From misplacing a dog leash or a memory, how to summon help.
Posted in , May 11, 2022
I was driving into the city when I got a call from Julee.
“Edward, I lost one of my new earrings!”
“Do you remember where you lost it?”
I heard a sigh. Dumb husband question. If she knew, it wouldn’t be lost.
“I’m trying to think. Maybe out in the yard playing with Gracie.”
I winced. We have a relatively big yard.
Gracie, our golden retriever, and I had given Julee a pair of earrings from her favorite catalogue for Mother’s Day, along with a card Gracie “picked out.” As it happens, they weren’t exactly the pair of earrings Julee wanted, and I said we could exchange them. I guess she’d decided to try them out anyway.
“Have you called on Saint Anthony?” I said, only half-seriously.
Raised Catholic, Julee and I both learned the Saint Anthony prayer from our mothers when we were little: “Dear Saint Anthony, please come around, something is lost and cannot be found.”
All these years later I am not totally convinced there is a guy hanging around heaven who helps you find lost stuff. If so, I’d be keeping him pretty busy these days. I hate losing things. Or more accurately I hate looking for things I can’t find. It drives me to distraction. No matter how futile the search, it always feels like the lost item is just beyond my grasp. If I just recheck one more place it could be….
Couple that with my fears I’ve shared with you that my memory is declining, and losing things is a real trigger. What really concerns me is that I’m losing my mind, however huge a leap that is from where the heck I put Gracie’s leash. And I’m not sure any saint could help me with that.
Except I did call on Saint Anthony when my mother was losing her memory. Once, when she was living her final days in a memory care facility in Michigan, I mentioned how beautiful her Waterford Crystal display was in her last house. She didn’t remember that house at all. She remembered the house she’d raised my brothers and sister and me in, and the house before that back in Philadelphia. But the house she lived in for several years before she could no longer manage it, the one with the beautiful rose garden she tended so lovingly, the one her grandchildren regularly visited and played in, it was as if it never existed. In what might have been a moment of panic and regression, I asked Saint Anthony to find that memory. Maybe I just wanted him to find my mother. But that was above even his pay grade.
The day after Julee lost the earring—amazingly the catalogue company was happy to replace just that one earring—we noticed Gracie sniffing around her food station, as she often does in the event that there are any stray molecules of food she missed. She started scratching at something.
“Hey!” Julee shouted. “My earring!”
It must have fallen off when Julee was feeding Gracie. So maybe Saint Anthony was on the case after all.
“Do you still want me to exchange them?
“Are you crazy? Obviously, these were the earrings I was meant to have. Besides, I love them.”
Do you hate to lose things? Do you have a prayer you say when you do? I’d love to know.