VIRGINIA (NBC News/TODAY) — A video of a Virginia woman opening love letters from her recently deceased husband is bringing people to tears.
Lauren Alexis Shackleford, who filmed the now-viral Christmas surprise, said it was the first time she had ever seen her grandmother cry.
“Ever since my grandfather passed away, she’s been the one trying to comfort us,” Shackleford told TODAY.
But Barbara Shackleford, who lost her high school sweetheart in May, couldn’t contain her emotions as she sifted through the contents of an engraved silver box on Wednesday.
“My grandpa passed 7 months ago so this is my grandma’s 1st Xmas w/o him in 59 years,” Shackleford, 22, wrote on Twitter. “For Christmas we decided to gift her w/ letters we found her & my grandpa wrote to each other in 1962 while they were in college. He kept them all these years.”
In the clip, that has more than 1 million likes, Barbara Shackleford breaks down when she sees the envelopes addressed in her late husband Robert Shackleford Jr.’s handwriting.
“She had no idea he kept the letters and it really brought back a lot of memories of her early years loving him,” Shackleford, a seventh grade English teacher, told TODAY. “She said it was the best gift she could have asked for.”
Shackleford’s video is resonating with thousands of others who are mourning the loss of a loved one this holiday season.
“The four years I was in college, my dad wrote a 3×5 index card and mailed to me every work day…every single one. The most treasured possession I have now that he is gone,” wrote one person.
Added another, “As a widow, I can honestly say it is heart-stopping — almost jarring — to see my late husband’s handwriting, especially if I’m not expecting it. This gift is touching beyond words. So glad to see her surrounded by loving family.”