teddy bear wear a necklace or ribbon with the key to the memory box. The teddy bear and the breastmilk necklace were going to take several months, so I wanted something physical to carry with me until then.
I’ve been sleeping with an old teddy bear until my custom one comes and was so excited when a necklace became available with a birth flower design. I thought it would be a delicate and meaningful piece to honor our baby. The birth flower for March is a cherry blossom. The description of the piece I wanted explained:
Cherry blossoms are an emblem of seeing the beauty in the moment. These delicate flowers have a breathtaking and short-lived bloom. They represent all the beautiful moments that are fleeting and cherished.
This was the perfect representation of my baby. My breathtaking, short-lived baby whose life within my womb was fleeting and cherished. I knew I had to have this birth flower necklace with my baby’s name on it. I was so proud of myself for waiting for the day it went on sale to actually purchase it because I had never, ever waited for a sale in my life! It was quite the thrill!
Of course, this was their biggest sale of the year– their Mother’s Day sale– so I still had to wait a few weeks for this necklace, but it was the next thing for me to look forward to. The next thing to get excited about. The next thing to break up the time between when Shiloh was born into heaven and when Shiloh would have been born in September.
Three and a half weeks later, I got the email notification that my package was out for delivery.
I paced in front of the door all day even though mail doesn’t come to this side of town until at least 4 pm. My neck felt naked without this necklace I had never even worn. Finally, the package came at 5 pm on a Saturday evening, and I kicked my family out of the kitchen to have a private, emotional moment to unveil this precious keepsake.
It was the wrong color.
It was meant to be silver. At first, I thought maybe it was a rosy shade of silver. The birth flower disc uniquely reflected the poor artificial lighting, so maybe it was my eyes. Then I turned it around to look at the chain, which was definitely gold. I compared it to the other necklace I ordered in gold– a similar one for a friend– and they were the same color. Of course hers was right and mine was wrong. Happy for her, sad for me.
I checked the receipt inside the package to make sure I had ordered it correctly, a pointless exercise as I had already checked and rechecked and rechecked again before ordering the item because I wanted to prevent this exact heartache. Yes, I had ordered it correctly. Silver. Same as my everyday pieces: the wedding ring I’d worn every day for almost 8 years and the “Amen” necklace I put on right after getting baptized in April 2017 and hadn’t taken off since.
I was so upset. It seems a trivial thing to get upset about. Logically, I know it’s just an object. I admonished myself for even spending money on it in the first place, sale or not. I give out the benefit of the doubt like it’s free and knew a small business making orders for their biggest sale of the year was bound to make mistakes, and I had absolutely no resentment toward them. But why my necklace?
In that moment I could only think, I couldn’t have my baby, and now I can’t even have this necklace.
I didn’t unwrap it. I didn’t even indulge in the temporary relief of wearing the wrong-colored necklace before saying goodbye and sending it off in exchange for my desired color. Who knew how long that would take? How much longer would I be without this anticipated keepsake? I put the necklace back inside the little box, closed it up, put it in the brown shipment bag in which it came, and shoved it out of sight into the corner of the junk counter for my husband to return on his way to work the following week.
My husband emailed the company explaining the situation, to which they replied, in part:
We are getting the correct piece made and sent out to you as soon as possible! We know it can be a hassle to get to the post office, so don’t worry about sending the incorrect piece back to us. If needed, perhaps you can use the gold piece to stand in.
For now, the gold necklace is standing in for the silver one I anticipate receiving very soon, but my bonus necklace will eventually go to the custom teddy bear made from Shiloh’s receiving blanket. Now when the teddy bear comes, it will have a more beautiful and meaningful necklace than what I had originally envisioned. A special, matching, baby-mommy necklace to safeguard the key for the box that holds the remains of my baby gone too soon.
That’s why mine came in the wrong color and my friend’s didn’t.
I couldn’t see it then. I was so upset with what was that I forgot how God redeems our sadness, is there in the details, and blesses us abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
When I finally unwrapped this precious gift that had moments earlier been sitting on the junk counter waiting to be returned, the card that came with the necklace read, “Made with love,” and I thought Sometimes love gets it wrong.
Sometimes, as fallible humans, our imperfect love misses the mark. We make a comment we didn’t know was wrong, sacrifice a promise to a loved one for the sake of fulfilling a different act of service for the very same person, or make a mistake in the process of granting exactly the wish someone has made.
His perfect love fills in the gaps we unavoidably create in our imperfect attempts at loving one another.
So now I have a stand-in teddy bear, a stand-in necklace, and a small memory box that stands in the spot on a shelf that once collected cell phones, toenail clippers, and other things we needed to remember to move from downstairs to upstairs. And God. What more could I ask for than that?