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'Please, I Pray for Someone': Woman Returns from Work, Finds Letter from Elderly Neighbor across the Street

Brittany Chalmers
Jun 14, 2022
08:31 A.M.

When a woman returned home from work one day, she found an envelope, and the content made her cry. The hand-written letter was brief, but it had the power to change two lives forever.

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Human beings have an innate desire to belong and find a community. Without someone to share the mundane moments of life, people can suffer one of the worst fates—loneliness.

A simple hello or kind smile can make someone's day, and the elderly are particularly grateful when fellow citizens take a minute to talk to them. Read this tear-jerking story and discover how a 90-year-old and a 37-year-old's paths crossed.

Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

THE UNEXPECTED LETTER

Marleen Brooks lived a happy life with her family in Park Hills, Missouri, and as a property manager, she took note of the houses in her neighborhood.

The 37-year-old mother noticed a quiet home across the street and wondered if anyone lived there. She never saw much activity, but a busy life kept her from checking up on the strangers residing nearby.

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Brooks considered herself a kind and caring person, but a letter that arrived on her doorstep opened her eyes to the world's harsh realities.

The house in Marleen Brooks's neighborhood. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

The house in Marleen Brooks's neighborhood. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

THE LETTER-SENDER LIVED CLOSE BY

Brooks was surprised to receive a note in 2017, but she didn't hesitate to open it—little did she know the words inside would leave her speechless and emotional.

After reading the soul-stirring letter, Brooks was heartbroken, and she carried the piece of paper wherever she went.

The mother had no idea who had sent the letter, but the author had added an address. To Brook's surprise, it came from someone living near her, and the sender scribbled a few short but gut-wrenching sentences.

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Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

A HEARTBREAKING REQUEST

Brooks couldn't keep the tears from welling up in her eyes as she read the note and realized she had failed as a neighbor. The sender, a 90-year-old woman, requested something many people take for granted.

She conveyed feelings of fear, sadness, and a longing for human connection. Wanda Mills wrote:

"Would you consider to become my friend. I’m 90 years old - live alone and all my friends have passed away. I am so lonesome and scared. Please - I pray for someone."

After reading the soul-stirring letter, Brooks was heartbroken, and she carried the piece of paper wherever she went. The encounter reminded the younger woman of her own grandmother, who had passed away in a hospice.

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MEETING HER 90-YEAR-OLD NEIGHBOR

Brooks's granny had died alone, and she always felt guilty for never making more of an effort to visit and spend time with her. The letter provided Brooks with an opportunity to fix her past regrets.

She arrived at the doorstep where she always thought nobody lived, along with cupcakes and a friend. Brooks recalled the special meeting and shared:

"[Mills] was excited that we came over there, and we sat and talked for about an hour."

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Wanda Mills. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

Wanda Mills. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

SHE LONGED FOR A FRIEND

The older woman relied on a supply of oxygen and struggled to walk, but her most immense pain came from loneliness. Mills only received company from her caregivers, but she said it wasn't the same as having a friend.

She longed for someone to chat with and get to know personally. The older woman had occupied her home for over five decades, and after the passing of her husband, sister, and son, she was alone.

She was surprised that someone cared enough to react to her letter and said:

"Neighbors don’t neighbor like people used to. Neighbors used to visit each other. But they don’t do that there, I don’t guess they do anywhere."

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Wanda Mills and Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

Wanda Mills and Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

THE FRIENDSHIP HELPED BOTH WOMEN

Brooks vowed to keep visiting Mills, and she stayed faithful to her word. The pair quickly established a friendship, and Brooks regularly brought her sons and husband along.

The older woman enjoyed chatting and laughing, which helped refresh her spirit. The new friendship also meant the world to Brooks. She stated:

"You know, just, you come home from work, and in an instant your whole life changes. That's literally what happened."

Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

Marleen Brooks. | Source: youtube.com/CBS Evening News

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A COMMUNITY FOR THE LONELY

Brooks was the perfect recipient of the letter sent by Mills, and the older woman believed that God allowed their paths to cross. When asked who sent Brooks into her life, Wanda had the perfect response. She said:

"God sent her."

The encounter deeply touched Brooks, and she decided to do something significant. To prevent other people from having similar fates, Brooks started a group for isolated older adults who needed a friend or a listening ear.

TOUCHING MANY LIVES

The "Pen Pals for Seniors" initiative has received interest from thousands of people, making a difference in many lives. Rosina Ragusa of Hawthorne, New Jersey, signed up for the service after losing her mother. Ragusa shared:

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"I love it, I love having to sit down and think about what I’m writing instead of the quick responses with a cellphone and a computer."

Georgia Parker, 40, of Dittmer, Missouri, reached out to a Canadian woman that was close to 70 years old. Parker also lost her mom and enjoyed speaking to someone from an older generation.

By sending a simple letter, Mills started a chain reaction of kindness. Brooks rose to the occasion, befriended the older woman, and went the extra mile to help other senior citizens in need. What do you think of her inspiring actions?

Click here for another beautiful story about an older woman needing companionship. A young woman noticed her and took some time to listen to her story, and they became friends instantly.

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