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Wright Words: Elderly woman sends message to the world: 'Everything happens for a reason'

Published: Tuesday, July 9 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

We discussed a new bakery in town, her friends at the seniors’ center and how much the facility and the people mean to her. We talked about books, history and our shared experiences of falling down the stairs from the second floor to the first. “Just a sprain and a bruise,” she said with relief. “You?”

“I rode my plastic motorcycle down the stairs when I was 4.” I pointed to the scar on the back of my head and she stifled a laugh, but not a smile.

Soon my daughters drove by and pulled over to say hello to their dad and a stranger sitting on a bench. I asked, “Would you mind if my daughter took a picture?”

My beautiful pal laughed and her eyes widened. “Without lipstick?”

Because I know an 89-year-old woman on a fixed income with no car or family nearby has few options, I insisted on giving Pelletier my cellphone number, my wife’s number and my word that if she needed a ride to the doctor, the store or anywhere in between, we’d be there.

Before I left I asked this woman of a thousand stories if she would mind if I shared hers with my readers. After the predictable “no-one-wants-to read-about-me” response, she gave me three things she would want the world to know about a long life well lived.

“We should pray every morning.”

“We should live each day like it’s our last. You never know,” she paused to watch a car pass. “You just never know.”

“And last?” I wondered aloud.

"Like I said," she smiled. "Everything happens for a reason.”

Jason Wright is a New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars," "The Wednesday Letters," and "The 96th Annual Apple Valley Barn Dance." He can be reached at jwright@deseretnews.com or jasonfwright.com.

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