On April 11, 1959, we had a little boy stop breathing - he was a baby, 2 months and 1 day old. He was very dear. Charles Campbell had not been ill a day in his short life but, after his death, we discovered he had a congenital lung problem. We had called the ambulance, as he had stopped breathing at home, and after they had worked on him with equipment from this scary black case, he was rushed to the hospital. He was never able to breathe again.
Because we had stripped him of his nightclothes to shock him in hot and cold water to revive him, I had his clothing at home. I washed his nightgown and his blanket and everything that had touched his little body. I saved these and to this day, some 51 years later, I have the little blue nightgown folded and saved in my lingerie drawer.
Very few people have seen this little blue nightshirt, but sometimes when someone is here and I am looking for something, I will see it in the drawer, pull it out and say, "This was the nightshirt Charlie was wearing when he left us." The other person appropriately will sigh.
I have no idea what will happen to this when I go Home. I want someone to have it. I never want it thrown away, nor given away. It is a "family" relic.
I think of that sometimes when I think of relics in the Catholic Church. I know people often don't understand what a relic is but I think if they look through their things and see what they have kept - a locket, perhaps that belonged to their grandmother or a lace hankie their own Mother carried at her wedding or shoes, baby shoes, they put away for no reason, they will begin to see what a relic means. It is anything that was special that was touched by someone you love and want to remember. It may be all you have left of someone.
So when someone asks you, "Why do Catholics have all that "stuff' of a dead person?" Just smile and tell them about Charlie's little blue nightshirt. After they sigh, ask them if they have anything at all of someone who has gone on before them. Any treasure?