Candy Scarbrough felt that it was divine intervention when she reunited with her son’s lost Elmo doll ten years after he died. The toy, which he lovingly called “Melmo,” found its way home a day before what would have been the boy’s 14th birthday.
Scarbrough’s son Tucker died when he was only 3 years old after suffering a stroke and numerous complications brought by his congenital heart defect. Before his passing in 2009, he lost his favorite Elmo doll which he carried around everywhere.
Melmo was Tucker’s “comfort toy” and “travel buddy.” He brought it with him during hospital stays and doctor’s visits. So when it went missing, the mom had trouble replacing it because of its distinct appearance.
“His Elmo was super old and scruffy and had distinct matted fur. All the newer Elmos were all silky and they talked. You couldn’t just find an old plush Elmo like that,” Scarbrough told Today.
However, more than a decade after, Melmo found its way home thanks to what the mom called as “divine orchestration.” Scarbrough reunited with the doll through Megan Whitehead Flanagan, a former J.C. Penney portrait studio photographer, who reached out to her after she read her off-hand post on Facebook about the doll.
Apparently, they lost Elmo during a photoshoot and Megan had used it to make children smile during photoshoots. She brought the doll home with her after she stopped working at J.C. Penny. Megan returned Melmo to Scarbrough who said that reuniting with Tucker’s doll somehow made her feel that she “got a piece of him back, something tangible that he held and that was a part of him in so many ways.”
“I got him back from Megan the day before what would’ve been Tucker’s 14th birthday. That in itself is such a powerful message. Because losing a child never gets better. There’s no way to make it easier,” the mom said, adding that getting it back “kind of took the sting out of the birthday a little bit to make us focus on a part of Tucker’s life and something he loved so much.”
Scarbrough said that she feels happy knowing that Tucker’s Elmo doll has touched hearts and made other kids happy ten years after he died. It thrilled her to know that “people are remembering something significant about his life” and that her son brought joy to people.
The photographer, Megan Flanagan, returned Elmo to his mom’s hands the day before what would have been Tucker’s 14th birthday.