Losing a loved one is tough. Whether you knew then your whole life or got taken away too soon, the pain you feel is never-ending. But in rare instances, a kind gesture from a loved one, a friend, or a perfect stranger can lessen that pain. Just ask this family who received an unexpected act of compassion from another mourner.
For 16 years, Staff Sergeant Joseph Villasenor served honorably in the United States Air Force, since he enlisted in 1994. He also pitched for the Charleston Air Force Base’s softball league, which was his favorite sport. For Villasenor, it was a dream come true. But in 2010, the most unimaginable thing happened on his way to a game.
36-year-old Sergeant Villasenor was killed in a car crash. As an Arlington, Texas native, his body was interred in Conroe, Texas at Garden Park Cemetery. He left behind a grieving wife and two loving parents, Raymond and Rachel. But one day, when his folks went to visit him, they saw something shocking in his grave, and it was all because of a kind widower.
86-year-old Jake Reissig lost his wife, Betty, of 65 years back in 2014. They had a fairytale life and nine children together. But after she died, the Conroe resident started a routine that he continues to do to this day. Fortunately, it also helped change another family in mourning’s life in ways he couldn’t have foreseen.
Since his wife’s death, Jake starts off each morning by going to church. Then he meets one of his kids for coffee before going back home. While he’s there, he clips a few roses from his beautiful garden and then heads to pay his wife a visit at Garden Park Cemetery. He also makes sure to water Betty’s headstone before leaving her the roses. But regardless of the time of year, he never strays from this routine. But why does he do this?
Jake is such a romantic! Throughout their 65-year marriage, he gave Betty a rose every day. But death has no dominion over love, so he continues to give her a rose. On occasion, he’ll also talk to his wife, whom he misses very much. But in 2015, something caused him to change his routine by adding one more task.
A terrible drought hit Texas in the summer of 2015. This caused the grass in the cemetery to turn yellow and dry up. But Jake decided to do something about it by watering the grass around his wife’s grave. Eventually, his dedication paid off and the grass turned green again. Then one day, as he wrapped up his routine, he noticed something that deeply affected his heart.
Jake noticed a woman crying uncontrollably by a nearby headstone, which broke his heart. So, he decided to walk up to her to see if he could calm her down. Pretty soon, they began talking, and she spoke to him about her husband Joseph, who had been dead for five years. Somehow, talking to Jake relieved some of her grief. What he didn’t realize was how much more his conversation did for her.
Several months later, Raymond and Rachel went to visit Joseph’s Grave at Garden Park Cemetery. But they couldn’t believe their eyes. While all the other graves were covered with dead grass, the grass on their son’s plot was green and lively. But the grieving parents had no idea how this had happened, and they assumed it was some kind of amazing miracle.
Jake walked up to Joseph’s bewildered parents and explained to them how he’d spoken to their daughter-in-law a few months earlier. He also told them about his daily routine and how he decided to do the same for Joseph’s grave. Jake felt that it was the least he could do for a man who served his country. Raymond and Rachel didn’t realize that Jake had lost someone in the armed forces too.
Jake’s daughter, Misha, was married to a U.S. veteran named Benjamin. But after being deployed, Ben learned he had cancer. Sadly, despite undergoing chemo, his son-in-law passed away in 2011. Misha has since remarried and now has two children, but the entire family still keeps Benjamin close to their heart. So, Jake totally sympathized with Raymond and Rachel’s family in such a painful, but special way.
Jake’s extraordinary gesture touched Raymond and Rachel, but they had an idea how to thank him, so instead, they gave him a big hug. Rachel couldn’t believe that a stranger who had never met her son took the time to care for her son’s plot. What Rachel didn’t realize was that Joseph and Jake weren’t strangers at all. But how was that possible?
Now Jake has two people to talk to when he visits the cemetery; his wife Betty, and Joseph, whom he calls Joe. Of course, this is just the kind of guy he is, according to Jake’s son, Roger, who claims his dad’s affection for Joe is similar to the way he treated his wife and kids. But Roger wanted to make sure his dad’s gesture went viral.
Roger decided to share his father’s story on Facebook. Not only did he thank Joseph for his service to our country, but also expressed pride in his dad for honoring him the way he does. Of course, Roger knows how important family is and how quickly someone can be get taken away. In fact, he had a recent scare with one of his own kids.
Last month, three armed robbers burst into a jewelry store in Conroe, Texas, where Roger’s daughter, Shae, works. Fortunately, it was Shae’s day off, but Roger knows how badly things could have turned out if she had been there. Jake understood his son’s fears because he has a strong bond with all his grandkids. In return, they have a leading example of what true love is like in their grandparents, as this photo totally proves.
Diane, who’s one of Jake’s daughters, posted a photo of her parents’ 6th wedding anniversary. She also wrote that her parents “are still married… Mon just lives in heaven.” Clearly, anyone who’s ever met this family can appreciate that what Jake and Betty had was everlasting love.