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My Pay It Forward Inspiration

If I ever have an idea half this amazing, I think my life will be complete. Alert: you WILL need a kleenex. I heard this letter read on the radio (I transcribed it myself):

This is from Jennifer: A year ago January my mom passed away. She was an amazing woman. She had severe rheumatoid arthritis for 38 years. In December of 2006, mom and dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a big bash. In January of 2007, she died. Her hands were disfigured, along with her body, and she still played the piano in church until the end. She never complained. I know she hurt every day, but when asked, she would say, “I’m doing great.”

A month after mom passed away, this last year on Valentine’s Day, my dad called me and asked if I would be his Valentine. This year, I decided to call him first and ask him to be mine. He was very happy about that and then he proceeded to tell me about his day.

He said he had been missing my mom really badly. He also said he didn’t really want to complain about it because he was thinking about all the men and women he knew over the years who had lost their husbands or wives. He lives in a small town of about 650 people. Then he said he got the idea.

He went to the local florist and asked for her help on Valentine’s Day. He did his best to remember all of the people that had lost spouses and made a list of somewhere between 50 to 75 people. He then had the florist and her delivery person deliver a single stemmed rose with a card that said, “To My Valentine, Love,” and put the person’s spouse’s name on the card.

He told the lady never to tell anyone where the flowers came from. He also made sure it was delivered in a spirit of love so they would not think it was some kind of joke.

My dad was feeling quite moved, instead of feeling sorry for himself, after doing this. When he arrived home after doing this, on his front door was a long stemmed rose and a box of chocolates with a note that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, my love, Beverly.” “My love” was the phrase my mom and dad used when they gave each other gifts and it is inscribed on the inside of their wedding rings.

Dad says it doesn’t matter who put that on his door; it felt like it was from my mom. He said he cried like a baby. He said you rarely get to see how what you do for another person makes them feel, but he got to experience it that day. He also said he never would have believed you if you had told him that that would have been the best Valentine’s Day of his life, because his valentine wasn’t there. And still, this was the best Valentine’s Day of his life.

How brilliant it was that he dealt with his grief in this way and he made me think of Valentine’s Day in a different way than I ever have before: as a day to celebrate love and opening the heart, no matter what your circumstances are or who is with you or who is gone.

I heard this on the March 20, 2008 first hour of Dr. Laura’s show.

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9 Responses to “My Pay It Forward Inspiration”

  1. dkmommy

    You warned me to get a Kleenex, and I didn’t do it! What a beautiful letter! Thanks for sharing it.


  2. Natasha @ Maw Books

    Dang! My eyes are watering.


  3. Melody

    That’s so touching!!! I’m glad you’ve that warning in advance.


  4. bkclubcare

    I read this yesterday and couldn’t find the words to leave a comment… But I kept thinking about it all day. Thank you for giving us a little Valentines Day Heartfeltness! Much needed when everyone else is all TAXDAY negativity.


  5. Chris@bookarama

    Aww! What a guy.


  6. Vocabulary - Booking Through Thursday « Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

    […] if you missed my pay it forward post, seriously, go grab a kleenex and read […]

  7. Jennifer



  8. melanie

    oh man, way to make me cry at work…although i really shouldn’t be blog surfing anyhow. serves me right 🙂


  9. Literary Feline

    That is such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing it with us.


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