Imagine finding an undelivered, handwritten letter amongst your loved one’s possessions after they’ve passed away. Such is the case of Maureen Stinson who passed away on January 31, 2021. Her daughter, Melissa Zeinert, was going through her personal items when she came across the last letter her mother ever wrote addressed to a man named Luis. Melissa, who lives in Cameron, drove to Pleasanton to collect her mother’s belongings from The Heights nursing home. Amongst some Christmas cards, she found the letter as well as a card signed by Luis.
The letter read, “Dear Luis, Thank you for the pretty ornament. I will treasure it always. You are extremely thoughtful. I love my little bear. I’m going to take good care of it. I love him. I’m so glad we met. My writing is not good because of my hand that I hurt. Thank you again, Maureen Stinson.”
In addition, Melissa also found a Christmas tree, ornament and a little bear. That’s when she pieced it together.
Maureen was admitted to Methodist Hospital | South in Jourdanton back in December 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, none of her family could be with her. However, Melissa remembered her mother saying that someone brought her a Christmas tree and little bear on Christmas Day. She called the hospital asking for a Luis and told them the story. Eventually, she was able to verify who he was. Melissa and her brother Todd decided to write him a thank you card for his generosity and kindness to their mother.
Leading up to Maureen’s memorial service on June 12, Melissa stopped by Methodist Hospital | South to deliver the card to Luis. Inside, she also put her mom’s original letter to him. Melissa expected to just drop the letter off with the receptionist, but to her surprise, was asked if she would like to meet Luis.
“I wasn’t prepared for that either, but I waited, and he came out. It all just snowballed from there like it was meant to happen,” said Melissa. “And we wanted him to have the original letter because it was meant for him. We made copies of it to keep for ourselves, but something like that, it was meant to be his.”
Luis Gomez is a housekeeper at Methodist Hospital | South in Jourdanton. He met Maureen when she was admitted to the COVID 19 unit and made an instant connection with her.
“We had a good little friendship. I love seeing people happy and that was Maureen when she saw me. So, I always made time for her because it made me happy as well to be there for her,” said Luis. “She would tell me that no matter what’s going on in our lives, keep on smiling, keep on being yourself. And she also shared with me that you could forget something at home when you’re leaving, but never forget God always takes you wherever you go. It was a blessing to hear that and to know her.”
Luis explained that this is the first time a patient’s family has reached out to him personally, reaffirming that he is right where he needs to be.
“This letter and what the family wrote to me made a difference in my life. God answered my prayers through all of this,” he said. “And I remember she told me she wrote me a letter, but I never got it. But I’m glad the family found it.”
Todd and Melissa felt the same way and were grateful to Luis for his friendship with their mother.
“Luis went above and beyond his duties and we appreciate that because we went so long without contact other than Zoom with mom,” said Todd. “So, we appreciate him. I mean, he even gave her a hug. He wasn’t scared of getting the virus. He saw the importance of it … that my mom needed a hug, and he gave it to her.”
“God put me here for this reason. This is where he wants me,” said Luis. “If I can make just one person smile throughout the day, then I’ve done my job. None of the other stuff matters.”
Luis attended Maureen’s memorial service on June 12, 2021, with Melissa and Todd and met Maureen’s family.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart for taking time to deliver this letter and sharing with me how much it meant to them. They treated me like one of their own, and I just want to make sure they know how thankful I am to them. It’s just so emotional and hard to explain.”
Maureen moved to Pleasanton in December 1964 after marrying her husband Elvin Euguene Stinson. She was a teacher at Pleasanton ISD, having taught first grade, then art and reading at Pleasanton Junior High. She was a talented artist and teacher who inspired her students. She ended her career teaching art at Pleasanton High School in 1998 when she retired. Maureen was also a member of Pleasanton Church of Christ and loved the Lord with all her heart.
Todd explained that his mother was selfless all her life, even in her own time of need.
“In a time where a lot of people would maybe feel sorry for themselves, mom didn’t. She always said that she was a fighter, and she was. She fought for what was right. And in her time of need, she was willing to give some advice or show some love towards someone else and not just be on the receiving end of that,” said Todd.
Todd and Melissa would also like to thank the staff at Methodist Hospital | South in Jourdanton, Methodist Hospital in San Antonio and The Heights in Pleasanton for all that they did for their mother, specifically Luis and Dr. Chen of Methodist Hospital | South, her Cardiologist Dr. Schnitzler and Dale at The Heights.