A grieving mother left an empty chair at her wedding for her late son and was stunned to see a young man walk in to walk her down the aisle.
Melissa Ingalls was getting married and the one thing she wanted the most was to have her son by her side, but that could never be. Gary had passed away at the age of 18 after a motorcycle accident, he was gone.
Gone, Melissa thought, but not forgotten, never forgotten. She had instructed the wedding planner to leave an empty seat in the front row for Gary, in homage to the sweet boy who'd lit up her life.
Melissa wanted her late son with her on her wedding day in spirit | Source: Shutterstock.com
The empty chair was to have an inscription: "I'm in heaven on your wedding day, Mom. But I will come down to you from heaven. Just leave me one empty chair. You won't see me, but know, I will be there."
Melissa blinked back her tears. Gary would be so happy for her! She had become a mother at a very young age but never married, and Gary had always insisted that one day she'd find her Prince Charming.
"Mom," Gary had said. "One of these days I go to college and leave home and I don't want you to be lonely! I want you to meet a nice guy!"
Melissa had finally met the 'nice guy' but it had been after Gary had passed away. Bob had come to fix the shutters on Melissa's front porch and ended up falling in love with her.
Melissa met Bob late in life after the death of her son | Source: Unsplash
Bob was a little older, kind, and loving. He'd lost his wife to cancer some years before, and he was just as lonely as Melissa. With Bob, Melissa had learned to smile again, and when he proposed, she accepted.
"I wish Gary could have met you," she told Bob, "I wish he could be here with us." Bob had just put his arms around her and held her tight. He knew that there are no words that can soothe that kind of pain.
So on her wedding day, Melissa stood in front of the mirror and blinked back her tears. "Gary, mommy loves you so much," she whispered. "I'll never stop missing you, never!"
Gary passed away at 18 in a motorbike accident | Source: Unsplash
Melissa's best friend, Rachel, quickly dabbed away at her tears and fixed her makeup, then carefully adjusted her veil. "You look so beautiful!" Rachel said. "Gary would be so proud of you!"
Melissa nodded. "I wish he could give me away!" she whispered. "But I know when I walk down that aisle his spirit will be there by my side."
"Listen, Melissa," her friend said gently. "Gary is gone, but he was a wonderful person, and deeply loved, and his death wasn't in vain. Thanks to your courage, he gave life to many people."
"You mean the transplants?" asked Melissa.
Melissa had donated Gary's organs to save lives | Source: Pixabay
"Yes. I read some of the letters you got from the families of the transplanted, and they were very moving." Rachel said gently. "And that should be a comfort."
Melissa nodded. "It is, of course, it is. Now let's go down, poor Bob will think I ran away!"
As Melissa walked in, the wedding march started to play. She saw Bob standing next to the priest waiting for her, and on the other side, a young man she knew was approaching Gary's chair.
"Chris!" she cried, and the young man walked towards her smiling. "Melissa," he said, taking her hands. "I know that Gary would have wanted to be here with all his heart, so here I am!"
Melissa never imagined the surprise Bob had prepared for her | Source: Unsplash
Chris took Melissa's hand and placed it on his chest so she could feel Gary's heartbeat in his chest. "Would you allow me to give you away?" he asked.
Melissa was smiling through her tears, and under her palm she felt her son's strong, generous heart beating, giving this young man life. "Yes," she said, "I'd love that!"
So Chris took Melissa's arm and led her down the aisle towards the tearful Bob. As they passed the rows of chairs, the wedding guests were standing up, clapping, with tears running down their cheeks.
When they reached Bob, Chris gave Melissa a kiss and handed her over to her bridegroom. "You did this?" Melissa asked, "You brought Chris here?"
The young man who had received Gary's heart was waiting to lead her down the aisle | Source: Unsplash
"My love, I brought what I could of your son to be here for you because I want this to be the happiest day of our lives."
The priest had to wait quite a bit until the bride and the bridegroom and the guests all stopped crying, but they were healing tears, and afterward, he said the words that made them man and wife and linked their lives forever.
It was a bittersweet day, for making new memories and cherishing old ones, and Melissa knew that Bob really was the man for her, because he'd known exactly what she needed to make her happy.
In Bob, Melissa had found the perfect man | Source: Unsplash
What can we learn from this story?
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who is shocked to see her dead husband blink when she kisses him goodbye in his coffin.
This account is inspired by our reader’s story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to email@example.com