WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Since last Thursday, April 15, 10 year-old Ahleigha Hoffman had been looking for her most prized possession, a necklace with her father’s ashes inside of a special locket. Hoffman was unsure she’d ever see it again. Monday brought a special reunion.
“It’s in a little heart shape. It says, ‘Your wings were ready, but my heart was not,’ and it has three birthstones on it,” Hoffman said of the special locket.
It’s a piece of jewelry that to her, is more precious than silver or gold. It’s the closest tangible reminder she has of her best friend.
“Me and my dad’s relationship, it’s like we would go everywhere together,” Hoffman said. “We would go to the swimming pool, to the zoo, to the park, to the store. We would go everywhere together, and losing him is really hard.”
Hoffman’s father, Sean, died in December. On Easter, Hoffman got a necklace with his ashes inside of a heart-shaped locket, a chance to keep him close, no matter what.
“When I do have it on, it feels like I can go places. I have him with me. He will take care of me,” she said.
After losing the necklace, Hoffman and her mother hoped for a miracle.
“She never takes it off unless she goes to gymnastics,” her mother, Tosha Williams said.
Hoffman said she last remembered having the necklace just before gymnastics started on Thursday. After practice, she noticed it was gone. Over the next few days, all she could do is hope that she didn’t lose it forever.
That “miracle” came on Monday, April 19. One message from Hoffman’s gymnastics gym and a half hour later, the girl was reunited with her best friend.
She said getting the necklace back is her happiest moment of 2021 so far. She added that she knows exactly what her father would say.
“He would say, ‘alright, you’ve got it back, let’s go take a nap,’” Hoffman said. “He is a jokester, he would say something funny.”
Williams, whose post about the missing necklace was shared hundreds of times on social media, said she is grateful for the support from friends, as well as strangers. Hoffman said she will be back at gymnastics practice this week, but plans to keep her necklace in a safe spot.
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