When Dan Peterson’s wife died in March, he felt like he had no purpose in life anymore.
In an interview with CBS, the 82-year-old man from Georgia says that ever since his wife Mary died six months ago, he’s spent his days staring at squirrels out the window and waiting to die. But, that all changed one day at a Publix grocery store in Peterson’s hometown.
He says a little girl passed by him in a shopping cart and reached over and called out to him: “Hi, old person! It’s my birthday today.” Peterson says he was instantly taken back, and then Norah demanded a hug from him.
“That day, I was going through a day of self-pity. I was just feeling sorry for myself,” he told CNN. “But she changed it.”
“She just wanted to make him feel loved and give him a hug,” said Norah Wood’s mom Tara. “And his little lip quivered and he teared up and it was just sweet.”
Since their chance encounter in late December, Norah has been visiting “Mr. Dan” at least once a week.
Peterson, who has adult grandchildren of his own says that Norah’s friendship has quite literally changed his life. “She opened me to a love that I didn’t know existed,” he said.
“If I didn’t have anything else to do the rest of my life, I have her to love.”
Peterson says that since meeting Norah, his restless nights and anxiety accompanied by grief have gone away, and watching Norah grow up is his new purpose.
As for why Norah decided to zero into Peterson on that fateful day in the grocery store, Tara believes that it was more than just pure coincidence.
“I can only assume there was some divine intervention or stars aligning or she was nudged by the universe,” she said.
“I know we’re all better because of it though.”
We hope that Mr. Dan and Norah’s beautiful friendship continues for many years to come.
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[Featured Image Credit: Tara Wood/Facebook]