We feel the loss of our departed loved ones every day, but special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and holidays tend to make the pain more acute.
That’s why one incredible bride went out of her way to honor her soon-to-be husband’s late brother before they exchanged vows in Rome, Georgia.
Derick Smith has lived most of his adult life without his younger brother by his side. Jake wasn’t even 13 when an accident stole him away, but one good thing came from the tragedy.
When Jake was 10 years old, he told his mom out of the blue that if anything ever happened to him, he wanted his organs to be donated to someone in need. While the request would have been unusual for many children his age, Derick said it was anything but for his little brother. After all, Jake had “the heart of a champion.”
So after the accident, their family honored Jake’s wish by giving his heart to a sick teenager named Gracie Wilkinson.
Knowing just how important Jake is to Derick, his bride Katy led him aside the day of their wedding for a special surprise.
“We said that if we could connect with heaven that you’d have Jake here, and I’d have my dad here,” she said. “I can’t do that, and I don’t have those superpowers, but I have a really special person here.”
As tears fell down Derick’s cheeks, he turned to see Gracie and her mother walking slowly toward him from across the field.
As the two of them embraced, Derick told her, “I’m glad that my brother was able to help you. … I love you. You’ll always be a part of my family.”
That’s when Gracie presented him with a unique gift. The engraved key chain had a quote about the loss of a brother on one side and an etching of Gracie’s EKG on the other. “So that’s really Jake’s heartbeat,” she said.
Just when we thought the scene couldn’t get more emotional, Gracie pulled out a stethoscope so Derick could listen to his brother’s heart beating.
While special occasions can be difficult for those of us who have lost a loved one, they can also be beautiful reminders of the good in the world. We’re sending these families all our love!
Watch Derick and Gracie’s moving encounter in the video below, and share this story with your friends.
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