by Deanna Maria R.

It is difficult enough for loved ones to deal with a family member’s passing when death occurs from natural causes but when it is from a drug overdose, the death can be devastating for those left behind. This was true for Ruth Murray who lost her big brother who struggled with drug addiction and sadly passed away after relapse. Needing to keep her connection to him, Ruth would text her brother’s phone number, realizing while doing so, that he wouldn’t be on the other end.

To her surprise, someone responded, and even though she knew it wasn’t her brother, it still made her stomach drop a little to see his name popup on her phone. Amber Leinweber was the new owner of the phone number that was once Ruth’s brothers. She saw the text Ruth was sending and felt the need to respond, just to make sure the person on the other end, Ruth, knew she wasn’t the true recipient of the message.

Apologetically, Ruth explained to Amber that she continued to text her brother’s former number, just to feel connected to him. Ruth thought, after explaining, Amber would put an immediate stop to it. To Ruth’s surprise, a very gracious Amber, told her not to apologize, understanding completely Ruth’s need to still feel connected to her loved one that passed away so tragically. Amber just wanted to help preserve Ruth’s brother’s memory. Not seeing a world where they had not met, Ruth drove the four hours to Oshkosh to meet up with Amber, who so graciously supported a stranger in need of a connection to a loved one who had recently passed.