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Tears streamed down her face as moments of exhaustion melted away into memories she didn’t even remember she had. “This is ridiculous,” she thought as she continued to stare. Why in the world was she crying? Of course, there were a million answers to that question, as her life up until now had been one season after another of energy draining events. She was tired. She was weary. She was worn. She loved her life, but it had left her tattered and threadbare.

She surprisingly found herself slowly sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk, continuing to stare. I mean obviously this wasn’t hers. She honestly can’t remember anything past the day the fireman handed her the beloved friend that so closely resembled this lost soul laying on the ground before her. This was not her friend from decades ago, but the explosion of familiarity was all hers to own.

The fire, the foster care, the loneliness, the loss, the struggle. She barely could catch her breath. What in the world was happening? Why had this abandoned combination of fabric and stuffing elicited this insane out-of-character public reaction?

She had been quiet and strong and brave. She had never even complained. But now, feeling so much at once spill out from what she thought was already empty—it was time. She reached for her phone and made the call she had almost made a thousand times. This time she dialed. This time her brother answered.

“You don’t remember me,” she began.


Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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