A teenager was in the woods when he came across a gentle sound. This slight noise led to nothing short of a shocking, beautiful, and touching turn of events.
Standing in front of Mary Ellen Suey, an elderly Dave Hickman from Wayne County, Tennessee, handed her one pink rose at a time. As he did so, Hickman slowly outlined their history together.
There was not one dry eye in the room. Everyone could feel the intense emotions that came with such a strong connection.
[Left] A teenage Dave Hickman with his grandfather; [Right] To baby Roseann Wayne. │Source: youtube.com/CBS Mornings
A HAUNTING FIND
The events leading up to this day all began in 1955. A 14-year-old Hickman came across a mind-blowing discovery in the wetlands West of Boston. While hunting with his granddad, I remembered:
“I’d been hunting with my grandfather, and I kept hearing a very odd sound. It wasn’t a sound of a baby crying. It was more of a soft cooking sound.”
But, when he went to look for what it was, it turned out to be a baby. The little girl was freezing and was soaking wet with blue lips.
A teenage Dave Hickman with his grandfather. │Source: youtube.com/CBS Mornings
This infant, called Roseann Wayne, ended up in Reid Hospital and was soon adopted by a couple who, shortly after, moved away.
But, before they left, Hickman got to say goodbye to the little one as Roseann slept peacefully in his arms. However, he could never truly let go of her, spending his whole life wondering how and where she was.
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Dave Hickman. │Source: youtube.com/CBS Mornings
WITH A LITTLE HELP
In December of 2013, I asked retired Wayne County Sheriff John Catey if he would help him locate Roseann. Not even a fortnight passed, and the Sheriff gave him a call. Hickman said:
“[Catey] said, ‘Dave, write down this name and this phone number — Mary Ellen Suey and her phone number.’ I said, ‘OK, John, I said, who’s that?’ [He said] ‘That’s your little girl'”
Suey, as her parents had renamed her, then received a call from her hero. She hoped to meet him face to face.
Retired Wayne County Sheriff John Catey. │Source: youtube.com/CBS Mornings
A REUNION FILLED WITH ROSES
So, the two met in 2014, hugging and laughing. After almost six decades, it looked as if they had always known one another.
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Mary Ellen Suey. │Source: youtube.com/CBS Mornings
This was the moment when Hickman held his three pink roses in front of her. Giving her one rose at a time, he said:
“The first rose is for a little baby girl that God let my grandfather and me… find in the woods. The second is for the little baby girl named Roseann Wayne that two angels brought to me to say goodbye.” [to].”
The last rose, he said, was for their reunion and Suey herself. He was in tears — those who surrounded him and his ‘little girl’ gave both of them a round of applause.
Suey has always thought of Hickman as his hero, stating that their meeting may not have been possible had he not found her that day in the woods. She said:
“Right now, I’m just kind of numb. I’m just so excited to finally meet him. It’s just so nice to meet him and give him a hug, and thank him for what he did. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here.”
While these two may not have connected over a lifetime, they remain soulmates in that they changed each other’s lives forever.
LETTING GO IN THE NAME OF LOVE
It’s always difficult to let go of someone we cherish and love — Hickman himself couldn’t stop thinking about the baby girl he saved 58 years ago.
So, imagine what it would be like if you had to say goodbye to your own child for decades? One mother, Kelly Gallant, had to do this.
Unemployed and living in poverty, she thought it would be best to give up her youngest child for adoption, even though it broke her heart.
For just over two decades, she walked around with a hole in her chest where her daughter should have been.
But, as she grew older, Gallant’s biological daughter Carrie began looking for her. While it was not easy feat, they finally reunited with the help of social media.
These stories are perfect examples of how, if you don’t give up on the ones you love, you will always find your way back together somehow.