It’s Time To Cry: Girl Writes Balloon Letter To Late Dad, Kind Strangers Reply

Since Ashlynn Marracino’s dad died of a brain aneurysm in 2010, the 16-year-old has had a tradition of writing him a letter on his birthday, January 6. This year, she wrote the letter on a star-shaped a balloon, tell him, “You have missed so much and I miss you. And I love you, miss you like crazy!” She updated her dad on what she’s been up and apologized for missing his last phone call before pleading with him to send her a sign: “I don’t like how I never had you in my life. It’s not fair. Show me a sign please. Anything to let me know you’re there. I miss you so much and I want you back.” She sent the balloon up into the sky, where it floated 436 miles before landing the following day in a restaurant parking lot in Auburn, California. When a customer handed the balloon to restaurant owner Lisa Swisley, she knew she was looking at something special. “I noticed there was writing on it and I got very teary-eyed,” she told ABC News. She felt it had come to her for a reason.

Swisley had recently started a “Pay It Forward” Facebook page in her community, and the balloon was a perfect opportunity for her to put it to use. Swisley connected with Ashlynn on Facebook and shared the balloon letter on the Pay It Forward page, asking for contributions. Group members who’d never met Ashlynn sent her countless cards, letters and care packages, many sharing their own experiences with grief. Ashlynn and Swisley have since met via Skype, and Ashlynn asked Swisley to hold onto the balloon in hopes that it would inspire others. Ashlynn told CBS News that this turn of events is her dad’s way of telling her “that he loves me and and let’s not be down or get down on myself.” So sweet.

[ABC News]

[CBS]

[Images via Robin Godfrey/The Today Show]