Little Norah Wood has a huge heart for the elderly. It comes as no surprise that for her fourth birthday, she not only received the friendship of a 82-year-old widower, she initiated it.
Here is the touching story as told by Norah’s mother:
The day before my daughter Norah’s fourth birthday, she foreshadowed a remarkable event.
I’d just picked her up from preschool when she cautioned me to mind the elderly person walking across the parking lot at a glacier’s pace.
She went on to explain that she has a soft spot for mature folks: “I like old peoples the best ‘cos they walk slow like I walk slow and they has soft skin like I has soft skin. They all gonna die soon so I’m gonna love ‘em all up before they is died.”
Sure, it got kinda weird and dark at the the end there, but I liked where her heart was. I was struck by her thoughtfulness and empathy and posted that quote as a status update on Facebook when we got home. I had no idea how much she really meant it.
Later that night, I received a private message from a local reader who recognized Mr. Dan. His wife, Mary, had passed away in March, and he had been lonely since his beloved had gone. She wanted to let me know that she was certain his heart was touched by my little girl — that he needed it and it likely would never forget it. I asked for his phone number and called him a few days later.
We made a visit to Mr. Dan’s cozy and tidy house — reminders of Mary still proudly displayed everywhere you look. He had gotten a haircut, shaved, and was wearing slacks and dress shoes. He looked ten years younger.
He’d set out a child’s table, blank paper, and crayons out for Norah. He asked if she’d draw some pictures for him to display on his refrigerator. She happily agreed and went right to work.
We ended up spending nearly three hours with Mr. Dan that day. He was patient and kind with my talkative, constantly moving girl. He wiped ketchup off of her cheek and let her finish his chicken nuggets.
As we walked him to his front door after lunch, he pulled out a pocket knife and cut the single red rose blooming by his porch. He spent ten minutes cutting every thorn off of the stem before handing it to his new friend. She keeps that rose, now dry as a bone, in a Ziploc bag under her pillow.
Norah asks about Mr. Dan every day. She worries about him. She wonders if he’s lonely, or cold, or has cheese for his sandwiches. She wants him to be okay. She wants him to feel loved. Mr. Dan thinks about Norah, too. After another recent visit, he relayed that he hadn’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep since his wife died. He told me that he has slept soundly every night since meeting my girl.
“‘Norah has healed me,’ he said.
That left me speechless and my cheeks wet with tears.
Seventy-eight years separate, these two people in age. Somehow, their hearts and souls seem to recognize each other from long ago.
Norah and I have made a promise to see Mr. Dan every week — even if it’s only for fifteen minutes, even if only for a quick hug and to drop off a cheese danish (his favorite!).
It’s no wonder this incredible story is touching hearts all over the world. I’m so happy Mr. Dan and Norah have found one another, and here’s to many more years of friendship.
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