As couples everywhere celebrate their love, there will always be some for whom Valentine’s Day is forever tinged with sadness. In 2015, one woman was facing her first February 14 alone after being widowed. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
Breaking her reverie, she went to answer it. And what she found on the other side is sure to melt your heart.
In 1984, Shelly Golay met her future husband, Jim, at church. The couple from Chester, Wyoming, embarked on a fairytale romance that would last 28 years.
The pair got married and enjoyed a honeymoon at Disneyland in California. Shelly gave birth to a son and a daughter, and the four of them settled into family life.
“It was true love,” Shelly explained in an interview with KTLA 5, a Los Angeles television station. “You just don’t find that very often.”
Talking to ABC News, she went on to describe the love of her life. “Jim was just an amazing man. Everybody that ever met him loved him. He was just always my rock. And the whole family’s rock.”
However, Jim and Shelly’s loving relationship was to be tragically cut short. In 2012, Jim was diagnosed with brain cancer. Undaunted, he put up a brave fight.
“He had a strength that was just contagious,” Shelly recalled, “He was tough as nails. When he went through his chemo, he didn’t look like a chemo patient, didn’t act like a chemo patient.”
But despite bravely battling the disease for two years, the family learned that Jim’s cancer was inoperable in February 2014. He was given just four months to live.
In June 2014, Jim passed away, aged 53. Having spent nearly three decades with the man she describes as her knight in shining armor, Shelly was now facing life by herself.
And as February 14 loomed, she began to prepare herself for her first Valentine’s Day alone. But then something incredible happened.
When Shelly answered the door two days before Valentine’s Day, she was surprised to be presented with a beautiful bouquet of roses. The message on the card read “Happy Valentine’s Day Honey. Stay Strong! Yours Forever, Love Jim.”
At first, she thought the flowers were a kind gesture from her children – but both denied any knowledge of sending them. Slowly, a beautiful story started to emerge.
A co-worker suggested that Shelly’s late husband himself might have been responsible for sending the flowers. And when she saw his cellphone number on the back of the card, she finally realized the truth.
Despite being stricken with a terminal illness, Jim had found the time to ensure that his beloved wife would not be without flowers on Valentine’s Day. And the touching gesture didn’t end there.
When Shelly called the florists to find out the story behind the flowers, she was in for another surprise. They told her that not only had Jim arranged for the flowers to be delivered for that year – he had arranged for his wife to receive a bouquet every Valentine’s Day for the rest of her life.
“He had called and set it up before he passed,” florist Jessie Row told KTLA 5, “and what it’s going to be is just every Valentine’s Day, just some of her favorite flowers. Assorted roses, mixed colors, things like that. Every day until she dies.”
Jim’s obvious devotion to his wife brought florist staff to tears. And for Shelly, the gesture confirmed everything she had known about the sort of man her husband was.
“He’s just such an amazing man,” she said, “and he can just love beyond boundaries. Even in death he’s just amazing.”
While Shelly is still heartbroken that her time with Jim was cut short, she feels blessed to have known him. “Even though we didn’t get the fairytale ending,” she admitted, “it was amazing.”