ORANGE, Connecticut (WTNH) – It started with a letter found in a purse in a thrift store in Orange, Connecticut. The letter, written in 2002 by a girl named Courtney, was a tribute to her dying friend named ‘Mr. Chase’, who was 60 years her senior.
Dear Mr. Chase,
I am using my favorite pen to rite you a letter and that is how I think of you. My favorite buddy in the world. I will really miss those days when you would wave to me and smile at me. You were the only person who made a frown go away. to me that was very special. Mr. Chase if I can only say goodbye. I am sorry that you have cancer. Please remember every one and I love you like a father.
The woman who found the note reached out to News 8 via Report-It to help her find Courtney. We launched a search, but could never have anticipated what we would find.
The story was shared thousands of times online, allowing us to find the families, and connect them to the woman who found the note. It was an emotional meeting.
‘Thank you so much,’ said Ann Bonewicz, Courtney’s mother.
‘No, thank you thank you,’ said Maribel Aguilar, the woman who found the note.
Aguilar had hoped to return the note to Courtney, but that was not to be. Courtney herself died shortly after writing it.
“It was bittersweet,” said Aguilar. “It was not what I expected.”
Courtney had been suffering from a lifelong illness when she wrote this letter to her friend Mr. Chase on the very day he died. Five months later, she too was gone.
“They had spiritual souls that just connected on a level that a lot of people wouldn’t understand if they weren’t going through what they were going through,” said Ann Bonewicz, Courtney’s mother.
Neither Courtney’s mother nor Mr. Chase’s widow knew about this letter until now.
“This is so surreal,” said Bonewicz. “Yes it is,” said Maureen Chase.
“When this happened it was like him saying ‘I’m ok, Courtney’s with me, I’m ok,’” said Maureen Chase, Mr. Chase’s widow. “It’s just like it’s a miracle that’s what it is and people don’t believe in miracles, I believe in miracles and that’s what it was.”
Both women see it as a sign their loved ones are united in death – as they were in life. That gives them great peace.
“The night before she passed away she took my hand and said mommy don’t cry I’ll come back and visit you,” said Bonewicz. “And she died the next day.”
“Do you think this is her way of visiting you,” asked News 8’s Ali Reed. “Yes.”
Neither family knows whose purse it is or why the purse was in the thrift store to begin with. What they do know is that they’ve found a lifelong friend in the woman who found the note for them.