ETSU student receives birthday flowers, card from father who died four years ago
A father's final farewell to his daughter is gaining international attention. Bailey Sellers is a student at ETSU. Her father Michael died in 2013, after battling pancreatic cancer.
Before he passed away, he scheduled flowers and a card to be sent to her, every year on her birthday until she turned 21.
She got her last gift this weekend. Bailey posted her dad's message on Twitter. In just a few days, it's gotten more than 1.5 million likes. Now she's sharing this remarkable love story with News 5.
"Bailey, This is my last love letter to you, until we meet again," reads the first line of the letter.
Most 21-year-olds never get a message like this. But most don't have a father like Bailey Seller.
"This is his handwriting," she said. "This is him, part of him."
It's from her dad who passed after battling cancer.
"That was my best friend in the entire world," she said. The family got the devastating news shortly after Christmas, five years ago.
"The doctor came in and said you have Stage 4 pancreatic cancer," Bailey recalled. "I walked out of the room. I couldn't handle it."
Bailey struggled with all sorts of emotions from anger to grief.
"I was expecting him to walk me down the aisle and be there for my first kids," she said.
But instead, Bailey dropped out of high school to take care of him, while her mom worked full time.
He was losing strength and they were losing time together quickly. Michael was given just two weeks to live, but he proved the doctors wrong, living nearly six more months. He died just a month before Bailey's 17th birthday.
That's when his master plan came to light: flowers on the porch with a note from her dad.
"It was like a ghost. I was like this is insane," she remembered. "I felt him there with me. I know that's weird, but that's what I believe."
On the card, he promised to send her a gift every year until she turned 21.
"He knew he wouldn't be there for the biggest years of my life and I think he was just helping me cope with his death," she said.
So year after year, on her birthday, Bailey has been coming home to a bouquet of flowers, knowing in the back of her mind, it wouldn't last forever.
"This is the birthday I've been dreading," Bailey said. "You're not supposed to dread your 21 birthday. It's supposed to be the biggest birthday of your life."
She read one of the most touching lines from this year's card" You are and will always be, my most precious jewel, I was ever given."
She shared those words on Twitter, capturing the attention and hearts of millions. She even got birthday wishes from country stars Cole Swindell and Charles Esten.
Even though her dad isn't here to physically celebrate her birthday, Bailey feels his presence in his words.
"I will still be with you through every milestone. Just look around and there I will be," Bailey read. "That's my favorite line."
Even though her 21st birthday has passed, Bailey said she believes her father has a few more surprises up his sleeves for their family.