A Florida mother still mourning the sudden loss of her son, found comfort on Mother's Day in a message from him.
It was a heartfelt lost letter.
"I didn't get to see him so..."
Shirley Lepage hates she never had a chance to say goodbye to her beloved son, Rick. The oldest of her six kids didn't die in combat, but from complications from cancer. His death at the age of 44 was sudden.
"I think he knew that he was not here for long...and he worked very hard at making memories."
Lepage says proof of that? When Rick graduated from boot camp at the age of 19, he sent her a framed picture of himself. Nearly two decades went by before a family member tried to have a copy made of it. When the frame came apart, a letter was discovered inside from Rick to his mother.
"Rick was the type of person who loved surprises."
Lepage had long prayed for a sign that her son was okay and in a better place. She says this letter was an answer to her prayer...in her son's own handwriting.
"Thank you for support and loving me through the years and for helping me be what I am today - an American fighting man."
Lepage now has a message for other grieving mothers...
"There's just no way to describe what it's like to lose a child but there is a better place they go. I know it."