A bereaved husband discovers freshly planted flowers by his wife’s grave. However, he and the cemetery staff didn’t put them there. So he visits the grave every day, hoping to find the mysterious gardener. When he meets the culprit, he learns a story about his wife that he had never known. This heart-warming tale of kindness and finding family was inspired by one of the experiences of a reader of AmoMama.
The Mysterious Roses
Stephen and Emma had been high school sweethearts and married shortly after graduating. They lived their full lives together, so when Emma passed away, she left a gaping hole in Stephen. Death is inevitable but it’s hard to imagine someone you love so deeply could ever be parted from you.
The couple didn’t have children. After years of trying and doctor appointments and treatments, Stephen saw the toll they took on Emma. So he told her that they were enough for each other. It was time to live life to the fullest. And they did, they traveled and they were happy together. However, hardship struck again when Emma was diagnosed with late-stage cancer at 65. She died a few months later.
One year after her death, Stephen visited her gravesite once a week. A year is a very short time when it comes to such an immense loss. He was still grieving deeply. However, he noticed freshly planted roses next to her grave. Her favorite flower. But when Stephen asked the overseer of the cemetery, they said the gardener had nothing to do with it; they never plant new flowers next to individual graves.
Stephen decided to visit the cemetery every day, hoping to find the mysterious benefactor. Only five days later, he found a young woman tending to the roses. When he questioned her, Stephen learned she wasn’t a cemetery gardener; she came to honor Emma. Stephen was mystified for he had never met this woman before.
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The woman, named Anna, explained that four years ago, her mother kicked her out of her home. Anna was just 14 with no money and nowhere to go. So she snuck into Emma’s garden, snipped a few roses, and sold them for a few dollars to buy food. After three days, Emma caught her in the act. Instead of yelling, she invited Anna inside and gave her breakfast. After hearing Anna’s story, Emma called a social worker to help her. Anna was put in a foster home and returned to school.
To prove her story, Anna showed Stephen a bracelet Emma gave her to remember her by. Stephen recognized the bracelet as one Emma had “lost” years ago.
Anna continued her story. About a month ago, she had returned to the couple’s house but no one answered the door. When she went to the neighbor to ask if Emma still lived there, the neighbor informed her of Emma’s passing. Anna was dismayed because she wanted to thank her for her help all those years ago.
So she planted the roses by the gravesite. She had considered buying a bouquet but she didn’t like the idea of the flowers dying so quickly. A rose bush would prosper better, especially because Anna had to leave town to find a job to support herself. She was currently low on savings and was sleeping in shelters. Being 18, she was on her own. Her foster family didn’t adopt her and either way Anna never felt fully at home with them.
Finding a True Home
After hearing her story, Stephen invited her to dinner. After some hesitation, Anna accepted; she assumed that Emma’s husband had to be as kind as she was.
During dinner, Stephen said Anna could stay by him as long as she needed. She was shocked he would offer such a thing to a complete stranger. But Stephen said he’d like to help her for the same reason Emma did. They wanted to help a young woman get back on her feet.
As time went on, Stephen became like a grandfather to Anna. After some years, he became sick and she was there by his side. When he passed away in his sleep, she was once again at a loss of where to go. At least this time she had proper savings after working during those years.
However, Stephen’s lawyer approached her at the funeral and told her to come to his office tomorrow to sign certain documents. Anna was confused, but the lawyer explained that she was Stephen’s only beneficiary. All that was needed was Anna’s signature to inherit all of Stephen’s property, including his house. The same house where Emma had first rescued her and the same house that had become her home.
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- “Old Man Meets Homeless Girl at Wife’s Grave, Years Later She Inherits All His Property – Story of the Day.” AmoMama. Roshanak Hannani. November 18, 2021