Like Molly Ayer, Vivian/Niamh has a necklace from her birth family that holds deep sentimental value. As a young girl, Niamh Power’s Gram gave her a claddagh cross necklace. The pewter necklace has two hands holding a heart in the center. The claddagh cross is a Celtic symbol that Vivian/Niamh considers to represent love, friendship, loyalty, and the journey that leads from home and back. Vivian/Niamh wears the necklace throughout her childhood and most of her adulthood. It represents her cultural identity and history, as well as her emotional connection to her homeland and her birth family. In Vivian/Niamh’s life, she ultimately finds her way back to her family and her origins by coming to terms with her past and by reuniting with the daughter she gave up for adoption, Sarah Dunnell.
The Claddagh Cross / Vivian’s Necklace Quotes in Orphan Train
How strange, I think – that I am in a place my parents have never been and will never see. How strange that I am here and they are gone. I touch the claddagh cross around my neck.
Molly touches Vivian’s shoulder, frail and bony under her thin silk cardigan. She half turns, half smiles, her eyes brimming with tears. Her hand flutters to her clavicle, to the silver chain around her neck, the claddagh charm – those tiny hands clasping a crowned heart: love, loyalty, friendship – a never-ending path that leads away from home and circles back.
And though I rarely take the claddagh off, as I get older I can’t escape the realization that the only remaining piece of my blood family comes from a woman who pushed her only son and his family out to sea in a boat, knowing full well she’d probably never see them again.