It’s not just that George Dowling’s late wife liked Christmas; it’s that she “was” Christmas.
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Throughout their 70-year-long marriage, Lucille always went overboard during the holidays. She decorated the house, invited friends and family over, and filled the house with pleasant sights, sounds, and aromas. When she passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2013, all of that joy died with her.
When she passed a few weeks before Christmas, George, a 95-year-old World War II veteran from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, took down all of the decorations and refused to celebrate the holidays at all that year. Every year since, George has felt so sad and lonely during the holiday season that his daughter knew she had to do something to help him get through them.
Suzan Brito is her father’s full-time caretaker. She made a Facebook post about her father and asked everyone to send him a Christmas card, and she was delighted when he received 102 cards!
“My friends, our family, they would send a few every year which he loved,” she said. “Last year it was 14, and he was sad last year. It didn’t carry him through the holiday season.”
This year, she took her efforts up a level. Once again she made a Facebook post, and her daughter also put out the word on TikTok. That post wound up going viral with more than 160,000 views, and the Christmas cards quickly started piling up on George’s doorstep.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Suzan. “I said ‘dad, you have so many grandchildren now, 160,000 of them.’ They’re calling him ‘Grandpa George.'”
The cards come from all over, and George reads every single card with total glee. Once he’s read them, Suzan hangs them up around the house to continuously booster her father’s mood.
“He gets so excited his face lights up,” Suzan said. “As I’m putting up each card, and watching him read them, I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? These people are amazing.”
In addition to cards, George sometimes receives gifts and drawings from children, which he loves.
“It’s remarkable,” George said. “Look at all of them in back of you. She’s got them all over. I read them all. I try to picture what they look like by what they write in the card. Some of the cards have quite the story.”
“It’s just amazing,” Suzan agreed. “These people, I can’t even thank them enough. He gets so sad and this just perks him up. We open the door and there’s a gift on the stairs. It’s just amazing. I can’t even explain it, I can’t describe it.”
So far, George has received an eye-popping 28,535 Christmas cards, and that number keeps on growing by the day. What a beautiful way to lift someone’s spirits and help him reclaim his Christmas spirit!
Share this story to thank each and every person who has sent George a card.
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