KALAMAZOO, Mich. — When she wore the necklace, the grieving mother carried her baby close to her heart.
Now, it’s gone.
The locket holds the ashes of Amanda Shears’ late son, Zealen, who was just 10 months old in 2012 when he succumbed to a heart defect.
The piece — a set of silver wings folded into a heart — vanished sometime after Shears took it off, along with her wedding band, on June 2, before undergoing surgery in Michigan.
She now hopes a blind appeal, made via Facebook, will help bring it back — “no questions asked.”
“I can’t replace Z, and the necklace is not valuable to anyone except me,” Shears wrote in a post that has been shared more than 27,000 times.
‘He was meant to fly’
While Shears had surgery at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, her husband, Halen, kept the necklace and ring in her jacket pocket, which got left in the car when they got home, she wrote. Shears didn’t realize the jewelry was missing until June 9, because she hadn’t left the house.
“We backtracked, and we figured it fell out while we were at the hospital or it was taken from my car at home,” Shears told CNN.
The couple filed police reports in Kalamazoo and Niles, Michigan, where they live. Hospital staff said nothing was turned in.
“It’s my wedding ring of seven years,” Shears said. “We’ve been through a lot in this time, and the ring can be replaced, but my son’s ashes are only valuable to me.”
Another necklace by the same Etsy brand, Localish, was found, but it wasn’t hers, Shears said. The couple heard that the ring had been offered for sale online, but the post was deleted
Zealen spent six weeks in the hospital before his death, “and he couldn’t fight anymore,” his mom said.
“He had an amazing fighting spirit and the contagious smile and laugh,” the baby’s online obituary reads. “We always told him to just keep swimming, but really he was meant to fly.”