Joy, grief and a handwritten letter bring two Louisiana families together

Connie Despanie and Jamie Fontenot meet for first time after the letter (Source: CBS This Morning)
Connie Despanie and Jamie Fontenot meet for first time after the letter (Source: CBS This Morning)
To Dad's Angel Letter (Source:CBS)
To Dad's Angel Letter (Source:CBS)

LAFAYETTE, LA (CBS) - CBS corespondent: David Begnaud

Two families in Louisiana were brought together by chance and show that strangers can share a person's memory.

A few weeks ago a baby entered the world in Lafayette. His parents, Connie Despanie and Benjamin Hall, named him Kingtson. But they were undecided on a middle name, until right after he was born. That's when inspiration arrived in the form of a handwritten letter, delivered by a stranger.

The moment was captured on camera at the Lafayette General Medical Center.

Who was that woman with the letter?

"To my dad's Angel, even though I will never know your name, you are the first child born here after my Dad's passing... When one life is taken, another is given," reads the letter written by Jamie Fontenot. "Please keep my Dad in your prayers. His name is James. Thank you."

Jamie Fontenot is that stranger. She wrote the letter shortly after her father died in the hospital and she was inspired to write by the music that she heard playing in the hospital's PA system.

It's a lullaby that plays throughout the hospital. Families of newborns come here and they press that button in the labor and delivery ward, playing the lullaby letting everybody know a newborn just arrived.

On January 12, 2018, Kingston James Hall was born, shortly after James Lee Grimmett, 86, had passed away.

"Somebody said, well then that's dad's angel," Jamie recalled. "I just took my letter and I went to the OB unit. I said my dad passed away about 10:40 so give this to the first baby that was born after that time."

Doctor Jennifer Pugliese and nurse Cydney Begnaud who assisted with Connie's labor and delivery received Jamie's letter. And Dr. Pugliese gave it to Connie.

"And she started reading it silently and she just had tears streaming down her face, it was really beautiful."

"I came in, and the dad says, 'Oh, we found our middle name,'" Begnaud recalled. "And I'm like, 'Alright, what is it?' And he says, 'Well, it's James of course! And I'm like 'oh yes, of course!'"

"My nurse followed me to that side and she was like well, do you mind if we get your information and give it to Ms. Jamie?" Connie said.

What are we to take away from a story like this?

Jamie Fontenot: // "Family is everything, and if you don't have faith you don't have anything," said Jamie.

"You just never know when a blessing is going to come and fall in your lap," Connie added.

They say they plan to keep in touch.