Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Honestly? I have no idea how to react to this.


I ordered two rings to wear for Gabriel. I've talked briefly about this previously. One arrived last week and I wear it all the time. The other one, which I had engraved with his name and birthdate, and went to the mall to have sized appropriately before ordering in a small piece of hell, arrived today.

I opened the package to see it shining there, picked it up, and read the inscription.

Gabriel Rose - August 24, 2009





Wait. What?

Indeed. The wrong name.

I went through and found the invoice shipped with the ring, and it clearly states that the engraving was to read Gabriel Rose.

I went back to my email for the confirmation I received and it doesn't have the inscription listed. Just the number of characters to be engraved and the cost for that.

I have to assume the error is mine, as I typed the message. But I checked it. Twice. I can't prove it was my error and I can't prove it wasn't. Certainly if Gabriel had been a girl, his middle name would have been Rose, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that I mistyped it and in looking it over (twice) I missed it because I expected to see Ross and that is only one small letter off.

Problem is, I also can't do shit about it. Everything I have clearly states that engraved items are special order and therefore non-refundable and non-returnable and non-exchangeable.

Fuck my life.

I honestly don't whether to shriek with laughter or cry hysterically. Or do both at once.

* * * * *

Perfection in imperfection. That is my problem, that is my dilemma with this.

On one hand, I see humor in this and part of me laughs. I mean. God, my life is so fucked up right now. And so naturally this is fucked up too. Of course it is. It's inevitable.

On the other hand. . . for fuck's sake. I have next to nothing left. A pile of ashes in a cardboard box. Nine pictures that are poorly taken because of a shitty camera and a bad photographer (that would be us). We are lucky to have them at all, because it was only sheer dumb luck that the camera was in my purse at all. I don't even have a memory of what he looked like or of how it felt to hold him. There is a box with his footprints in clay that has cracked as it dried leaving only very light impressions left for us. A blanket that never touched his skin and smells like disinfectant. Two hats that are ugly and were too big for his head. A blank birth certificate. A small prayer the chaplain wrote for us, on which his name is listed incorrectly because I never took my husband's name and so Gabriel's last name is not there, just my last name.

You would think the least of what I could have is a ring I wanted to wear in his memory, in honor of him, to be fucking spelled correctly. The fact that I was the likeliest person to misspell it only makes me want to scream. Have I mentioned the peridot ring is also flawed?

When we lost Chickadee, I got a tattoo on my wrist. I regret it now. Only because I can't think of that baby and that pain. It faded, and I am consumed with Gabriel and he overwhelms that poor lost baby. I'd rather have something to honor Gabriel on my wrist in that spot. Regardless. At the time it felt right and it will probably feel right again at some point. But it didn't heal well. I should have acted on my own instinct and kept it more covered and wet than the tattoo artist advised. Between the lack of moisturizer (per his instructions) and the fact that it was in a location where the skin around it was stretched more often, it scabbed over. Which meant that I lost some ink as it healed and there are a couple of places where the color is splotchy. It's so small though that I haven't done anything about it, it's not really noticeable. I sort of felt like, in the end, that was right. Chickadee wasn't perfect and neither is my tattoo.

But this time, in this instance, Gabriel was perfect and this is not. And I feel like it should be, damn it. Everything surrounding him that is left should be fucking perfect because it's about him. And this is just one more way, a voice whispers in the back of my mind, that I have fucked up perfection in regards to my son. Just like he was perfect and healthy until I pushed him out of my body, so to this one thing I wanted to do to honor him is something I've fucked up.

Yeah, I know. It's stupid and twisted and self-hating.

I still feel it back there.

So . . . laugh or cry. Or both. I don't know. I just stare at it. It's just a ring. It's not like anyone can see the inscription, as the inside of the band is what is engraved. I just . . . well. Fuck. That's all I can say. Fuck, and I shake my head.

* * * * *

You know, I think, in thinking about this, that in many ways, it's like a wedding day. I wanted my wedding to be perfect, whatever that was, and it wasn't. And that day, I did not care at all. There was a lot that went wrong, actually. The best man wasn't there. My brother was not there. Ross wasn't there. Several guests, actually, and the groom's entire family weren't there. I was late, hours late, for the pictures and it was boiling hot. And remained quite warm all night. Then it was windy, and our floral arrangements blew over during the pastor's remarks. And the processional music was completely off because we never had the chance to practice with the violinist. We couldn't get the tapers for the unity candle lit and the candle itself stayed lit only long enough to read the scripture we'd chosen. Oh, but there was a fire in the back when a tablecloth was blown over on top of a lit candle. And then the bubble machine my mother had rented didn't work, but when she returned it, it was magically working again.

And you know what? I didn't notice until much later and I didn't care, because it was such a great event for us (and provided good stories). But I will never forget that my mother cried when she told us about the bubble machine. She sobbed and sobbed, so hurt. And when I was concerned and tried to understand, she choked out "I just wanted everything to be perfect for you, and I wanted you to walk through this magical thing, surrounded by bubbles and colors everywhere and the stupid thing didn't work, but it wasn't broken. It wasn't perfect." She was so hurt by that.

That's sort of how I feel about this.

Also coming to mind? The perfect nursery. Which I've also sort of mocked. After all, the kid doesn't care about these crazy big murals and stuff. And usually when they are old enough to express opinions they hate it and want the baby stuff gone. But so much energy is poured into the creation and the staging and the setting of the room in which the baby will sleep. And in the end, it doesn't matter because the baby is there, the focus shifts to the actual event of caring for and raising the baby and the staging is unimportant.

But my arms are empty, my nursery is going to continue to be used for storage. There is no rush now, no reason now, to remove the old exercise equipment or to paint the walls and repair the place where someone had clearly hung a curtain rod. No need to go through the final boxes of crap that were thrown together when we moved and have remained as they are for three years. No need to assemble the crib that is laying in pieces, or wash the diapers that are stacked on the changing table, or put away the baby clothes in the dresser or bring down the stroller that is folded up and lying on the floor.

My son is not going to use those things or sleep in that room. I do not have the distraction of actually raising Gabriel.

All I have is the staging, the details that no one else will notice or care about. My imperfections won't be covered by a cooing baby or go unnoticed in the mess of baby toys. All I've got are those nine blurry, poorly lit pictures, that blanket that smells like disinfectant, two ugly hats too big for his head, a pile of ashes in a cardboard box, a blank birth certificate, a birthstone that is the wrong gem and a ring with the wrong name.

I wanted everything to be perfect for my son. Nothing is perfect. And I have nothing with which to hide those imperfections. They are glaring in his absence, the biggest imperfection of all.


jess said...

That's awful. They probably have that rule for flaky people, sort of like how they have tattoo removal for people who broke up with the boyfriend whose name is on their ass. It might work to explain the circumstances to a store manager and ask if they would just polish out and redo the one letter - the company information page has stuff about Avery's "renewed Christian commitment" all over the place, it would be pretty unethical if they didn't.

bkb said...

I wish I had words to comfort you. Just know I am sending you thoughts and prayers as you heal. I thought you might like to see the symbolism of the rose http://www.hugkiss.com/flowermean.shtml It may not have been purely a slip of the mind. Roses stand for love and you will always love him and he you. So, if you follow that then you have a ring that says Gabriel I love you.

Megan said...

I'm so sorry that everything isn't just right. I wish I could wave a magic wand and do something to help. Maybe try to explain the situation to the manager at the engraving place and see if they have any suggestions?
Good luck, sweetie.

mtendere said...

Engraving is not that hard (or expensive) to fix. I hope someone at the shop will do it for you. However, I realize that's not really the point of your post. I'm sure that in times like this, every new hurt seems so magnified. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share such a difficult journey with others.

Alyssa said...

I have an aunt who is a professional engraver. She is incredible--did all the stuff for our wedding. I'd be glad to ask her how to fix it. I'm positive it can be done.
I am very sorry. I wish I could hug your pain away.

Christy said...

I already know that your ring is going to be fixed...but I hadn't read this post so I went back. I'm glad it's going to be fixed--it's what you need. I know how you feel about things and I think it's an interesting correlation you made to your wedding. But just as in life in our relationships, in everything, you have to choose to see the "perfect" parts...and I use that term loosely. But maybe not looking at those imperfections and just focusing on the things that are perfect. I hope that your blogging is helping you get this stuff out of your head and onto the keys. I know how therapeutic this is. I like to read your blog because I really do relate to so much of how you are feeling, even though I don't seem to get the words out the way you do, I get it. I get you. I get what you are going through. And I hurt, too.