On a more personal note: A Story Of Return After Loss

The Incredibly Way This Journal Was Returned To Me

Almost a decade ago my life was very different than it is today. I was married to another man and desperately unhappy. When the ultimate end happened and we separated I was forced into putting almost all of my personal effects into storage, and because of the frantic nature of our separation I had to put everything in boxes for a undetermined amount of time. I had about 28 days to find a new home for me and my beloved cat Sebastian which was 190 miles and 3 hours from where I was currently living. To say I was under a time deadline is a understatement.

In addition to having to find and coordinate storage for the items I would not be taking I had to decide what was important to keep with me. I was downgrading, going from 900 sq.ft to less than a single bedroom that would fit my queen size bed and a dresser. I decided to keep my yearbooks with me (my nostalgic nature would not let me pack them away), only a couple of my handmade scrapbooks, my childhood dresser (my Grandmother Shirley bought it when I was only a baby, and it was battered and beaten but still used with love each day), limited crafting items and the personal clothes and toiletries I would need: All else was, sadly, storage bound.

I meticulously labeled each box with love and an inventory of contents so that I would be able to retrieve items as needed. Due to situation’s out of my control, I became unable to pay for my storage units. The manager at the first storage said they would get the personal effects from the buyer but I never received any information to that effect so I sadly realized that my prized memories were landfill bound.

Flash forward to November 28, 2014 (almost 5 years after the storage unit sale) and I checked my “other” folder on Facebook and saw a message from someone I had never met or knew.

The message said the following with the picture of a book page attached – ” Is this you?  My mom found this photo album at a thrift shop and would like to return it if you are the owner“. Honestly, I did not need to even expand the photo, I knew what it was!

The item was a book that was my birthday gift for my 20th birthday back in 1995. The book was filled with pictures and memories of my early life including photos, birth announcement and hand written memories. This was a book that I long thought entered the landfill and would never see again.

I contacted the sender and basically said “YES!!!! Yes it is mine“, I included my address so that she could send it back to me. I also included the following message:

Thank you so much!!! I can never say thank you enough! I lost ALOT of personal items about 6 years ago in my 1st divorce and this means so much to me!!! I would love to send your mom a personal thank you – I am beyond words floored that you would take the time to reach out to me to find its owner!

Turns out that the message senders mother had purchased the book at a thrift store about 2 years prior, with the intention of finding its owner.

I am amazed by this, that the randomness of a stranger picking up this book some 3-4 years after I had lost it, and purchasing it with the intention to return it.

The best part is the book is 100% intact, all my photos and my memories are exactly how I remember them – even some stuff in there that I forgot about (my birth announcement and class photos).

If one did not know any better you would never know that it was lost for so many years! I often think of that random message and the kindness that was contained therein!

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Have you ever had a random act of kindness effect you, or have you been part of  random act of kindness? Tell me below!

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10 thoughts on “On a more personal note: A Story Of Return After Loss

  1. Anonymous

    You made out better than me. When my marriage ended, I lost EVERYTHING. I’d had over 1,000 books, lots of LPs, very treasured pictures that can never be replaced. Everything gone, all gone. All the memories of my childhood, class photos, little keepsakes…lost forever.

    Reply
  2. Christy Peeples DuBois

    I don’t think I’ve ever had one of this magnitude. I say of this magnitude becsuse I lost so many items during my divorce years ago. The majority of the “things” didn’t bother me to lose. It was the personal sentimental items about my daughters that bothered me because their dad didn’t keep them or care about them.
    This is truly amazing and I’m sincerely happy this was returned to you.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Post author

      I was so thrilled to get this back! Sadly I lost many items I had saved from my childhood.

      They never tell you about that part of divorce – it just kinda happens that you lose your memories.

      Reply
  3. Ellen Beck

    Actually yes! My husband and I love auctions and have bought storage units. I know it has been somewhat ‘glamorized’ by the show Storage Unit Wars. What they do not show is the amount of personal belongings that are sometimes there. We have made it a point to always find the owner if possible and see if they want the personal items as it isnt something we need or want.
    There was one particular instance we bought a unit, and it turned out one daughter had control of her Moms things and another daghter was out of town. The unti had been abandoned. I collected all of the pictures/papers etc and returned them in a Burger King parking lot about an hour away. The lady cried and I felt so bad she had missed these memories for so long. Another, unti abandoned and it hadnt been touched in many years.. in it were war medals from Vietnam. Theman we returned this all to had lost his Dad in Vietnam, and he broke down when he saw someone cared enough to return it all.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Post author

      My husband and I have talked about purchasing units, I know I would try to return the items to people if I could.

      I might have cried when I got my book back! It was amazing!

      Reply
  4. susan byrne

    OMG, this story really hit home to me. Two months ago I separated from my husband. We were together for 11 years, our 8 year anniversary was two days ago. I’m boxing up my home to move back home for the first time in 20 years and bring two cats with me. I’m so thankful that I have my parents to count on because I’m on disability and I don’t know what I would do without them. I haven’t yet had to get a storage unit; but I have donated a lot to the Salvation Army because there is no way a whole house can fit in their basement. I live about 2 1/2 miles away from mom and dad so that’s good too.

    Reply

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