When Stephen saw flowers on his late wife’s grave, he wanted to know who planted them. Finally, he discovered it was a young woman named Anna, who told him a moving story about his wife’s kind gesture. Then Stephen decided to surprise her and give her more than she ever imagined.
You expect this to happen when you marry someone, but it’s always an abstract notion far away into the future, Stephen thought about death as he looked at his wife’s grave. Emma had been his high school sweetheart, and they got married right after graduating from Baton Rouge High School in Louisiana. She was the most perfect and proper Southern woman.
Many of his friends said how lucky he had been to earn her affections. Stephen was grateful for that and looked forward to a lifetime of happiness with her.
However, they soon went through trying times because they couldn’t have children, and after years of doctor’s visits and treatments that put a strain on Emma’s body, Stephen decided to stop. He told her that they were enough for each other and life was too short to suffer like this.
His decision worked, as they lived happily and traveled around the country enjoying their love. But at 65, Emma was diagnosed with late-stage cancer and died a few months later. We will all die in the end, but that day came faster than I ever imagined, Stephen continued his musings, feeling more alone than ever.
It had been a year since her passing, and he visited her grave once a week, still mourning her loss. Stephen was so immersed in his thoughts during one visit that he almost didn’t notice a new set of roses planted on the grass next to her grave. He frowned at them and wondered if the cemetery gardener did it.
Emma’s grave was away from others, so it had to be intentional. They were Emma’s favorite flowers, after all. But when he asked the person in charge, they had no idea what Stephen was talking about.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Davis. The gardener never plants new flowers near the graves,” the attendant of the cemetery assured him.
Maybe, it was a kind soul, he wondered. Regardless, Stephen decided to come every day and see if he could find whoever did it. Five days later, he discovered a young woman tending some of the roses.
“Excuse me, miss. Are you the new gardener in the cemetery?” Stephen questioned the woman.
“Oh, hello, sir. No, I… I sneaked in and planted these roses in honor of this woman,” she answered.
“Did you know her?” Stephen wondered. He and Emma usually didn’t keep secrets from each other, so he was curious to know why this girl decided to do this.
“I knew her briefly. Around four years ago, my mother kicked me out of the house. I was just 14 and had nothing to my name. One day, I went into this woman’s yard, stole a few roses, and started selling them near the supermarket for a few bucks to eat. I did it for three days until this woman caught me. I thought she would yell at me, but Mrs. Davis was not angry,” she revealed.
“Well, she invited me into her house and offered me breakfast. I told her my name was Anna and why I was stealing her roses,” Anna explained. “She was so kind to me and offered to help me. She called a social worker. I had no idea what the CPS was at the time, and they came to me. I was placed in a foster home and went back to school. And, Mrs. Davis gave me this bracelet to remember her by.”
Stephen looked at the bracelet on Anna’s arm and knew she was telling the truth. Emma had allegedly “lost it” years ago. “Wow, that was very kind of Mrs. Davis. Did you see her often afterward?” Stephen asked, wanting to learn more about their connection.
“No, my foster family lived in Carville, so I didn’t see her again. I came to find her a month ago, and no one was home. I knocked on her neighbor’s door, and they told me what happened,” Anna continued. “I can’t believe she’s gone. I wanted to thank her all this time. She helped me as best she could.”
Stephen smiled, remembering how kind his wife had been to everyone, so Anna’s story was not surprising. He decided to introduce himself properly. “Anna, I’m Stephen, Emma’s husband. I noticed the roses you planted. Thank you,” he stated.
“Oh! You’re her husband! My condolences, Mr. Davis. Yeah, I wanted to do something, but I thought a bouquet would expire too quickly. I bought a few roses and hoped they would prosper here,” Anna said. “But I can’t maintain them anymore. I have to leave town. I can’t find a job here, and I’m 18 already.”
“What about your family?”
“My foster family never adopted me. Their house was never my home, so I’m on my own now. I don’t have much savings left, and I’ve been trying to find a job, but it’s hard. I’ve been sleeping at shelters since I arrived,” she clarified.
“You know what? Come home with me. Let me make you dinner,” Stephen offered. Anna didn’t know what to think, but she accepted the invitation after a few moments of hesitation, thinking that he had to be just as kind as Mrs. Davis.
Stephen made her dinner at his house and surprised her by offering her a place to stay for as long as she wanted. “I don’t understand. Why would you do that? I’m a stranger. You don’t know me at all,” Anna voiced her worries.
“I guess I’m doing it for the same reasons my wife helped you back then. You might be 18, but you’re still a kid in my eyes,” Stephen replied. Anna couldn’t believe his kindness and agreed to stay for a while until she got back on her feet.
However, Stephen became like a grandfather figure to her, and she never moved away. When he got sick several years later, she was right there to help him. Unfortunately, he passed in his sleep, and Anna had no idea where to go. But at least, she had worked all those years and had enough money to find a new apartment.
But Stephen had one more surprise for her. At the funeral, his lawyer approached her. “You’re Anna Smith, right? You need to come to my office tomorrow or later this week. We’ll sign all the documents and settle everything properly there,” the man announced.
“I’m sorry, what? What documents? What do we need to settle?” Anna questioned, confused.
“Oh! I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Normally, we would do a will reading, but you’re Mr. Davis’ only beneficiary, so it’s unnecessary. We need your signature and a few things to transfer all his property over to you,” the lawyer explained.
Anna couldn’t believe it. The lawyer continued, revealing that Mr. Davis left her everything, including the house and his considerable savings. Therefore, she didn’t have to move from the only real home she had known all these years. When the lawyer finished explaining everything, she burst into tears and hugged him, unable to contain her joy.
What can we learn from this story?
- One kind gesture can change someone’s life. Emma helped Anna when she was just a little girl, and she never forgot the older woman’s kind gesture.
- Anyone can become your family. Stephen met Anna when he felt most alone in life, and they became each other’s family.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who forbids his wife from entering a room in the house, but she does it anyway.
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