By Emily Drooby
Jessica Petrosino is on a desperate hunt for her grandfather’s cross necklace. He was wearing it while battling COVID-19. Now, he’s gone and so is the cross.
“Somebody did this to my grandfather when he was in his weakest moments, because my grandfather would never have allowed somebody to take that cross off his neck,” said Jessica.
It was more than just a necklace. 70 years ago, Theresa and Steve Esposito were married, using two cross necklaces to symbolize their sacred bond instead of wedding bands.
Over the years the couple moved to Brooklyn, attended Most Precious Blood Catholic Church and raised their family. The crosses were always around their neck, a symbol of their love.
“They lived for each other,” Jessica said.
Ten years ago, tragedy struck the family, Theresa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jessica said Steve’s love never wavered.
“My grandfather, up until the last time he saw her was devoted to taking care of her,” she recalled. “The past 10 years he cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, for her, sat next to her on the couch holding hands.”
Eventually, as Theresa’s mind continued to deteriorate, he took her cross off, to keep it safe.
“He truly guarded her cross because of how much it meant to him, and them,” Jessica said.
Theresa passed away on May 8. Shortly before that, Steve’s battle with COVID-19 began.
When it started the cross was around his neck. The army veteran was in multiple locations throughout his battle. On May 3, he was brought to Brooklyn’s NYU Langone Hospital. On May 6, he was transferred to Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare. On May 11, he was brought back to NYU. On May 13, he was brought to Calvary Hospice Hospital where he passed away on May 20.
When the funeral home went to pick up Steve’s body, that’s when they realized the cross was gone. Jessica says it could have happened at any point. However, based on information provided by NYU, the family believes it happened on or before May 11.
They’ve reached out to the police, the hospital, the rehab center, and even the EMT’s for help, but so far, the cross is still nowhere to be found.
Jessica says she will keep fighting until this symbol of love is home because it’s what her grandfather would want.
“He taught us to be strong and to stand up for our family no matter the situation, and we just have to honor him by doing that,” Jessica said.
“We are aware of the patient’s missing pendant and are actively investigating this matter. We are in contact with family and continue to keep them updated on the progress of the inquiry,” an NYU Langone spokesperson told Currents New.
The Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare has not returned multiple requests for comment.
Jessica says if someone did take the cross, they can return it anomalously to any police station with her name, Jessica Petrosino. She adds they won’t press charges, they just want the cross back.
Father John Maduri, the pastor of Most Precious Blood Parish, is also calling for the cross necklace to be returned.
“It belonged to their parents, it’s part of their family history, that cross,” he explained. “So, I hope that whoever stole that, or perhaps took it inadvertently if they hear this, if they’re aware of it, just please return it to the family.”