Thursday, June 2, 2011


Many years ago, when I was 8 or 9 years old, my aunt gave me a little pendant. It was a lucite heart with a tiny pink rose inside. She had bought it to help out a cousin who was out of work and selling them to tide his family over. I loved this little heart and wore it all the time.

Last December, I lost the little lucite heart pendant with the rose inside. I was heartbroken. You see, I had planned to leave it to my granddaughter; it was to be her legacy.

Now it was gone. I discovered it missing when I got home from my walk in the Botanical garden. I felt for it and oh no! there was the open chain around my neck but no pendant. I searched and searched. When my husband got home I was in tears. I called Lost & Found and went back to the CafĂ© the next day to search, retracing my steps, asking the staff to search. But finally, despite my prayers to St. Anthony, I knew it was gone. I couldn’t even tell anyone at first - I felt the same dull gut feeling of loss, like after my house was robbed, like after the terrible diagnoses of the past years, like after deaths of loved ones.

Why did I feel so devastated about a “thing”? And I came to realize it was really about keep me alive. My memory would live on in Marina, my granddaughter. When she wore the pendant she would remember me, how I loved the little locket, how I loved her. I would not be forgotten. I would live on somehow, through her. Was this a way of avoiding facing the reality of my own mortality? Of avoiding looking at death, time running out, and choosing to live life fully whatever time I have left. What opportunity, what dangerous opportunity did this loss, this “stripping” bring me today in this NOW moment. Humility? I am who I am. Marina is who she is. The mystery of how we “live” in others, the connection - well it’s a mystery to me.

I know I hold Marina in my heart. As I hold my grandmother in my heart. When I pray each morning. When Christmas comes and I think on the old days of Christmas Eves at Nanny’s and midnight Mass. When I do the jumble and think of her at the table each night, calmly and quietly pealing her orange, doing the jumble. What faith and love she (and all my forbears) left to me. What a legacy! How beautiful is the faith and love in Marina. It lives on.

And there’s a wonderful postscript to this story!

On Mothers Day I received a new pendant and it was a gift of love. My daughter Tina, Marina’s Mom, searched for a pendant on the internet to replace the lucite heart with the rose that I had lost. When she couldn’t find one she made me a pendant with a rose inside! Poured the resin into the mold and placed a little rose there. (You can see a picture of it by linking to "my daughter's blog" on the sidebar - then go to "A Heart full of Memories" May 8, 2011.) Just her desire to replace the lost heart that broke my heart fills me with humbling awe. Now this new pendant has an even better meaning and legacy that the 60 year old one that I lost. This new one represents the pure unselfish love of daughter for mother. It is a new symbol to treasure. Legacy. What connects us to the past and to the future.