Apple Store of My Eye
Here Is Some Ezra, For No Particular Reason

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I haven't cried since that night. I've teared up a couple times, my voice has wavered now and then, I've stood deer-in-the-headlights style at a party waiting for the topic of conversation to move on from cute stories about other people's fathers, but I haven't cried. 

That is, until this arrived in the mail:

Fingerprint charm

That's my dad's thumbprint. I took the impression while sitting with him after I could no longer talk with him. Some people take photos or locks of hair, I rolled up balls of purple-and-white putty and gingerly pressed his fingertips into them. 

This is it, I thought the whole time. This is IT

I suppose I'd known before then -- after all, I'd specifically requested the compound be overnighted ahead of our visit, just in case. On the Friday before he passed away I told him about Janessa and the fingerprint jewelry she offered to make for me and my mom, and I felt...weird, like YO I KNOW YOU'RE DYING AND ALL BUT IMMA GONNA MAKE ME A NECKLACE, OKAY? 

He didn't think it was weird at all. He thought it sounded like a lovely idea. 

Still, though. I left the compound in my suitcase until Saturday, when he was unconscious and we were waiting for an ambulance to arrive to take him to hospice. I did one frantic batch of impressions then, like omg omg fuck shit hurry get it done, and another batch on Sunday, because I was terrified I'd done it wrong in my frazzled state the night before. I was alone in his room then -- I'd sent my mom home to shower and change clothes -- and I repeated the process. Gingerly, quietly, reverently.

This is really, really it. And it's okay. 

I don't know which batch Janessa was able to lift this particular print from. Either way, holding it brought the memories of the whole awful, terrifying, precious weekend back in waves, and I sat on the couch and just...sobbed, for the first time. 

And you know what? It felt good.

He is gone, but he wasn't always. He was here and I had him, for 33 years, and after that I also had the chance to be there at the end and say goodbye and preserve a tiny reminder of him in silver. For always. 

Fingerprint charm 2

(Thank you again to Janessa for making this charm for me. I don't think there are enough terrabytes on the Internet for me to fully capture how meaningful it is, so instead: Y'ALL GO BUY STUFF FROM JANESSA AND GIVE HER NICE MONEY BECAUSE SHE IS GOOD PEOPLE.)

Comments

Starbuck

What a beautiful keepsake. Janessa, you rock!

Lindsay

Wow. That is AMAZING. What a lovely, meaningful way to remember your dad. Thinking of you right now, Amy.

Lisa

That is lovely... what a wonderful keepsake. Thank you for sharing this - and the rest of your life. May peace be with you and your family.

Rebecca

Lovely - thanks for sharing.

Victoriajane

What an amazing way to remember your dad. X

Jenna

What a beautiful way to keep him close.

I will file this away for when I may need it.

Thinking of you.

Suzanne

I wish there were keepsakes like that when we lost my mom. It's a wonderful remembrance and you've always got him with you.

Josefina

Oh, that is beautiful, beautiful.

Marivic Valencia

I didn't know such services existed. How thoughtful. Thank you for sharing (and I'm glad you had a good cry, we all need it at times).

teri

OH I love it! I'm so glad that you were able to get it for yourself, something special. Janessa does ROCK!

Angie @ Musings of a Violet Monkey

Beautiful... Such an interesting keepsake.

~

chris

That is lovely.

And if he agreed, even better :)

jodifur

Gorgeous.

Amy

That is the most perfect memento I've ever seen. I wish I had known about it when my Grandmothers were still alive.

MommyNamedApril

really lovely.

Grechen

Thank you for this post... I'm headed to see my grandmother this summer. She has Alzheimer's and doesn't always remember me. She's so far away and I only get to see her once a year and I'm always afraid it will the be last time. I'll be taking her fingerprint this year. What a beautiful idea. g

allie

It is and awful and "precious" memory, isn't it? To be able to be there in his final moments is such a blessing. I had a similar situation with my dad 2 years ago. I have a picture of his hand and my hand also, but a momento like this would have been wonderful.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Beautiful necklace and beautiful account of how it was made.

How nice to be able to carry him next to as well as inside your heart.

Parsing Nonsense

What a wonderful way to keep him close, so glad she was able to do that for you.

Jacquie

I love that. Wish I had known about it last summer, although I guess it wouldn't really work for an unexpected death, and it would have been more than a little fucked up to carry it around in my purse "just in case"

nothing like a good cry, glad it was cathartic.

MissRed

That is a great keepsake.

I don't know if this helps at all, or not, but this quote was one of the things that (kinda sorta) helped me:

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran

I'm really glad that you got the necklace done and you continue to be in my thoughts, though I'm just one of many internet readers/commenters.

Heather

That is so beautiful and unique and wonderful. And dangit I wish I had known about it before! I guess in some morbid way I can remember it for the future...though I hope not to lose anyone else anytime soon!

adequatemom

"He is gone, but he wasn't always. He was here and I had him, for 33 years."
This, this, THIS. Your post made me cry too. And as for Jenessa, what a stunning way to keep a loved one close. Thanks for sharing this.

Shelley

It is beautiful, what a lovely way to remember him.

Zak

So very perfect.

I wish with all my heart I would have be able to do this for my father.

Kacie

That is so awesomely beautiful & creative. :)

ksmaybe

What a beautiful way to remember your father every day. Also, more tears. You do this to me way too often.

Jen L.

Absolutely beautiful.

Eden

LOVE the necklace, really wish I would have thought of that. Glad you have a great way to carry him with you, though!

Kari

Gawd I wish I'd had this for MY dad...I'll do it for my mom. Thanks for this and for sharing all of this with us.

Kristin

That brought tears to my eyes...absolutely beautiful!

The Mommy Therapy

What an amazingly beautiful piece to have with you.

So glad the cry helped. Funny how that can work sometimes.

Seriously want to get one of those necklaces made. Awesome.

Nann

It came out so beautiful.

Erin

It's lovely. I was not able to cry much after we lost my Mom. I would cry, and completely lose it, have an anxiety attack and end up retching in the bathroom for an hour. So, I just did not let myself cry very much -- could not handle it. It's been more than two years, and I feel like I can't let go and cry like I need to. I am too scared of the pain. Anyway, for my first mother's day without my Momma, my husband got me her birthstone, in a tear shape. My tears for her. I wear it on a chain with her star of david that has my sister's and my initials in it -- every day.

The necklace is wonderful. Cry if you can.

Love to you,
Erin

bethany actually

Beautiful. I'm crying a little bit with you. Janessa, you're awesome.

kathryn

Wow. Beautiful. Im in the queue of folks that wish I had a memento like this. What a treasure.

Haley

What a wonderful treasure! My husband's wedding band has my finger prints lining the inside. Though not with the same urgency, I remember the struggle to get it just right, and I was certain that none of my prints would work, yet it came out perfectly, just like your necklace. Crying does help and it is those unexpected cries, the ones when you least expect them, that are in some ways the most fulfilling.

Gail

What a wonderful idea, and perfect memento Amy! I can imagine how comforting that could be to have around your neck, to touch when you need to recall something particular about your dad.

Nanette

Simply amazing.

I wrapped a locket with my dad's picture around my wedding bouquet, but that thumbprint would've been an even lovelier keepsake.

Kim

It's beautiful, and I'm glad you were able to get them made. And that you could cry. Grief, man, it'll catch you up and make you cry so hard that you think you will never be able to stop. And then - you do. the wave passes and leaves you wrecked out on the shore, and slowly - so slowly- you wind up being able to swim in those waves, and find the peace they bring without smacking onto the beach.

Anna

Beautiful.

Dani

OH MY GOD I love it. I wish I has one of my Gramma. Beautiful and sweet and so precious.

erin

coolest thing ever. thanks so much for sharing.

Elle

This post brought tears to my eyes. What a truly beautiful, tangible memory to have of your dad.

My mother-in-law died 12 years ago... just 17 months before our first son was born... My heart aches because I wish I had her thumb print to show my 3 boys.

Lynda

I love it Amy, it's perfect.

Kali

That's really very lovely, both as a piece of jewelry and as a piece of him.
I've got a ring that belonged to my grandfather- hardly ever take it off, because it's like a piece of him is still with me. I imagine this charm would feel even more like that.

Jen

What a wonderful, lovely thing to keep close to you. I'm off to buy things from Janessa.

Also? *hugs* for the sobbing - it DOES sometimes feel good just to get it out.

Nan

You will always have a part of your father with you. What a lovely story.

katy

what a beautiful idea, Amy, what a gorgeous way to carry your Dad with you. We are having a rough day, my wonderful, fantastic, amazing, caring, kind (can you tell how much I love him), generous, loving father-in-law-to-be just passed away. I am crying a whole lot, just cleaning and crying and trying to figure out a way to tell my kids. What a shit-tastic thing to happen.

annettek

Well, damn, now I'm bawling. I wish I had known about her jewelry before my father died in December. That is absolutely beautiful.

Jaime

That's so, so beautiful. And something you'll always have.

Heather Ben

how lovely. what a great idea.

Mermil

That is kind of an epiphany, no? That's the kind of story that chokes me up because life can be so freakin' sad and beautiful, and somehow okay, all at the same time.

Plano Mom

That is the one thing I miss of my Dad more than anything - his touch. Heartbreakingly so. And you have that. I'm happy for you and insanely jealous of you all at the same time.

lisa

I wish I would have known about this a few months ago when my grandfather in law died 3 days before our wedding. Its so ok to cry sob, kick a damned chair do whatever is necessary.

Amanda

What a wonderful idea, a way to keep your dad physically close.

Christie

Heartbreaking and stunning. LOVE that you took the time to have this made and capture a small piece of him. My Dad passed away of a sudden heart attack 3 years ago.

I watched as the paramedics worked frantically on him and made me let go of his hand. I was 28 and he 59. Oh how I wish I had a memory of him like this. I have his high school class ring... that'll have to do.

Big hugs to you today Amy. Big, big hugs.

mominrome

loved it.
loved it.
loved it.

Madeline

So beautiful. So perfect. I am so glad you were able to do this! I only wish I i had the opportunity to do it before my parents passed, so long ago. What a treasure you have.

Kate

It is beautiful. I ordered two kits today...to make prints of my son's thumb for my husband and my mom.

Alicia

That's awesome! I love it and am so happy you have it.

Amy

I got chilly bumps when I saw this, I then proceeded to order 3 charms and a chain for myself for Mothers Day. Thank you for sharing. It's a beautiful way to celebrate life, both past and present.

bacioni

That is Wonderful.

I wish I had known about that for my boyfriend. I guess it's enough to know his fingerprints are on my heart. I am a visual type of person and would dearly love to have had that option.

I know you will treasure it always.

Sue

I read this and thought of you:

http://www.youngclergywomen.org/the_young_clergy_women_pr/2011/04/naming-number-five.html#continue

Barefoot Liz

What a wonderful idea to preserve someone in your memory.
My dad passed away a few years ago and I miss him so.

Stephanie

i wish i had known/thought of this when my daddy died last november. we were lucky enough, tho', that the palliative care folks at the hospital brought an ink pad and cardstock and made handprints for my step-mom and each of us five girls...

Kelly

I am so sorry for your loss. I haven't read in awhile, but I do recall your concerns about cancer and your dad.

My aunt decided on hospice after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The process took less than 2 weeks, but it felt like an eternity. We were with her every step of the way, and she was conscious up until the end. Her son's wife is pregnant with their second child, and they are going to name her after his mom.

Will you be doing something like that when your child is born?

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