A formerly homeless street artist adopts the little girl he first met four years before in the cemetery where her parents were buried.
Michael Rowlings hated his life. He'd once been a happily married man with a wonderful family and a brilliant career as an artist. Now he was a homeless beggar.
It was frightening how quickly things had fallen apart. His seven-year-old daughter Terry had been diagnosed with leukemia, and after she passed away, Michael's wife left.
Michael had fallen into a deep depression, obsessing about what might have been. He stopped painting, his savings ran out. He ended up on the streets and he didn't care -- until he met Megan at the cemetery.
Megan's family had promised to take her to Disneyland on her birthday. | Source: Unsplash
The one thing Michael still held on to was his memory of his daughter and he visited her grave every Sunday. One particular Sunday, he was sitting near Terry's grave, talking to her, when he heard quiet sobs.
A stone's throw away, a little girl was kneeling, clutching a handful of wildflowers and crying pitifully. "I miss you, mom and dad," the child wept. "I'm trying to be brave but it's very hard!
Those we love are forever part of our lives and our hearts.
"It's my birthday next week, and you were going to take me to Disneyland, remember? Now we will never go together. I miss all the things we did together, and all the things we will never do..."
Michael stood up and walked over to the little girl. "Hi," he said softly, so as not to frighten her. "Are you OK?"
The child looked up at him, her face swollen and blotched with tears. "Yes," she said politely. "I'm OK."
Michael had once been a successful artist. | Source: Unsplash
"Are you here on your own?" he asked.
"No," she replied. "My foster parents are here too, but I asked them to talk to my parents alone. Why are you here?"
"My little daughter passed away," Michael said. "So I guess I know what you mean when you say you miss all the things you won't do together."
"Yes," the girl said softly. "Do you think it's funny to miss the future?"
Michael shook his head. "No," he replied. "I understand exactly how you feel. What's your name?"
After his daughter's death, Michael became a homeless beggar. | Source: Pexels
"I'm Megan," she answered. "Who are you, and what was your little girl's name?"
Michael smiled and said, "I'm Michael, and my daughter's name was Thereza, but everyone called her Terry."
"My mom was Donna and my dad was Francis, but he hated it," Megan said. "So everyone called him Frank. You can see their photos..."
Michael came closer to peer at the photos, inset in clear acrylic ovals on the gravestones. "They are very handsome," Michael said. "You look just like your mom!"
That was when a tall woman appeared and looked at Michael suspiciously. "Who are you?" she asked. "And what are you doing talking to Megan?"
Michael saw Megan crying in the cemetery. | Source: Shutterstock. com
Megan leapt to her feet. "It's OK, Joanne," she said to the woman. "Michael was telling me about his daughter. She died too, just like my mom and dad."
The woman didn't look reassured. "What have I told you about talking to strangers?" she scolded. "Come on, time to go home."
Megan got up obediently and said to Michael, "It's my birthday next week, Saturday. Please come to my party! It's at number 27 Freemont Avenue!"
The woman was scowling at Michael and dragging Megan away as fast as she could. Michael could hear her scolding the child for telling strangers her address. And that was when he had THE idea.
When Michael arrived, Megan was celebrating her birthday with her little friends in the backyard. "Who are you?" asked a burly man.
Michael brought Megan a special gift on her birthday. | Source: Unsplash
"I'm a friend of Megan's," Michael explained. "I came to drop off a present."
"Megan!" hollered the man. "Friend of yours brought you a present!"
Megan came running over and immediately recognized Michael."You came!" she cried. "I'm so glad."
"I brought you a present," Michael said and handed Megan a big, badly wrapped gift. He watched apprehensively as Megan unwrapped it, and saw the astonishment on her face.
"How did you do this?" she asked with tears in her eyes. She held up a painting of herself, her mom, and her dad standing in front of Cinderella's castle in Disneyland!
"I remembered you were saying you missed the things you'd never do with them," Michael said. "I wanted you to have this."
Megan loved her gift. | Source: Unsplash
"Thank you!" whispered Megan.
Her foster dad took the painting and studied it. "Did you paint this?" he asked. "I'm the principal at a high school, and we are looking for an art teacher. I think you should apply for the job!"
Michael did, and he got the job. He also became Megan's best friend. Little by little, he got his life back together. He fell in love with a fellow teacher and married her.
On the day of the wedding (Megan was the flower girl) Michael and his new wife, Rita, told Megan the greatest wish of their hearts: they wanted her to be their little girl forever.
Megan stared at Michael and tears filled her eyes. "You mean you're going to be my dad?" she whispered. "You and Rita want me?"
"Yes," Michael said gently. "If you agree, it will be the best wedding present ever."
Michael became an art teacher. | Source: Pexels
Megan threw her arms around Michael's neck and whispered: "I knew when I first saw you in the cemetery that you were special. I've never forgotten it, now I know why."
Four years after he met Megan at the cemetery, Michael and his wife adopted her. He had a family again and Megan had a loving mom and dad.
Every year on her birthday, Michael paints Megan a picture of her with her mom and dad somewhere they have never been. This year, it's Paris, next year, maybe Greenland, or the Amazon.
Michael makes sure Megan's parents are a part of her life, just like his daughter will forever be a part of his.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a little boy who is worried that his recently deceased father will be afraid of the dark, so he takes a candle to his grave.
This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to email@example.com.
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