Macy Mathis gave her mother, Cindy, an unforgettable birthday present last year. Macy wrote 25 letters to her mom that were intended to cheer up Cindy in a variety of ways. Macy sealed the letters and wrote instructions on each one, like “Open when you can’t sleep” or “Open when you need to know how much I love you.”

The gift was extremely thoughtful, especially considering that Macy was just 16 years old. She loved her mother dearly and wanted to make sure beyond a doubt that Cindy knew it.

Last November, Macy and her boyfriend, Adam Sattler, died in a car accident near Mathis’s home in Tifton, Georgia. Cindy was stunned and turned to the box of letters for comfort.

In particular, there was one labeled “Open when you miss me.” The letter was strangely prescient, even though it was clearly intended for the future when Macy may have moved away. It’s filled with vivid memories and overflowing with love for her mother.

The letter reads, “I’m sorry that you’re missing me. I hope that wherever you are or whatever you’re doing you’re okay. I’m probably missing you too. I honestly don’t like being away from the house for too long. I get homesick pretty easily. When I was little and lived with Dad, I would look forward to being with you. I think some of it was because you always had good food at your house, but most of it was because I just missed you so much. I will always and forever love you, Mommy. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”

Cindy had a rough childhood and life didn’t always come easily. She lived in foster care at times and on the streets at others. Her proudest achievement was her daughter. Macy reflected that pride right back to Cindy. Macy wrote her mom a poem in the seventh grade that ended with the line, “I’m proud to call her my mom.”

After the story of Macy’s letters was heard around the world, Cindy got messages from children wanting to copy Macy’s idea. Cindy not only gives her blessing, but tells them, “Please, I am begging you, do this for your parents too. When they are grown up and gone, their parents will want to know how they feel. I would not take back Macy’s letters for anything in the world.”

Macy’s story demonstrates how quickly someone you love can be gone. It also shows the importance of telling people that you love them.

Cindy told TODAY, “I did feel lonely when she left me. We’d talk about her moving to New York with Adam or living the good life, moving away and leaving, but not like this. I feel like she knew. Maybe deep down, she knew, or maybe God told her.”

However Macy got the idea, they are a blessing for Cindy. Many of them seem to specifically address Cindy’s current situation. She would no doubt trade the letters in a heartbeat if she could have Macy back, but for nothing else.

They are the written display of a daughter’s love, admiration, and encouragement for her mother. They could have only been written by someone who was wise beyond her years. Everyone could take a lesson from this loving daughter.