Sometimes, when you lose something truly priceless, finding even the smallest piece of it can bring the greatest joy.
That was the case for Rose Hill, who has begun to forget pieces of her life. In 2015, the 64-year-old realized her memories were slowly fading, and she didn’t know why.
“It seems like a lot of my life is gone and I can’t find it,” said Rose Hill.
Doctors couldn’t explain it either. While they continued to search for the cause of the Hillsboro, Oregon woman’s condition, Rose Hill held tight onto each precious memory she had left, through a picture, an object, or a friend from the past.
The pain of slowly forgetting her own life was so frightening that Rose even hoped doctors would discover she had a serious medical problem, so she could do something about it or rest knowing what it was.
“I was rooting for them to find brain lesions or a brain tumor,” she told Steve Hartman of CBS. “I wanted to know what was causing this because if you know what’s causing it maybe you can fix it—or make it better—or make it not hurt so bad.”
However, many of those precious memories found their way back to Rose Hill one day when pieces of her past were discovered at the most unexpected place.
Sara Redlich was sorting through the big blue bins at a Goodwill Outlet when she saw something that looked out of place. Buried beneath hundreds of knickknacks and other old, forgotten items, was a truly amazing find, and for Rose, a priceless treasure. They were love letters—dozens of them, all addressed to Rosie Hill.
“I knew they didn’t belong here, and I knew I had to find the owner of them and return them,” said the bright pink-haired Sara Redlich.
Sara later posted her find on Facebook, and Rose’s son soon saw it within 24 hours.
“I didn’t even know we had those,” said Rose of the letters.
They were written in 1973 by her now ex-husband when he was in the Vietnam war, and although they’re mostly about ordinary life, even the simplest of memories are most precious for the 64-year-old woman.
“I remember! You smell the smells, you hear the sounds, you feel like you are back in time and place.”
The letters may be over 40 years old, but for Rose, reading them feels like it was just yesterday. “I bought myself $200 worth of a camera—ok that’s where the camera came from,” she recalls, as she laughs and reads the letters.
It really is the little things.
Thanks to Sara, Rose has a big piece of her past back and a new friend to make new memories with—she even marked the young woman’s height on her wall. The ladies plan to stay in touch.