HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County woman is sharing an unlikely story of how she formed a bond with a Virginia woman, thanks to a message in a bottle.
Nancy Williamson says she was walking on Holden Beach collecting trash as she often does, when she noticed something unusual sticking up from the sand.
Inside it she found a photo and a letter written by Ava Cregers, a Virginia woman mourning the loss of her husband.
Ava and her husband Eddie loved visiting Cherry Grove Beach in South Carolina.
They didn’t expect last year to be their final trip together.
“He said I really don’t want to leave, and I said I know you don’t, but we’ll be back next year, and he just turned to me and he said, ‘I don’t know,'” said Ava.
Eddie had been suffering from cancer for years.
That night, Eddie had a massive stroke. He died hours later.
This year, on the anniversary of his death, Ava returned to Cherry Grove, and released a bottle in her late husband’s honor, containing a letter, a photo, and sand from their last beach trip together.
Just days later, that bottle was found on Holden Beach by Nancy.
“I got this email that was titled, like, ‘Message in a bottle.’ And I nearly, I honestly nearly had a stroke,” said Ava.
“It was sad and it was happy all together,” said Nancy.
Nancy says she knows what Ava is going through. She also lost a husband a few years back.
She says her faith has helped her to carry on.
“I hope now she will have closure. And that her life will begin with happier days instead of sad days,” said Nancy.
The two have now formed a friendship over their shared experience.
Ava, also a woman of faith, says she believes a higher power helped that bottle find its way to Nancy.
“I can’t decide whether Eddie got that bottle to her, or if God helped Eddie send the bottle to her, because the captain actually said he did not think it would go back to shore,” said Ava.
Nancy says she plans to make a shadow box with the bottle and its contents.
She says if anything happens to her, her children know to return it to Ava.