It’s always difficult to cope when a loved one passes away, but one thing you can do is remind yourself that it’s all part of the circle of life: for every death, there’s new life, a new generation of babies being born all the time.
That’s what one woman realized recently after suffering from a heartbreaking loss—and it inspired her to change the life of a total stranger.
On January 12, at Lafayette General Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, Connie Despanie and Benjamin Hall gave birth to a son, whom they named Kingston.
However, his name wasn’t complete: the new parents hadn’t settled on a middle name for their baby boy.
But then, inspiration came from the most unlikely place.
They found out they had received a letter … from a complete stranger. A woman had anonymously dropped off the letter for them at the hospital reception shortly after their son was born.
But when the new mom read the mysterious letter, she was left in tears.
The letter, addressed to the newborn child, was written by a woman named Jamie Fontenot. The same day Kingston was born, she was at the hospital, but for a much sadder occasion: her father, James Lee Grimmett, died at the age of 86.
Fontenot was distraught—but then, shortly after his death, she heard a lullaby from the nursery, signaling that a baby had just been born.
This inspired her to write her letter:
“To my dad’s angel, even though I will never know your name, you are the first child born here after my dad’s passing,” she wrote.
“When one life is taken, another is given. Please keep my dad in your prayers.”
“I just took my letter and I went to the OB unit,” Fontenot explained to CBS News. “I said my dad passed away about 10:40 so give this to the first baby that was born after that time.”
Despanie was stunned when she read the letter addressed to her newborn son.
“She started reading it silently and she just had tears streaming down her face,” Dr. Pugliese, who oversaw the birth, recalled.
“It was really beautiful.”
The parents were apparently affected, too, by the idea that their son was in a way carrying on this late stranger’s legacy—because suddenly, they had a middle name.
They named their son Kingston James Hall.
Fontenot’s letter had even more of an impact than she ever could’ve imagined—but while she wrote the letter anonymously, the nursing staff thought she should see what she’d done.
“My nurse followed me to that side and she was like well, do you mind if we get your information and give it to Ms. Jamie?” Despanie told CBS.
Of course, she wanted to meet the author of the letter, and the two women—one who lost a father and one who gained a son—were brought together by fate.
The two strangers embraced in an emotional meeting.
“I’m so happy you came,” Fontenot told her.
“I’m happy to meet you. I didn’t think I was going to meet you,” Despanie said.
Even better, Fontenot got to hold the newborn partially named after her father.
“Family is everything,” she said, according to CBS. “And if you don’t have faith you don’t have anything.”
The two women plan to keep in touch. While Fontenot mourns her late father, she can take some comfort in seeing his namesake grow up, all thanks to this unlikely bond between strangers.