A north San Diego mother said an "angel" helped reunite her with a lost locket containing the ashes of her only son.
"Miracles do happen," mother Cristina Parodi-Araya told NBC 7 San Diego, her eyes filled with tears. "This is my miracle."
Parodi-Araya's son, Francisco Jose Araya, died eight years ago at the age of 19 from a rare cancer known as Ewing's sarcoma. She said another young woman, who is battling breast cancer, helped find the locket containing Francisco's ashes after Parodi-Araya lost it at a mall Nov. 30.
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"There are no words enough to express the happiness and fulfillment that I have right now," Parodi-Araya said.
She described the necklace as an 18-inch-long silver chain with a 3-inch silver dangling locket in the shape of an angel, which contains her son's ashes.
Parodi-Araya, a single mother originally from Argentina, said she brought her son to the United States when he was 3 years old, hoping his future would be bright.
She first spoke with NBC 7 on Friday, when she said she was desperate to find the necklace.
After NBC 7 posted the story on Facebook Saturday, young mother Ana Hernandez said she was moved by Parodi-Araya's mission to find the locket. She called her husband Carlos, who works at Fashion Valley Mall, and told him to ask around for the locket.
Guest services had found nothing, but one of Carlos Hernandez's coworkers said she had found a locket in the street earlier that week, near the parking lot. She brought it back to her store for safe keeping.
Ana Hernandez got in touch with Parodi-Araya immediately.
"When I received a call from that sweet, caring lady Ana, telling me if I was the lady who lost the locket, I couldn’t speak, I just said yes," Parodi-Araya said. "I went numb."
The Hernandez couple met with Parodi-Araya on Saturday night to return the locket. Parodi-Araya said meeting the couple and getting the locket back was one of the happiest moments of her life.
"I have my life, I have my happiness back," Parodi-Araya said, describing the meeting as being full of tears. "I feel complete. My angel is back."
She said Ana Hernandez, too, is an angel and believes it was God's plan to have Ana and Carlos Hernandez find the locket and deliver it to her.
"I'm so happy, I got my Christmas miracle," Parodi-Araya said. "I can't believe it, that the Lord is so merciful that he gave me my Christmas miracle, and my angel is back with me."
She said she was thankful for all the support she received when NBC 7 aired the story, describing an outpouring of support from strangers.
"So that shows me that no matter how bad things are sometimes in the world we outnumber with people that still care and love and are compassionate. That's what happened," she said. "People truly care and people are part of Christmas miracles."