A Reddit user recently turned 30 and received a card from his father, like most people do on their birthdays. The only difference: this person’s father died 16 years ago.
User ChrisBenRoy posted a photo of the card to /r/pics late Tuesday night, and it’s garnered 4,000 upvotes and almost 2,000 comments in less than 24 hours.
The card Reddit user ChrisBenRoy’s father left for him.
Signed with a simple “Love Ya Dad,” the user’s father had prepared the card before he died in 1999, according to Reddit.
His son had no idea.
“My father passed away from liver/lung cancer in 1999 after battling it for a year and a half,” ChrisBenRoy explained on Reddit. “After so much chemo and medication, he just couldn’t take that quality of life anymore and realized it was his time to go. I assume at that point he bought cards for my brother and I’s milestone birthdays.”
ChrisBenRoy’s mother saved the card for the past 16 years and gave it to him on his birthday. She did the same for his 13th, 20th, 21st, and 25th birthdays, and on the day he got his driver’s license. Since it had been five years since his last card, ChrisBenRoy had nearly forgotten about the tradition and seeing the card brought the Redditor to tears, he wrote.
“It caught me totally off guard and made me so very happy,” he wrote on Reddit. “It felt like he was still there, holding something I’d never seen before that he touched, and signed himself, it was [as] if he had just done it yesterday.”
Even though the signature was short, ChrisBenRoy is still touched and guesses that his father was very sick at the time he wrote it and may not have been able to manage much else.
There was an immediate outpouring of support from Reddit. Numerous users told ChrisBenRoy how much the card affected them, with some even sharing their own stories of late parents leaving behind mementos for their children.
“Dad had a graduation and wedding gift for me,” Redditor sjgw137 wrote. “It was completely emotional. I wear the pearls he had set up for graduation whenever I miss him. Don’t care if it’s a jeans [and] t-shirt day, the pearls are on.”
“My dad did something pretty similar,” jugglinglimes wrote. “I was in college when he passed away from lung cancer. Similar to your dad, [he] had rounds of chemo and radiation, but knew it just wasn’t working. My brother was in med school at the time. He was a first year and I was a sophomore. He actually got us both graduation cards and frames for our diplomas to use when we graduated. Was a pretty awesome feeling to get to use that frame.”
As for ChrisBenRoy, he wonders if his dad had anything planned for his 40th birthday or any other major milestones, too, and agrees with Reddit that his father was awesome.
“So awesome in fact, he found a way to still be an awesome father 16 years after he died,” he said.
You can see the original Reddit post here.