The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration. Families come together and enjoy each others’ company.
For those who are able to gather with their entire family, it’s easy to overlook those less fortunate. Not all families are whole through the holidays, and many want to get the festive days over with.
Losing a loved one can be hard, something Connie Larson knows all too well. Her husband, Doyle Larson, passed away in December of 2017 from a brain tumor.
Reminders of the man she loved are too painful to keep around. While Connie was going through the process of clearing out many of Doyle’s belongings, she came across a particular item that made her smile.
Doyle had a suit jacket that Connie never let him wear out of the house because she thought it was too “ugly.”
Connie, a Colorado resident and regular viewer of the show Next with Kyle Clark, had a special destination in mind for the suit jacket. She shipped the jacket to the news anchor, along with a personal note.
Clark has become well-known to viewers for his brightly colored suit jackets with dizzy patterns. The Larsons used to joke that Clark was the only one who should wear the jacket.
Along with a box containing the suit jacket, the enclosed note detailed the personal significance of the garment. Clark later posted a photo of that note on his Facebook page.
“I do understand if this jacket is ‘too ugly’ for even your wardrobe but know that it always made us smile each time when we saw what you chose to wear each night,” Connie wrote in the letter.
When anchor Kyle Clark received the suit jacket, he was touched by the story behind it. He chose to wear it on live TV.
A Next viewer named Connie mailed me her late husband’s jacket. The one she told him he could never wear out in public….
“Connie sent me this jacket with a note asking that I add it to my wardrobe,” Clark said behind the anchors desk at 9News. “Connie – I hope you are smiling tonight.”
But the good deed wasn’t done there. Rather than wear the jacket and make no more of it, Clark found a way to engage the whole community in honoring her late husband.
Clark offered to give away one of his own suit jackets to any viewer who made a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association in Doyle’s name.
“I’ve made a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association in Doyle’s name. Any Next viewer who makes a donation of any size will have their name thrown in a hat to inherit one of my jackets,” he said.
The response in donations to the American Brain Tumor Association was overwhelming, as was the outpouring of support for Connie as she grieves.
The American Brain Tumor Association was hit by a wave of donations through their online portal. But more encouraging than the cash donations was the swell of personal notes addressed to the new widow.
Each note had its own story from someone who experienced a hardship similar to Connie’s. In a touching show of humanity from the general public, people wished her the best, and offered to lend her an ear if needed.
Staying true to his word, Clark raffled off not one, but two of his suit jackets. Connie was on hand to pick the winning name out of a box on live television, and thanked everyone for their support.
For Connie, the pain hasn’t gone away. Losing a partner is difficult to overcome, and only time can heal the wound. But knowing there are so many people who care helps the healing process.
Seeing Clark wear the jacket she and her husband joked about in the privacy of their own home provides closure in a strange way. It’s the button on a joke that brought the couple countless laughs.