My relic pendant is gone. It was a Padre Pio da Pietrelcina Capp religious medal, given to me many years before he was even canonized as a saint. I received it from my mother many years ago, after what was a frightening surgery for my then 13-year-old self, when the best way she could think to show me the depths of her feelings was to give me a little piece of her and her Catholic faith. I wore it to all the other surgeries, scary medical appointments, job interviews, important tests, and big moments when I wanted to remember faith and my mother's love. Years ago I wrote here about how it was my "something old" for our wedding, pinned into the lining of my dress. I later wrote again expanding on my feelings for the pendant, calling it a talisman. I wore it when I gave birth to George. I have worn it to all his scary medical appointments.
If my family was safe, it was the one thing I would have grabbed in a fire.
I was wearing it while I was out, and it went missing while I was out. The clasp on my necklace wasn't even broken, just open. I have printed photos, offered rewards, sorted through trash (I hope whoever used that pregnancy test at Target wanted that negative result), crawled on the ground, and cried to store employees. We took George to the after-hours pediatrician, since he liked to chew on the pendant (as years of babies in my life have done), just to be certain he didn't swallow it. Thank Padre Pio, he did not.
I scoured the internet last night for hours, trying to find one like it. In those hours of pouring over Google images, eBay, etsy, religious medal dealer websites, and thinking up different permutations of "Padre Pio medal" or "relic" or "charm," I only found one just like mine in two places. A blogger found one at a flea market last year and then turned it into part of a charm necklace commemorating, interestingly enough, her own mother. I sent her an e-mail before seeing the second post wondering if she would ever part with it, but after seeing it, it is hard for me to have hope that she would be able to do so. The only other place is on the "Sold" section of an obscure vintage jewelry website. They have a voicemail and an e-mail waiting from me as well. That's it. On all of the internet, just two like mine. I am trying not to have hope, because hope hurts.
My husband asked me if I really want a different one, if it would be the same. Of course it would not be the same. I could only hope it helps fill the hole. And that when I looked at it and touched it while it hangs around my neck, that I would remember everything I want to remember. I realize this is a lot to expect from an object. But I think this is why we created the word talisman. We have the amazing ability to assign meaning and memories to tangible items. When I look at my future, it can be painfully uncertain at times. But I pictured myself wearing that necklace every day until the day I died, and hopefully wearing it when I died as well. That seems like a good time for thinking of faith and love.