When she first saw it, she couldn’t hold her tears. It was in that dark room, only lit by the gleam of the computer screen, where she found out about her husband’s confession.
For the first time, she managed to peek into her husband’s inner life. And what she saw couldn’t possibly be more heartbreaking.
When she heard the news, she was devastated. Night after night, she had prayed for this not to happen. But in her gut, she knew it was a real possibility, even though she dreaded to think about it.
And it happened. Now her husband was gone, and he hadn’t even had the chance to see his daughter say her first words.
The protagonist of this story is a woman named Emma Weaver from Hampton, Virginia. She’s the widow of U.S. Army First Lieutenant Todd Weaver, who served in Afghanistan and passed away in service.
Aside from his wife, Weaver left behind a baby girl named Kiley. He left for Afghanistan when she was just 9 months of age.
Emma will never forget the day she got the news. Every time she heard someone knocking on the door, that dreaded thought crept into the back of her mind. Could that be the day?
So that day, when she heard the knocks on the door, peeped through the window, and saw that the man was wearing an Army uniform, she prayed that it wasn’t what she feared. She kept praying as she walked toward the door and as she looked at the man in the face, waiting for him to speak.
After he was gone and she closed the door, she just broke down. The next few days were the toughest of her whole life. It was like a herculean task to go through all the funeral arrangements and the visits of friends and relatives.
She knew they had the best intentions, but all she wanted was to be left alone for a while. After it was all said and done, she finally had time to go through Todd’s things by herself. And that’s when it all started.
Among Todd’s personal effects was a laptop he used during his days in Afghanistan. For some reason, Emma felt compelled to give it a look, even though she didn’t really know what to expect.
But she found out that Todd had written two letters for her and Kiley to read in the event that he passed away. This is what the one for Emma said:
“Dear Emma: Well, if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home, and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.”
“I love you so much, baby, and I will always love you. Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now. I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit. I know this time must be hard for you but I also know how strong you are.”
“Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day. I want you to know just how important you are to me.”
“I could not ask for a more caring, beautiful, and loving wife. The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life. Although it may seem like my life was cut short, I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.”
“I even had two great dogs — at least most of the time. I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you feel sad, just think back to the memories that we shared. Look at our daughter and how beautiful she is.”
“Be strong for her. Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. Her birth was the best day of my life and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Her smile and laughter represent all that is good and beautiful in this world.”
“Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day. I love you, Emma. But never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life. Although you may think this is impossible right now, have faith.”
“Much better times are coming. You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.” The letter for his daughter went like this:
“Dear Kiley, My Sweetie: Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you.
“I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old. Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. You are so very special to me sweetie — you are truly a gift from God. The best day of my life was the day you were born.”
“Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt. You were my sweetie — my life was not complete until you were born. I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up.”
“But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day. You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you. Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can.”
“Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings. Never forget how important and special you are to so many people.”
“We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in. Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you.”
“But when things aren’t going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end. You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you.”
“Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you. You are and will always be my sweetie.”
Emma was so moved by the letter that she decided to share it on her social media. It soon went viral, and at this point, millions of people have already read it and commented on it.
Todd’s letters are truly a beautiful expression of a father’s feelings for his family, and they contain lessons that will be useful for everyone at some point in their lives.