loss

‘No, don’t panic. He has a plan. Oh Lord, please let him have a plan.’ He led our daughter in, eyes closed. I gulped my wine.’: Widow recalls emotional birthday surprise late husband planned for their daughter, ‘I didn’t know I was crying until I reached up to wipe my face’

“I came home on party day, carrying in the snacks, which was my contribution to the big shing-ding. He met me at the door. ‘Close your eyes.’ I could tell by the eagerness in his voice he had something delightful to show me. ‘Watch your step.’ He led me into the living room. I imagined glitter abound, circus performers hanging from the chandelier, ballerinas leaping. I was dripping in anticipation. He took my hand, shuffled me to the center of the room. ‘Okay, open!’ And, I did. Nothing.”

‘You died while we were sleeping. We were merely a few feet down the hall. When we woke to the puppy crying, you were ice cold.’: Mom loses military son to fentanyl overdose, ‘I had no idea how hard it was for you’

“We didn’t know when we went to bed, and you told us you loved us, it would be the last time we saw you alive. You didn’t know either. You only wanted care from the VA. Did you know the priority mail envelope that contained your hearing appointment was finally delivered to me, 4 months after you died? Yeah, you can’t make this up. We applied because of your pain.”

‘One more thing,’ she said. ‘What?’ the pastor replied. ‘I want to be buried with a fork in my hand.’ His eyes welled with tears.’: Woman shares life advice, reminds us ‘the best is yet to come’

“In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the main course was being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. The next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, the best is yet to come.”

‘She had a holiday announcement planned ‘just in case.’ She doesn’t have life growing in her belly, but she has hope in her heart.’: Woman applauds all women waiting to become mothers ‘even when our bodies fail us’

“The holiday season is freshly fading, and that means pregnancy announcements have rolled out on social media. Here is to ‘that’ momma. The one who is still waiting, looking at one evil line on a pee stick. The one grieving a life she was so in love with. The one who has children of her own, but so desperately wants to give her husband a child with his DNA. The one who is tired of trying, and sad she is starting to give up.”

‘It’s day 721 of not seeing you. You aren’t something we can pack up, put in a box and label with a Sharpie. You are our son.’: Mom’s grief journey after losing military son, ‘I miss you’

“The lady at the thrift store bravely asked about how we were doing. And you know what? I didn’t lie. I didn’t say good. I thought, ‘Wow, it has been over 2 years. How can that be?’ I found your box of baby clothes and the blankets Grandma made you. You are everywhere here, and at times I don’t want to live in this place anymore.”

‘Is this the real pin?,’ my daughter squeaked out. ‘Yes, my love, it is.’ ‘From his shirt?’ Her eyes were big and curious.’: Widow’s emotional gift for daughters honors their late father, ‘My hands trembled. It was beautiful, stunning’

“I gasped. I ran back to the garage, flung open the safe, and patted my hand. I felt the plastic sandwich bag. I pulled it out. And there it was. Two perfect pins. The real pins. Not only that, but his nameplate was in there, too. Tucked away. For the right time. Entrusting a stranger with something so personal, so sentimental, was like entrusting his body with the funeral home. I received the call, drove to the shop, my heart racing. ‘Stunning,’ I thought. When my 2 girls opened the jewelry box together, their collective gasps spoke volumes.”

‘I want to buy Sean’s grave.’ I was shocked. ‘What?’ Silent tears ran down my cheeks. I gave him a tight hug. ‘Thank you so much. I don’t know what to say.’: Widow shares kind act that helped relieve financial burden after husband’s sudden death

“Greg stepped forward. He looked right at me. ‘A few months back, Sean came and saved me from a plumbing nightmare when my water heater went out. He wouldn’t let me pay him for the labor. Sean’s not here to argue with me. Let me give him this final gift of thanks.’ I was speechless.”

‘She began to sob, her head in her hands. She fumbled for a tissue, dotting under her eyes. She attempted to collect herself.’: Widow witnesses stranger break down in car after sharing daughter for holidays, makes her realize ‘You are worthy of love’

“I was sitting in the Target parking lot when a minivan pulled up next to me. A mom and her daughter were waiting for someone. Not a moment later, a man pulled up in a car and all 3 exited their vehicles. The only thing I can gather is these were divorced parents. The dad was taking his daughter for the holiday. The girl had a backpack with her. She hugged her mom tight. She got in the car with her dad, and they drove off. The mom watched as they drove away, walked back to her car, then I saw her. She sat for a moment. How would I feel if I had to share my son?”

‘I carried his ashes. I carried them in a box all over the airport. I didn’t want to put him on the floor. It didn’t feel right.’: Woman’s journey to return her husband’s ashes to his home

“Before we boarded our plane in Atlanta, I took his remains to the exact spot we touched when he flew into Atlanta. I laid the box down on the exact tile we stood on. The captain came by to give his condolences and let us know that he was honored to take him home and that we would get him there as fast as possible. I couldn’t even squeak out a word when he came by. I just nodded and cried.”

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