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Family Reunites Woman with Mother's Ashes After Finding Unique Heart-Shaped Pendant on the Ground

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Corrinna Gonzales and her parents were at the River Walk in San Antonio on June 8, celebrating a graduation.

As the family, who was visiting from New Mexico, walked down a set of steps, something silver caught mom’s eye: a small heart pendant.

“My mom was the one who found it. When we were coming down the stairs, it was at the bottom of the stairs,” Gonzales told KENS-TV. “She said oh, look! You know, picked it up.”

The small heart had an inscription on it that immediately led the family to believe someone might be missing the item.

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“It said: ‘Your wings were ready but my heart was not,'” Corrinna continued. “It looks like it’s kind of sealed. So, I’m not sure if it has remains in it.”

“I’m hoping it can get to the rightful owner, especially if it does have remains in it.”

Leaving the pendant sealed out of respect, the Gonzales family hoped the keepsake would be able to make it home to the person it belonged to. A family member who lived in the area posted it online, and KENS ran with the story.

A friend of Ruth Jordan Burkey recognized the pendant and contacted Burkey. Sure enough, she’d lost the locket during a trip to the River Walk five days before it was found.

Burkey’s mother, Rita, had died on May 17, and the pendant did indeed hold some of Rita’s ashes.

“She started getting sick a lot and she’d come right out of it though,” Burkey told KENS. “We didn’t think she’d ever go because she’d get sick and she’d be just fine.

“But the last time, it just wasn’t. That was it. It was kind of a shocker. We knew she was kind of sick but didn’t know it was going to be that fast.”

When she lost the pendant while walking, she made peace with that fact, as her mother had been a people person and the River Walk is generally a bustling place.

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“She liked to be where the party was and, and that’s a thing that she would like,” Burkey explained. “I guess she can stay there because I wasn’t going to start walking and go looking for it because I didn’t know exactly where I lost it.

“I was like well, I guess she was done partying because she was ready to come home. She got too hot.”

She’s thankful the Gonzales family went out of their way to reunite her with the lost keepsake.

“Nowadays, you don’t think there are people out there like that,” Burkey said. “Most people just care about themselves and when they find something like that — it’s like oh, OK. Whatever.

“But to turn it in and try to get it back to me and that, that means a whole lot.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking