Assistant editor Daniel Kessel shares how a trio of balloons comforted three grieving children.
Today’s guest blogger is Mysterious Ways assistant editor Daniel Kessel.
A few weeks ago, three children in Moreno Valley, California, released a trio of colorful, helium-filled Mylar balloons into the sky. Attached to each was a handwritten, heartbreaking letter.
“Hi Mom, I miss you,” one letter read. “I hope you come and visit me soon because I have questions to ask, like why you had to leave...”
Each of the letters carried a small expression of the children’s grief. Their mother, 42-year-old Renee Finney, had recently lost a two-year battle with cancer. She’d passed away five days before Mother’s Day.
The children, ages 16, 18 and 25, had spent Mother’s Day weekend trying to raise the funds to give their mom a proper funeral. But even with a bake sale and car wash, they raised only a fraction of what they needed. The balloons were just a simple sendoff, but the best they could do to honor their beloved mom.
The next morning, 35 miles away in Murrieta, California, Yvette Melton was leaving for work when she discovered the shriveled balloons on her front lawn. She noticed the letters, untied them from the strings, and started reading.
Yvette’s heart ached at the messages. She Googled the names of the children who had signed the letters, and found Renee Finney’s obituary. I have to get in touch with them, tell them how much these letters moved me, Yvette thought. She called the funeral home. That’s when she learned they’d been having trouble affording the funeral expenses.
Not if Yvette had anything to do with it. That day at work, Yvette showed the letters to her boss and coworkers. Everyone felt the same way: They had to help. Within hours, they’d pooled enough money to match the Finney family’s fundraising efforts. That afternoon, Yvette created a donation page on the crowd-funding site GoFundMe. By the next day, enough money had been collected to cover the funeral costs completely, and then some.
The Finneys were astonished that the letters had such an impact. "I knew my mom probably wasn't going to read them or reach her in heaven,” Karries Finney, the eldest daughter, told ABC News. "But honestly, now I know my mom was in heaven blowing those balloons right back down and put them on that porch."
It isn’t the first time we’ve heard a story like this. Donna Teti of West Chester, Pennsylvania, also released balloons with letters after her twin sister passed away. Like the Finneys, she soon received comfort in the most surprising way. And Don Palmer of Jefferson, New York, didn’t release any balloons himself but was deeply affected by one that landed on his property at just the right moment.
Have you ever let go of something you never expected to hear about again, only for it to return unexpected blessings? If you’ve got a story of your own, send it to us. We’d love to share it with our readers!