A mom couldn’t hold back her tears when she was surprised with a teddy bear containing her late daughter’s voice.
Lauri Wierzbicki, 57, beamed with joy when her late daughter’s friends and work colleagues surprised her with the sweet gift: a bright teddy with a tutu.
Then, as Lauri was encouraged to squeeze the bear’s hand, she heard a familiar voice talking back to her.
It was that of her late daughter, Rachael, who sadly died at the age of 22 in November 2018, when she was shot by her boyfriend.
As soon as Lauri heard Rachael’s voice – a note taken from a voicemail – she began to well up.
Rachael’s voice said: “Mom! Mom! I love you so much! You’re awesome and you’re so great! You’re the best Mom and I love you! K-bye.”
The plan was arranged by Rachael’s colleagues at Duff’s, a restaurant in West Seneca, New York, where she worked.
Rachael’s boyfriend was acquitted of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in a highly publicized case, and, since then, Lauri, from Orchard Park, New York, has been campaigning against domestic abuse.
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A foundation has been set up in Rachael’s name, called the Rachael Warrior Foundation, and by sharing videos such as this, Lauri and others involved hope to draw attention to their message.
Since the shooting, staff from the restaurant where Rachael worked have become an incredible support network for Lauri, helping keep Rachael’s memory alive.
The Build-A-Bear surprise was planned by Rachael’s manager and friend, DeAnna, and took place around Mother’s Day, on May 19, 2019, only to be reshared on TikTok recently.
Lauri now has the bear in her room, she said, with Rachael’s voice ready for whenever she needs it.
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Speaking of the surprise, Lauri said: “It was sort of bittersweet to start – my daughter was gone, but here was DeAnna [Rachael’s friend] and her children saying, ‘Happy Mother’s Day,’ on her behalf.
“As I opened it, I saw the bear and it just seemed to be ‘so Rachael’ and I knew it would carry a special memory for me, the love of her friends, packaged in a little gift of love for me.
“After their prodding to ‘Press the Paw, Press the Paw,’ my heart exploded the second I heard her voice, and it was just pure emotion.
“When I watch the video, the memories really come flooding back to me.”
Extremely sad to hear about your loss, but so happy for you that you can still hear her voice.
What a thoughtful gift for you to have close to your heart ❤️ May your daughter RIP💐 God is Good 🙏