She was just busy finishing up at her daughter’s grave when she spotted the young child walking toward her. He had golden hair and deep grey eyes. He could not have been older than seven years old.
He gave her a big smile and rushed past her. Her eyes grew wider when she spotted something that initially went over her head.
Things were going swimmingly for the McRae family until their whole worlds came crumbling down one day. Their daughter sadly lost her life in a terrible accident. She meant everything to them, and they were heartbroken.
When Tammy McRae first heard the news, she did not want to believe that it was true. She was busy with her job when she received the terrible call. She knew that things would forever be altered from that moment on.
High School Sweethearts
Tammy fell pregnant with her daughter while she and her husband were finishing college. The pair had been together since high school, and by that point, they were already engaged.
After they both graduated from college, they had the wedding of their dreams. Their daughter, Linzie, was the flower girl, and they couldn’t have been prouder of their beautiful girl.
They Had A Good Life
The years went by, and Linzie grew into an amazing eighteen-year-old woman. Her parents were very proud of all of her accomplishments. She was a straight-A student and always helped around the house.
Not only did they have a great daughter, but they also had a beautiful house with high-paying jobs. However, one day everything took a turn for the worst.
What You Need To Know
To comprehend the boy at the cemetery’s story, we must first learn something about Linzie. She had always been the smartest student in her class.
She tried to be involved in as much as possible and always did her best. Linzie had dabbled in everything she could get her hands on. But one evening, she’d say something to her parents that would astound them.
Seeing It Through
“She returned home and said she needed to sign some organ donation documents from the hospital where she was volunteering,” her mother explained. “We thought it was a nice gesture and encouraged her to do it.”
In keeping with her usual approach to everything that she did, Linzie saw the exercise through to the end and returned home with an organ donation card. Unfortunately, Tammy and Chester were eventually going to lose her.
Tammy was busy at work when she received the terrible news. Her sweet daughter was in a car accident on her way home from school. She was on her way to the emergency room.
Tammy did not know what to do with the news she had received. She dropped what she was doing and rushed to the hospital. She’d be speechless when she saw what she’d uncovered.
Tammy had just arrived at the emergency room when her daughter was pronounced dead. Tammy wanted nothing more than to be by her daughter until she finally found peace.
Time lost all of its meaning, and Tammy, and Chester’s lives were colorless. They were torn over the loss of their daughter, until something happened that changed it all.
It had been a few months since their daughter’s funeral, and Tammy made sure to visit her daughter’s grave every single night after work to say hello.
She knew that her daughter wouldn’t want her parents to be consumed by sadness, so they tried everything in their power to adapt to their new normal. But that month, something peculiar would catch Tammy’s interest.
The Young Boy
Tammy was walking back to her car when she spotted a young boy passing. He must have been around seven years old, and he had light blonde hair with deep gray eyes.
He gave Tammy a small smile as he walked past her. She initially shrugged it off, but as the days passed, she became aware of something.
An Interesting Week
Tammy ran into the same boy the following evening. The week would continue in this same manner before Tammy decided she’d at least try to see why the boy was always at the cemetery at that time of day.
As the new week started, she decided to stay back after greeting the boy on her path back to her car. As always, he smiled, waved, and walked by her. But this time, she didn’t leave.
Tammy shadowed the boy with her phone’s camera recording, only to see him walk to Linzie’s tombstone. He stood over it for some seconds before sitting down.
The scene didn’t make any sense to Tammy, who stopped recording. She couldn’t think of why the boy was next to her daughter’s grave. Thinking maybe he’d confused the tombstones, she decided to step in.
Is He Her Friend
As Tammy approached the boy, she considered the possibility of him being one of Linzie’s friends but noticed he was too young to have known her daughter on such a level.
She made sure he could hear her approach so as not to startle him before saying “hi” again and asking him what he was doing at Linzie’s grave.
What Is He Doing
“I asked him if he knew Linzie, and he said no,” Tammy said to a reporter from her town’s local news. She also revealed something about the boy that had her tearing up for days.
“He’d been battling a rare heart condition. After Linzie passed away, he received her heart through a transplant, which saved his life.” But why was he visiting Linzie’s grave every evening if he’d never met her? “Where’s your mom?” Tammy asked.
Meeting His Mom
“He learned from his mom about Linzie and what she’d done for him, and the past two weeks, he had been asking his mom to drive him to the cemetery to talk to Linzie about his healing process,” Tammy shared amid happy tears.
The little boy’s mother was waiting for him in the parking lot. That’s when Tammy approached her and learned all the little boy and his family had been through.
A Rare Heart Condition
Little Sam had been born with a rare heart condition called unbalanced atrioventricular canal defect. This heart defect allowed blood to move freely through the four chambers of his heart, causing problems with his heart and lungs.
A normal heart has separate chambers to keep the blood from the lungs from mixing with other blood from the rest of the body. By the time Sam was two, he’d already undergone four open-heart surgeries.
Although the surgeries seemed to help and Sam was able to live a relatively normal life for a few years, things changed when he turned six.
Although he’d been on the heart transplant list since he was three, no viable hearts had been donated. Sam’s condition continued to worsen. His mom, Jane, was beginning to lose hope.
A Slow Process
According to the American Heart Association, the average wait for a heart transplant depends on several factors. However, it’s hardly ever a quick process.
Sam had to wait four years – which is longer than most. When he was six, his heart began to fail. He was hospitalized, and had to stay there until a heart became available.
A Shortage Of Organs
With a serious shortage of donated organs, some people wait years to receive a heart transplant. In fact, around 3,500 Americans are on the heart transplant waiting list at any given time, and they are usually critically ill or die by the time one becomes available.
Sam was deteriorating right in front of his family’s eyes, but all they could do was pray and wait. His case was particularly difficult because they had to wait for a heart that was the perfect size and blood type. Jane will never forget the day she got the news.
“His primary doctor came up and told me he had a transplant,” Jane said in an interview. “I think that was the biggest shock for me like, wow,” she added. “It almost was so unreal.”
Sam was admitted for surgery the very next day. Meanwhile, Tammy and Chester had just received the news about their daughter, and their lives were falling apart.
“As I watched his chest rise my heart got heavy. God bless the family who chose to donate this precious gift of life to my baby boy,” Jane wrote on Facebook.
Thankfully, Sam’s surgery was a success. Jane immediately saw a difference in his condition when he was wheeled out of the operating room. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
A Change Of Heart
Before going in for the heart transplant, Jane had noticed that her son’s skin had been a blue-grey color as a result of not receiving enough oxygenated blood.
When he was returned from the operating room, Jane immediately noticed the color of his skin. “My first reaction was his color,” Jane recalled. “When I looked at him, his color was amazing!”
Soon after he was revived, Sam’s breathing improved and his oxygen rose up to normal levels – all thanks to Linzie’s heart.
“We will forever be grateful for the selfless act, for the family who saved our son’s life,” Jane said. “Always have faith, because miracles do happen.” In fact, Jane made it her mission to find out who had donated their heart to her son.
Her Heart Broke For Them
Jane found out who had donated their organs through a non-profit organization, the United Network for Organ Sharing. Days after the transplant, she found Linzie’s obituary in the local paper and read her funeral announcement.
She learned all about the young woman and how giving she’d been in life until it was suddenly snuffed out forever. Her heart broke for the McRae family. She wanted to do something.
Waiting For The Right Moment
Jane had been waiting for the right moment to contact the McRae family to express her gratitude for their daughter’s final selfless act, but she didn’t want to approach them so soon after their loss.
In the meantime, she told Sam about the girl whose heart he had, and he insisted on visiting her at the cemetery. Finding the plot number wasn’t hard. But now, she was face-to-face with Linzie’s mother.
Tammy listened to Jane’s story and felt a wave of emotion hit her. After months, the pain of losing her daughter was not as sharp – now, it felt like a dull, heavy ache she carried with her everywhere.
Everything reminded her of Linzie. Now, the little boy standing in front of her was literally carrying a piece of her and keeping it alive. She didn’t know how to feel.
A Piece Of Her
Grief comes in waves. Tammy had been holding it together that day for the first time in months, but suddenly the wave crashed over her, threatening to completely engulf her.
Linzie’s beautiful heart had been a perfect match for Sam. If it weren’t for her, he wouldn’t be here. Tammy, who had been completely silent until now, asked a question.
Tammy couldn’t quite wrap her head around the situation. The sudden loss had been so hard to accept in the first place, now she knew Linzie was, in a sense, still with her.
“May I hear it?” Tammy asked through the tears, “May I listen to her heart?” Sam nodded, so she knelt down and placed her ear against his little chest. She closed her eyes.
Listening To Her Heart
And there it was. The quick, strong thud… thud… thud of Linzie’s heart. Tammy lost herself in its rhythm. She let it soothe her searing pain like a cool balm. For the first time in months, she had a sense that everything would be okay.
“She loved to share, so part of her life and giving some of it to Sam and other children is part of who she was,” she said, smiling.
Pieces Of Her
Tammy contacted the United Network for Organ Sharing to learn who had received Lindzie’s other organs. It turned out that her daughter had saved eight other lives with her organs the day she died.
Two people had her lungs, another had her liver, and others had various other vital pieces of her. The McRaes met all of them, but they felt closest to Sam, the little boy who had her heart.
That’s Our Linzie
Tammy and Chester had forgotten that their daughter had signed up to be an organ donor before passing and couldn’t believe she’d saved so many lives. “It’s truly the circle of life in its rawest form,” Tammy said, “she could never let a soul suffer if she could do something about it. That’s our Linzie.”
But Tammy and Chester weren’t the only ones who had recently experienced a loss. Pete Richford was visiting the grave of his loved one when he noticed an unexpected visitor. It was a dog, and nobody knew why it refused to leave the gravesite.
A Sad Afternoon
He stood against the growing breeze, watching as thick storm clouds gathered above the cemetery. He wiped his tears and sniffled, saying goodbye before the rain caught him on the open field.
He turned to leave but heard a dog whine somewhere among the many tombstones. Against his better judgment, he moved to investigate. What he found made him freeze in place.
Pete Richford was a young lecturer from North Carolina. At thirty-two, he’d achieved everything he’d set out to do in his life.
He had a great job, a perfect romantic life, and friends that supported him through everything he did. But despite his achievements, Pete had done something that most people his age rarely did.
Close To Home
Although Pete had made some really impressive steps in his life, he still lived next to his childhood home. A native of the town where he lived, Pete had the most beautiful relationship with his dad.
He’d grown up without a mom, with his dad taking on the role of mother and father. Now that he was grown up, he couldn’t picture a life away from his old man. But that was about to change.
It was a freezing night when Pete got a call from his dad, who’d been sick throughout the year. Although he sounded stronger on the call, something within Pete screamed at him to cross the street to check on him.
But Pete didn’t, choosing instead to hold the conversation over the phone. They talked for hours, his dad telling him how proud of him he was. Then Pete returned to sleep, unaware of what was about to happen.
Another Call In The Morning
Pete’s next call was from his dad’s caretaker in the morning, informing him she’d found his dad unresponsive. The hospital had declared him dead on arrival.
Pete couldn’t believe it. He was numb throughout the day, and as the weeks rolled by, all he could think about was how he spent his last moments with him on the phone instead of going to him. He had no idea what fate had in store for his future.
Guilt and missing his dad glued Pete to his dad’s grave. He’d thought the first few weeks after his passing were hard, but the months that followed were grueling.
Pete was talking to his dad that fateful afternoon when he noticed a storm rolling in. He wiped his wet eyes and got ready to leave. And that’s when he heard it.
Hearing The Whine
The sound was a low whine which Pete immediately knew was coming from a dog. He cast his eyes around the cemetery, searching for the animal.
The dog whined again, and Pete began looking around the tombstones. He knew many dogs loved spending time with their late owners. He couldn’t let such the poorl creature be caught in the brewing storm.
A Storm Is Coming
A raindrop fell on his forehead as he hurried about, telling him he had to search faster. “Where are you,” Pete called out, frustration welling within him.
He felt compelled to at least shelter the dog from the rain. Maybe it would be a good start for not being there for his dad.
I Cannot Fail
Frustrated, Pete stopped in his tracks. He held his knees, his eyes stinging with tears. I cannot fail again, he thought. He let out a troubled exhale and continued searching.
Pete doubled his efforts. Dark rain already blanketed the horizon. He listened closely to the dog’s whine, knowing it was distressed because of the encroaching storm.
He Finds Her
Pete moved across the cemetery until he found the poor dog. She’d curled under a burrow next to one of the tombstones.
“Hey there, buddy,” Pete said, going to his knees. He wiped his eyes as a smile took his face. “A nasty storm’s coming,” he said as he stretched his hand to the dog. “Wanna come with?”
Come With Me
The dog, a tagless golden retriever, barked at Pete. “Is that a yes?” he asked, his smile broadening without his knowledge. “My car is that way,” he jutted his chin toward the cemetery’s gate.
“Not far at all,” he said. He looked over his shoulder, seeing the storm was now closer. “Come,” he urged, and the dog followed his instruction. But as she got up, he saw what she’d been protecting.
Curled into the dog’s belly was a litter of the cutest puppies Pete had ever seen. The past few months had been hell for him, and for the first time in all this time, his heart swelled with so much joy it pained him.
“We’re all going,” Pete said quickly, slowly reaching out to the dog and her four puppies. He cradled the pups when he was sure she was okay with him helping her. But then the worst thing happened.
A Hail Of Raindrops
A hail of raindrops assaulted the cemetery, pattering with ferocity. Pete and the dog tore through the building rain to his car.
He removed his jacket and placed the puppies in it, taking them to the backseat. Their mom joined them, barking in thanks as the rains finally fell in full fury. But that wasn’t the end of it.
Pete took out his phone and called his girlfriend, telling her what’d happened. She’d been one of the only pillars keeping him sane throughout his grieving period, and he wanted to share this news with her.
Catie, Pete’s girlfriend, was more than thrilled when Pete told her what he’d found. She even asked for photos of the bundle of joy. But would she be open to what Pete was thinking?
The Sun Comes After The Storm
When Pete saw the dog and her puppies, he knew he wanted to keep them. When he shared this with his girlfriend, she agreed instantly.
The two named the dog Ciri after a beloved princess from one of Pete’s dad’s favorite fantasy novels. Although it would take Pete more time to fully heal from losing his dad, at least he had new family members to help him through the process.