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August 4, 2004 - "A Very Special Person" by Michael Segal
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I don't often get to read a tribute to Mother-in-laws, (I don't know why!) so Mike's story about his mom in law just tickled me! Don't forget to visit Mike's web site, listed after his story!

"A Very Special Person"
by Michael Jordan Segal, M.S.W.

"I don't understand it -- what's so special about him?" Sharon's mother thought.

That was the first impression I made on my soon-to-be girlfriend's mother, Emily, as I slammed the front door leaving Sharon's home. In the next few weeks as I continued to visit my pretty sixteen-year-old girlfriend's house, her mother continued to wonder why Sharon had such a huge crush on me.

That all changed one uneventful Sunday afternoon when I came to Sharon's door with a fifty-cent carnation -- not for Sharon, but for Emily, her mother. Emily "melted" when I gave her that red flower. Now, I could do no wrong. Emily began baking for me, cooking for me, even going shopping with me. (Imagine what Emily would have done if that flower would have been a rose instead of a carnation!)

Sharon and I were constantly together in High School, and whenever I would go to Sharon's home (which was quite often -- practically every day) Emily would be there for me. Sharon and I dated seriously for two years until I went to college (leaving Sharon to complete her High School studies). However, even then, Sharon and I continued to date, with Sharon often visiting me in college in Austin and I often returning home to Houston to visit Sharon (and Emily).

Sharon then became a freshman at the University of Texas, the same school that I was attending. I thought everything was great -- I had a beautiful girlfriend (and her mother was pretty wonderful, too), I was making great grades, and I was on my way to fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon. I thought life was going great!

Then my entire world, and Sharon's, too, came crashing down around us.

Sharon and I were studying late one night when she told me that she had to return to her dormitory. On the way to her dorm I noticed that my gas tank was nearly empty. So I pulled into an all-night convenience store that had some gas pumps in the parking lot. Leaving my car I screamed, "Sharon, I'll be right back after I pay for the gas." Unfortunately, the store was in the midst of a robbery. One of the thieves ordered me to the cooler, forced me down, and coldly shot me in the back of my head with his .38 caliber handgun. He thought he had eliminated the sole witness to his crime; however, obviously he was wrong. (What he did eliminate was my dream of becoming a surgeon.)

After my father received the call from the hospital telling him of my unfortunate injury, he quickly called Emily and briefly explained to her that I had been hurt. He and my mother quickly left Houston to go to Austin, and Emily and Harris (her husband), also drove from Houston to the Austin hospital that evening.
Entering the waiting room, Emily was frantic. She had no idea that I had been shot in the head and she had no idea that Sharon, her precious daughter, had been with me in my car when she received that call from my father. Emily was even more perplexed when the Social Worker gave Sharon some smelling salts. Emily asked Sharon in amazement, "What good would that smelling salt do for you if you faint? You cannot give the smelling salts to yourself if you have already fainted."

However, Sharon calmly remarked, "Mom, the Social Worker gave me the smelling salts for you -- in case you fainted."

That was Emily -- my girlfriend's mother who always had treated me like her own son. Even though Emily had to go through so much loss and pain throughout her own life (including the death of Harris, her husband, who died of a massive heart attack, as well as the anguish of seeing her son, Steve, be diagnosed with cancer and go through a long period of recuperation), Emily has always had room in her heart for me.

Through the love and support of loved ones, like Emily, I did get better. After long rehabilitation, I eventually returned to college, continued to go to therapy, and eventually graduated. Then I married Sharon, my love.

One of the many benefits of being married to Sharon was that I could now call Emily my "mother." So, many years after our first meeting (when Emily questioned what was so special about me), I know one thing for certain: I might not be so special; however my mother-in-law truly is!

2004 by Michael Segal; all rights reserved

Shot in the head as an innocent bystander to a robbery, Michael Segal defied all odds by returning to college, earning two degrees with honors, marrying his high school sweetheart, Sharon, and together they have a daughter, Shawn. Mike is a social worker at Memorial Hermann Hospital, an author, and an inspirational/motovational speaker sharing his recipe for recovery and happiness. Please visit his web site: or call Sterling International Speakers Bureau @ 1-877-226-1003 (toll free in the USA/Canada) for more information.


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The Letter Box:

Dear Sooz...

Thank you for your beautiful story about your Dad and the I Love You Because box. I believe our fathers were like two peas in a pod. My daddy worked so very had to provide for his family and he instilled in his three children a stong work ethic. He owned a small painting and remodeling company and worked right up until April 12th when he went into the hospital with neck and jaw pain.

After 4 major surgery's, countless days in ICU and various other floors of the hospital, our sweet Lord decided my Dad had suffered enough and he took him home early in the morning of July 17th. Everyday since, something I see or hear reminds me of my Dad and what a good, kind man he was. He would have loved to receive notes in a I Love You Because box, and I wish I could have thought of it. I know that your wonderful story will help to change the lives of others. Keep up the great job! I love all the stories and hope to soon join your writing classes. ~ Lesleigh Ann Schaefer

Sooz dear,

Thanks for sharing your "I Love You Because" story about your fine Dad. It gave me some insight into what makes you Y-O-U, because you seem to be a lot like him. And the "I love you because" box is such a good idea that I hope many readers will adopt it into their own family life. At least it causes us to focus on the positive character traits of a person and not the negative. Like my mother always told me, "Emphasize the best, and minimize the rest." Amen to that! Hey, that's a great picture of you and your Dad, and I definitely like the "face-lift" that you've given the 2TheHeart colorful and updated.

Keep up the wonderful work, Sooz. Love you, Sandi, Florida

Dear Susan,
Your writing continues to amaze me! I dare not read one of your stories without a kleenx box in hand. You see it takes more than one tissue to get through a Susan Farr Fahncke story. Girl, I adore your precious soul and your latest story, "I Love You Because...". It touched me deeply. Only 'you' Susan would think of such a great way to express love. Thank you for sharing such an awesome story and inspiring me once again. Melodie Tilander, Oregon

Dear Susan, :>)

Your dad is blessed to have such a daughter like you.

I think the word 'because' is one of the largest proportions in the English language. Perhaps infinite, when mixed with love.

Robert White, Australia

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