By Megan Erbacher
It’s not easy to make a special day even more special, but a stranger recently did just that for my sister.
My third niece, Nora Elyse, was born on the afternoon of June 7. The date is already important in our family as it’s my granny’s birthday. She lost her battle to cancer seven years ago on April 7, just two months shy of her 70th birthday.
Everyone was ecstatic Nora arrived healthy and safe (mama is doing great, too), and now Nora shares a birthday with her great-granny.
The next day, as my sister and brother-in-law were settling back into life with an infant, the nurse entered my sister’s hospital room to deliver a basket overflowing with goodies; a gift from a stranger.
In a wire basket, the anonymous gift-giver left a variety of goodies for a newborn girl. It held multiple swaddles, including one with the words “little blessings” covering it, a beautiful white ceramic picture frame with the words “Heaven Sent,” a soft and gray stuffed bunny with soothing lavender to help calm baby girl and a hardback book titled “Guess How Much I Love You.”
A nurse of 40 years said she’s never seen anything like it.
The card accompanying the gift had a lovely handwritten message and was signed, “Anonymous” with a heart and cross next to it.
Anonymous wrote about their daughter, whose birthday is also June 7. The gift-giver’s daughter passed away last November after a 14-month battle with cancer. She would’ve been 24-years-old on June 7.
It didn’t take long for everyone in the room to be in tears, as my sister told the nurse about our granny and how she died of cancer. June 7 not only holds many memories for Anonymous but, coincidentally, it does for our family as well.
The card read, in part, “(Our daughter) was precious, much like your own. God’s plan for her was much different than we had for her.… We gift you and your new baby girl this basket in honor of Macy’s new life in heaven.”
I think it was fate that connected Nora with Anonymous’ family. It reminds us of the circle of life; and while it’s so difficult to let go of the ones we love, new miracles are born.
So I have a third niece, and we share a middle name! I'm not sure my sister realizes just how much it means to me that she wanted a family name and she chose mine, Elyse.
When my granny was living, she had a thing for red birds. Since her passing, everyone in my family sees red birds often. I know it’s a sign for many people of lost loved ones, and it is for us as well.
I wrote part of this column on my iPhone as I was walking outside — it was too sunny and beautiful out to stay indoors — and a red bird flew by me into a tree. Maybe it was granny, or maybe it was Anonymous’ daughter saying hi.
The card ended with, “We pray for you and your baby girl. We pray God protects her with good health and guides you through the newness of motherhood. We pray your daughter grows to be brave and strong as she carves her own path in life."
Anonymous, you may never see this column; but if by God’s grace you do, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you on behalf of my sister and brother-in-law and the rest of us for touching our lives and making Nora Elyse’s birth extra-special.
I can’t imagine a more beautiful way to honor your daughter and know our family’s prayers for peace and healing are with you.