Tennessean Bailey Sellers lost her father about five years ago, when she was just 16. Before he passed away, however, he arranged for a very special delivery to come her way every year on her birthday: a bouquet of flowers and a heartfelt letter.
Sellers’ flowers arrived, as expected, on Nov. 24, 2017.
Predictably, it came with a heart-wrenching letter — but this year, the note from her dad packed an especially meaningful punch.
Sellers’ father arranged for his letters and flowers to arrive only through her 21st birthday. So this birthday, she received his final gifts.
“Bailey, this is my last love letter to you until we meet again,” her dad began the note, which Sellers shared on Twitter.
His letter continued (emphasis added):
“I do not want you to shed another tear for me my baby girl for I am in a better place. You are and will always be the most precious jewel I was given. It is your 21st birthday, and I want you to always respect your momma and stay true to yourself. Be happy and live life to the fullest. I will still be with you through every milestone, just look around and there I will be. I love you boo boo and happy birthday!!! Daddy”
Along with the flowers and letter, Sellers also shared an old photo of her and her dad from a trip to the beach.
In the few days since Sellers shared the photos, her post has amassed over 1.5 million likes and over 360,000 retweets.
Its powerful message struck a chord with many people — especially those who’ve lost a parent as well.
Sellers’ dad’s letter may be pulling at heartstrings extra hard considering the time of year. The holidays can be tough, after all. Many of us have complicated or strained relationships with family and friends, and — compounded with the stresses of presents, parties, and lots of baking — the true gift of the holidays can get lost in the shuffle.
But Sellers’ story shows why it’s so important we cherish the ones we have in the short time that we have them.
“Every year I looked forward to my birthday because I felt like [my dad] was still here with me but this is the last year I get them so it’s so heart breaking,” Sellers wrote in a follow-up tweet in the thread.
“Makes sense, Bailey,” a supportive user responded to her. “But I hope you can also see the message he likely intended by stopping [his letters]. He believes in you. He believes that you are capable of wondrous things. He believes YOU are ready to be without the flowers even if you don’t know it yet.” ❤️