Facebook Giveaway: Winning Story
A HUGE thanks to everyone who submitted “the best gift they’ve ever received” to win our holiday gift package – we laughed, we cried, and overall we’re so touched that so many of you shared your wonderful memories with us!
When we legit started sobbing reading the following “best gift” submission from Emily Lipke, we knew we had our winner. It’s a long story, but we just had to share it with all of you!
“Three years ago I met the love of my life. He meant everything to me, and I meant everything to him. We could never spend a moment without each other, he was perfect. Well, he had told me that he wanted to join the Marine Corps. And of course I was scared, but absolutely proud of him. I was next to him every step of the way through the whole process. Then one day he said it was time for him to move to California for training (we lived in Indiana) and I knew it would be hard but I knew a long distance relationship could never pull us apart. Once he was there for a few months, I would visit him as much as I could. He loved being a Marine, and I sure loved my Marine too.
After about a year of training, he came home for a break and had told me the time had come… he was to be sent to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan. My heart was in pieces. I cried and cried because I dreaded this very moment. When the day came to finally say goodbye, he told me he would be gone for 9 months but during those 9 months we would always write to one another and our love would be stronger than ever. When he left, I wrote a letter to him every day. He sent me letters too and it was like my birthday everyday being able to open his letters. I felt like I was 5 years old opening my gifts. After a few months, I started to notice that I did not get a letter from him. Then the next month.. no letter. Then the one after that… no letter. We had heard that some men from his battalion had gotten into a terrible explosion from an IED bomb and when they were getting out of there, 2 more exploded. Some men had gotten killed and the families had not been notified yet. When we had gotten wind of this, I broke down and immediately my heart fell to the floor. I could not stop thinking if we were one of the families not notified yet. I prayed and prayed to God. It was two weeks till Christmas and I prayed that my soldier was safe and unharmed. I begged and begged.
After a week and a half went by, it was the day before Christmas Eve. I woke up early for some reason and I had an urge to check the mailbox. I had been so worn out that past few weeks that I had even convinced myself to not even go outside and get the mail. But this urge was different. So I put my coat and boots on and I ran to the mailbox. When I opened it, I saw only one tiny crumpled up letter that sat inside. My heart started beating so quickly and I tore the letter open immediately. It was from the love of my life, telling me that he was wounded, but safe, and transferred to Germany. I could not believe that my prayers had been answered. That letter was the most remarkable and powerful gift I have ever received in my entire life! To this day, I still keep it in a drawer beside my bed to remind myself how lucky I was and to never forget the others who lost their lives.”