Michael Sellers has been giving his daughter a birthday gift every year, even though he passed away just before her 17th birthday.
On the day of her 17th birthday, a bouquet of red and purple flowers sat on the front porch when Bailey Sellers arrived home. In the bouquet was a note from her father, who had passed away three months ago from pancreatic cancer.
Pink flowers arrived on her 18th, red for her 19th, pink and white for her 20th, and purple for her 21st. Each time a note was included in the arrangement.
As his cancer symptoms grew worse, Michael knew he didn’t have much time left to be with his daughter. That’s when he came up with a plan to have a special moment with his daughter every year on her birthday until she turned 21.
He pre-ordered different arrangements from a local flower shop for each year up to the date of her 21st birthday.
“He wanted to make sure that she knew that she was loved and that he would be there through every milestone,” said his widow, Kristi Sellers. “He wanted to make sure that she understood that he was there.”
Growing up, Michael and his daughter were inseparable. They shared a love for sports, and he was the coach of her basketball team from age 4 to 15. They would often be seen shooting hoops together in the driveway of their home in Maryville, Tennessee.
“They just literally could not spend a day without one another,” said her mother.
For her 21st birthday, his note was a bittersweet final goodbye to his daughter. The note read:
“Bailey, this is my last love letter to you until we meet again. I do not want you to shed another tear for me my Baby girl for I am in a better place. You are and will always be the most precious jewel I was given.
It is your 21st birthday, and I want you to always respect your momma and stay true to yourself. Be happy and live life to the fullest. I will still be with you through every milestone, just look around and there I will be. I love you Boo Boo and Happy Birthday!!!!”
Michael Sellers was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in early 2013. Doctors told him he had only a few weeks left to live, but he managed to live for another six months.
Bailey will never forget the day her father died. He was in a coma for two weeks, and her mother was by his side talking to him. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” she remembered her mother telling her father.
Then she remembered her mother asking him if he was sad because of Bailey. To their amazement, her unconscious father shook his head as a single tear dropped from his closed eye and rolled down his cheek. He died that night.
Tattooed on her wrist, Bailey has one of the notes her father wrote to her, copying his exact handwriting. “I will be watching over you from Heaven.”