When four-year-old Lucia Hazelton died, her family continued living their lives as though their first-born was still with them.
Her mother, Rosanna Beraldine, kept reminders of Lucia with her at all times, including a photo of her daughter as her cellphone background.
Beraldine even kept Lucia’s birth certificate in her wallet, alongside her other two daughters’ birth certificates and her own, as a way to have Lucia with her everywhere she went.
“(She) was with me always, all the time,” Beraldine said. “It just makes me feel like she’s (Lucia) coming with me wherever I go, like she used to.”
In 2008, the family lived in a gated community in Burnaby. On Christmas Eve, Lucia was playing in the snow with the other kids in the complex when a neighbour backed out of their driveway and struck the four-year-old. The freak accident left a hole in the family and carrying Lucia’s birth certificate with her was comforting to Beraldine. It was a reminder that one day their family would be whole again, after this life has ended, she said.
But on Sunday afternoon Beraldine and her family suffered another heartbreak.
Beraldine’s wallet in which she kept Lucia’s birth certificate was stolen from the Bonsor Recreation Centre during a kids’ swap meet. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Beraldine managed a table at the swap meet. She kept her purse on a chair under her jacket, and she tucked the chair under her table while she spoke with customers.
“I was standing there the whole time so Iassumed it was the safest place for it (the purse),” she said.
As the day went by, the sale got busier and busier. The recreation centre had a lineup of customers waiting to check out the different tables.
“They let in 200 people at one time, and that’s what you want, so it was all good,” she said.
It wasn’t until later that night, around 9 p.m. while Beraldine was at her parents’ house, that she noticed the wallet was gone.
Hoping she had just left the wallet at home or misplaced it, Beraldine scoured her own home and called Bonsor, hoping someone had turned it in. Unfortunately no one had turned it in, and it wasn’t in her house.
Beraldine figures someone must have taken the wallet from her purse while she was distracted.
“I’m assuming that something happened when I was busy and not looking. I was quite shocked that someone was able to just slip in there and take it (the wallet),” she said.
While Beraldine has no hope of getting her money or credit cards back – she has already cancelled them and applied for new ID for her other kids as well as herself – she, and her husband Len, are desperate to get Lucia’s original birth certificate back.
“I’m hoping that someone or whoever has it, if they’ve dumped it and somebody finds it that they just turn it in,” Beraldine said. “That birth certificate is the most important thing in that (wallet).”
Beraldine’s wallet is a mix of black patent leather and plain leather with a silver plate on the front and Nine West engraved into the plate.
Beraldine is asking anyone who may have found the wallet to return it with her daughter’s birth certificate inside to the Bonsor Recreation Centre or call the Burnaby RCMP at 604-294-7922.
© Copyright 2013