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Stranger Gives Girl His Late Daughter's Soft Toy, Years Later He Returns and Rips It – Story of the Day

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By Manuela Cardiga
Jul 24, 2022
07:40 A.M.

A grieving man gives a little girl his deceased daughter's favorite soft toy. Years later, he returns and gives her another gift.

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Harlan Jones felt so angry, so helpless, and so hopeless. He had always been in control of himself and his life, but now he knew it was all an illusion. He controlled nothing.

His daughter, Amy, died at age 8 in a senseless accident. His wife insisted they had to move on and focus on their remaining child. She had dismantled Amy's room and given away her toys except one.

Harlan held in his hands a soft toy, Amy's favorite. A big threadbare bunny she'd named Clarence. Harlan buried his face in Clarence's soft body, stifling his sobs.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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The toy still smelled like Amy. Harlan couldn't throw the toy away. It would be as if he denied Amy's existence. He couldn't do that. He wouldn't do that. "Clarence," he said softly. "I miss her too..."

Our loved ones live on in our hearts and our memories.

He was sitting on the curb outside his house, holding Clarence, waiting for some sign. That was when he saw Tammy running up the drive to the house next door.

He knew about Tammy even though he'd never spoken to her. She had been in Amy's class at school. Harlan looked at Clarence, and suddenly he knew what to do.

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He walked up to Tammy's door and rang the bell. A woman answered the door. "Hello," Harlan said. "Could I speak to your daughter?"

"My daughter?" asked the woman, frowning. "What do you want with my daughter."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Harlan held out Clarence. "This was my daughter's," he said. "She and Tammy were friends..."

"Oh!" the woman gasped. "Your little girl...was she? The accident?"

"Yes," Harlan said.

The woman nodded awkwardly. "I'm so sorry for your loss," she said. Then she turned and called for Tammy. The woman stood there watching while Harlan spoke to her daughter.

"Hello, Tammy," Harlan said. "I know you were a friend of Amy's, and I want to ask you a favor. Would you look after Clarence?"

"Clarence," Tammy asked. "Is that Amy's bunny?"

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"Yes," Harlan said. "The thing is, I need to find him a good home. Do you think you could look after him? He was precious to Amy, and I know she'd like a friend to take care of him."

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"I'll look after him," Tammy said. "I promise I'll keep him forever and ever."

Harlan smiled. "OK," he said. "I tell you what; I'll come back one day and visit Clarence!"

Tammy hugged Clarence, and because Harlan looked so lost and sad, she hugged him too. It would be nearly ten years before Tammy saw Harlan Jones again.

Tammy was now a senior in high school and one of the prettiest girls at her school. She's changed a lot. She was a young woman now, and she'd be in college in a year.

Tammy was getting ready to go out on a Saturday night when someone rang the doorbell. She yelled down the stairs, "Mom! It's Wesley! Tell him I'm nearly ready."

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

She heard the murmur of voices downstairs, and it didn't sound like Wesley. Tammy ran downstairs, and Harlan was standing in the hall talking to her mom.

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"You're Amy's dad!" she cried.

Harlan turned and smiled. "Yes, I am," he replied. "And you've grown up! Do you still have Clarence?"

Tammy smiled. "Of course!" she said. "Clarence is precious to me. He reminds me of Amy. I told my mother I'm taking him to college."

"Maybe not..." Harlan said. "Could I see him?"

Tammy hesitated. "Are you going to take him away?" she asked sadly. "I'll miss him." But she went upstairs, got Clarence, and reluctantly handed him over to Harlan.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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To her horror, Harlan took a penknife out of his pocket and slit open Clarence's fat tummy. "Stop!" she cried. "Please..."

Harlan started rummaging in Clarence's body, and pieces of stuffing fell out. "There!" he said triumphantly. He held up something that glittered.

"This is for you, Tammy," Harlan said. "It was my mother's, and she gave it to me for Amy when she grew up. You took such good care of Clarence that I know you will cherish it."

Harlan was holding a delicate gold chain, and swinging at the end of it was a beautiful diamond pendant. "Please accept it, Tammy," he said. "It would make me very happy."

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"Are you sure?" asked Tammy. "It's so precious!!"

"I was lost after Amy died," Harlan said. "It felt like all my wife wanted to do was forget, but I couldn't. It took me a long time to deal with Amy's loss. It helped to think you had Clarence. That you remembered Amy too.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"It would make me happy to know that you were wearing this pendant, that you are happy and living a wonderful life."

Tammy's eyes were filled with tears. "Thank you for trusting me with such a precious memory," she said with tears in her eyes. "I'll wear it all my life in honor of Amy."

Many years later, Tammy had a little girl. She wrote to Harlan and sent him a photo of the baby. Written on the back were the words: "I named her Amy."

What can we learn from this story?

  • Our loved ones live on in our hearts and our memories. Thanks to Harlan and Tammy, Amy lived on and was remembered.
  • Everyone processes grief differently. Harlan and his wife dealt with Amy's death in very different ways. She needed to move on, and he needed to work through his memories.
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Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman dealing with her young daughter's death who packs her clothes and toys and brings them to a group home. There she meets a child who changes her life.

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 info@amomama.com.

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