Family Cracks Grandma's Dying Code With the Help of Internet 'Angels'

Dorothy Holm spent the last few days of her life scribbling what were thought to be random letters on several index cards. The beloved mom and grandmother, who could no longer speak because of a brain tumor, filled up several cards from top to bottom, but the letters didn't make sense to her family members. Still, her grandchildren -- who were preteens at the time of her death -- kept the index cards and continued to wonder what their grandmother was trying to convey. 

If not for the kindness and knowledge of several strangers who were able to crack the code on MetaFilter.com, their mystery may have remained unsolved. 

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If we need further proof that Pope Francis was right on the money this week when he said the Internet is a "gift from God" because it creates connections among people that wouldn't otherwise be possible, this is it. It took Dorothy's grandchildren 18 years to find out what Internet users were able to decode in just 13 minutes!

Janna Holm posted two images on the website and explained that her grandmother filled up at least 20 cards during the last two weeks of her life. She was convinced the letters likely represented song lyrics of tunes she had heard growing up in the '50s, '60s, and early '70s.

Good guess, but it turns out her grandmother was actually writing out the words from prayers! Here's an example:

OFWAIHHBTN = "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name" from the Christian "Lord's Prayer." 

Wowser! Internet whizzes were able to decipher quite a few of Dorothy's prayer codes, though not all of them. Her family thinks it's possible Dorothy wrote her own prayers, as well as popular ones. 

What an absolutely sweet story. I'm thrilled this family was able to find out that grandma's mind was in a better place at a time when she was probably suffering greatly. I'm not a religious person, but I can't help feeling the Pope is right. We spend so much time criticizing the Internet because we can allow it to sap up so much of our energy and keep us from forming face-to-face personal connections with one another. 

But the Internet is also an incredibly powerful tool we can use to connect with people who can add value to our lives. The advice of strangers is often priceless, as is the wisdom of others -- something the Holm family discovered this week. 

What do you think of this story? Do you usually view the Internet in a positive or negative way?

 

Image via MetaFilter.com

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