"If you see your grandmother – my mother – give her a big hug from all of us," the father broke down and said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 6, 2020. It has since been updated.
When we lose a loved one, we try our best to hold on to every little thing that they had left behind. While it does make us feel their presence, it also makes us miss them dearly. But when they gift something, particularly to you, the pain intensifies every time you look at it.
A bereaved father from Australia broke down to bits during the funeral of his beloved daughter while reading the last letter she had written for him. His moving speech for her and the letter she wrote left everyone in attendance wet-eyed.
Lauren Brownlee tragically passed away after a freak lightning accident in Melbourne, Australia. Before she left her hometown for Melbourne years ago, she had left the letter for her father, which he read again amid grieving family and friends at her funeral.
The note thanked him for raising her and said she was excited about returning home for Christmas. "This letter was pretty much to say thank you for … being the best dad possible. I love you with all my heart," the letter ended, according to The Age. The letter also said that she was excited to see them at Christmas.
"It got the better of me, got under my skin, that she has appreciated everything," Mr. Brownlee said. Her funeral was attended by close friends and family who shared their memories of her and grief. She was known to be a bubbly girl with a kind heart. To commemorate her optimism and bubbliness, her coffin was painted in bright colors, reports Mail Online.
Lauren had been watching a freak thunderstorm in Sunset Drive in Chirnside Park in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs with her boyfriend Ben Hollow on November 24 when they were tragically struck by lightning and later succumbed to her injuries, reports The Age.
A passer-by named Brandon Cleine spotted them lying on the road and quickly acted. He spent some time performing CPR on Lauren but in vain. "I was just hoping that she stayed alive..." said Cleine. "And I was just screaming at the lady on the phone like 'Please just get emergency services here as quick as possible. These guys are in desperate need.'"
"It's tragic. I can still picture her lying on the ground, I can still see Ben lying on the ground. I can still see her face. I'll never get that face out of my mind," he recalled. While Ben did survive, he had some serious injuries. He attended the funeral in a wheelchair with an injured body and a broken heart.
Talking about their relationship, sister Aylah Brownlee said, "He was ever so caring and supportive. She added, "He was always trying to make all her wishes come true … They were the A team."
She went on to say, "I told her recently how proud I was of her," Aylah said. "She always wanted to move home." She explained, "She believed life should be built with memories and experiences, not objects," Aylah said. "She always put people above herself."
While it was a heartbreaking and emotional affair, it was Lauren's father Glenn Brownlee who left the gathering distraught with the following statement.
He said he wasn't a religious man, but he hoped his daughter was looking down on them from above. "If you see your grandmother – my mother – give her a big hug from all of us," he said.