MIAMI (CBSNews) — A family down on their luck got a welcomed surprise just in time for the holidays.
A treasured item from a lost loved one turns up for sale in a store while on a random shopping trip.
Sisters Caroline and Christina Cullen were just 4 and 5 years old when their single mom passed away. The girls, along with their two teen siblings, went to live with their grandmother.
“My grandmother, at that point, was alone in her 60’s,” said Caroline Cullen.
“Her daughter had died, our mother, and her husband had died, who was in World War II. He survived and then got killed by a drunk driver in Miami.”
The ladies say they saved each other. Left with holes in their hearts, they turned to each other to fill the emptiness.
“She had this whole new life again for the next 20-30 years, children, teenagers, the whole nine,” said Caroline.
But in 2012, at the age of 98, the girls bid farewell to the woman who was their grandmother, but also played the role of mother, father and friend.
The family hit rough times, seeing financial problems and even homelessness.
That year, Christina also had her car repossessed. Inside was her grandmother’s 70-year-old wedding photo, one of the few pictures they had of her. Christina couldn’t afford to pay for the car and lost everything in it, devastating her and the family.
But then, just this week, she got a surprise phone call.
“A couple of days ago, my daughter called me from the Salvation Army and lets me know she just found my grandmother’s picture for sale,” said Christina.
“For like point-two seconds, I thought that looks really familiar,” said Christina’s daughter Gianna Morin. “Then I said, Oh my god, that’s my grandma.”
The last time Gianna saw the photo, she was just 9 years old.
“I’m always, like, secretly asking for signs, for her to give me a sign that she’s around and she’s watching over us,” Christina cried.
And it worked.
“She found us and she said ‘Merry Christmas’ and let us know she’s there and that she loves us and she’s all around us,” Caroline said with a smile.
The ladies said they definitely feel blessed and will have something extra special to celebrate on Christmas this year.