Grandma Who Sent Accidental Thanksgiving Text To Stranger Said This Year Was ‘Joyful’ Despite Loss Of Husband
Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton celebrated their fifth Thanksgiving together this year, but it was the first without her husband, Lonnie.
Lonnie sadly passed away in April from complications caused by coronavirus.
‘I wasn’t looking forward to it at first because Lonnie wasn’t going to be there. The past seven months have been so difficult, but this was really important to me,’ Wanda said.
Wanda and Jamal decided to keep up their tradition and celebrate in honour of Lonnie.
‘It was a joyful day, with good food and my favourite company,’ she told CNN. ‘We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us,’ she added.
Also present for their early Thanksgiving dinner were Jamal’s girlfriend and Wanda’s daughter and grandson.
They told CNN they had decided to celebrate early so they could get tested for coronavirus before celebrating with their own families, so they don’t risk spreading the virus.
At first it was sad. We had a photo of Lonnie at the table with a candle lit, and we were all shaky in the beginning but it lasted five minutes before we were back to ourselves. We just told jokes and stories and shared our memories of Lonnie, so it was amazing.
Both Wanda and Lonnie, who had been married for 41 years, began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 earlier this year. But while Wanda’s health went on to improve, Lonnie’s condition sadly deteriorated, and he passed on April 5.
‘I didn’t believe I would have to go home without him,’ Wanda said. ‘Even when he was in the hospital, I thought he would get better and come back to me. He was my soul mate. He was my biggest cheerleader.’
Wanda and Jamal have spent every Thanksgiving together since 2016, when the 63-year-old accidentally texted the teenager instead of her grandson, inviting him round for dinner.
Jamal, confused that someone was claiming to be his grandmother, asked for a picture. Wanda sent back a smiling selfie.
‘You not my grandma’, Jamal wrote back, ‘Can I still get a plate tho?’
‘Of course you can,’ she replied. ‘That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone!’
Since spending that first Thanksgiving together, their story went viral and users have enjoyed seeing pictures of their celebration together every year.
‘It all has to do with this feeling. There’s just this connection. It feels like we’ve known each other in past lives,’ Wanda said. ‘There’s absolutely no generational gap between us. The conversation just flows, we never run out of things to talk about.’
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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