Martin & Lisa

Martin was 90, and after a stroke, he moved in with his granddaughter Sarah and her 14-year -old daughter, Lisa.
At first, Lisa would try to talk to him, but Martin was so ashamed at his inability to speak clearly that he would only respond with grunts and gestures. She wanted to teach him to type notes on a computer, but he wouldn't even try.
One evening, Lisa came to his room. She said she wanted to say boodbye, that she was pregnant from a boy who didn't love her, was desperately miserable and that she intended to kill herself that evening. He tried to say no, no. But she just kissed him on the cheek and went to her room.
Martin went to the computer and struggled to type a note, letter by letter. When he finished, he pushed over a TV in his room to attract Lisa's attention and he fell hard in the process. Lisa came running and called an ambulance.
After Martin was taken to the hospital, she noticed something on the computer screen. There were lots of typos, but this is what he wrote:
"I do not speak because I cannot talk, not because I cannot think or feel. I feel helpless and used up and ashamed to be so useless. I gave up living and now you are giving up, too. But your life is not hopeless. Maybe I'm not useless. You are smart and tender and loving. Your face is pretty but your soul is beautiful. You are a wonderful gift to the world. Do not waste it because you are impatient that you have not yet found someone to appreciate you. It will happen. You must live so you can love and if you love you will live."
He died that night.
Lisa didn't.

from Character Counts - Michael Josephson

For more like this, go to
Click on "Face Value of Smiles"