Through nothing but two envelopes, a now-passed child managed to come alive in the hearts of her grieving parents, who lost her most unexpectedly.
An 8-year-old Kinsley Sandvik and her mom of five, Shannon Sandvik, used to spend their mornings together. The little girl would silently rest her head on her mother's shoulder as Shannon sipped on her coffee.
These moments with her mom were the only time this little girl remained still, springing into action for the rest of the day, with unlimited energy, full of determination and life.
JUST A LITTLE SICK
Sadly, in February 2020, a seemingly innocuous viral infection zapped this neverending zest out of her - Influenza B.
Shannon expressed that something constantly felt amiss, and it seemed like an eternity.
Her parents took her to the pediatrician's office after she complained that she felt sick, where they gave her medication and sent her home to rest. Days into recovery, she appeared to be getting better.
A LOVING GOODBYE
Suddenly, one night, Kinsley had to be hurried to the hospital when she began coughing up blood. The doctors did all they could, but the little girl passed away on Valentine's Day of 2020. The heartbroken mother expressed:
"We said that was going to be forever Kinsley day, and red was her favorite color."
Two months after her passing, Shannon expressed that something constantly felt amiss, and it seemed like an eternity without her baby around.
A DIFFICULT MOVE
However, something made her and her husband feel a little closer to Kinsley even though she wasn't physically with them.
Ava, one of the mom's other daughters, shared a room with Kinsley. So, four days after her daughter's death, Shannon felt compelled to clean up the room so Ava would feel more comfortable.
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A HIDDEN GEM
She made her way into the room. While cleaning up, she found the most touching Valentine's notes from Kinsley. Sealed in envelopes, they were addressed to her and her spouse. Shannon said:
"She let us know we are great parents, always there for her, and how much she loved us, ending with 'Happy Valentine's Day.'"
These two letters were reminiscent of the little girl's "noots" she would write for her parents, apologizing, in adorable incorrect spelling, for unruly behavior -- a testament to her strong spirit.
This beautiful girl's illuminating presence will always live on in the minds and hearts of her loved ones. As her mom stated:
"She was just so loved by everybody. She was the bright light in any room that was around…She was something special for sure."
Now whenever the day known for celebrating love rolls around, Kinsley's family will not be focused on romance but on the warm and deep love they had for this beautiful little girl.
THE POWER OF THE PEN
It's phenomenal how a few words hold so much power. Unwittingly, eight-year-old Myles Eckert's words had an astounding ripple effect. Myles found $20.00 in a parking lot when he spotted a man in a soldier's uniform.
He gave him the cash, which he wrapped inside a note. The young boy thanked Lieutenant Colonel Dailey for his service in the letter, revealing that his now-passed father was a soldier.
The story about the note began spreading, with people donating money to the Eckerts. The family then donated it to Snowball Express -- an organization that assists children whose parents in the military did not make it.
Following this, Texas-based Highland Capital Management promised to donate up to $1 million to Snowball Express for every contribution made under the little boy's name.
Whether it's warming two hearts and making them feel less alone or sparking a whole movement, both of these children have shown us what a huge impact our words can have on people and communities.
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