RICHMOND, RI (WPRI) – The box-shaped urn with Norma MacMillan’s name on it was wedged in the shelves of a Westerly apartment, until a new tenant spotted it.
Harry Mack knew it didn’t belong with the rest of the clutter.
“I felt like it just wasn’t right that it was down there,” Mack said. “So, I brought it upstairs and dusted it off.”
Then, came his brief post on Facebook.
“And I asked people to please share so that we could find the family of Norma,” Mack said.
Harry and Carole Pratt would soon go from never met, to forever connected.
The night Mack posted his Facebook message, Carole was in Richmond where she says she had a vision of her mother that she still can’t explain.
“It wasn’t really a dream,” Pratt recalled. “She was just standing there, clear as day. Clear as day.”
The next day, she saw Mack’s post.
“Instantly, I messaged Harry,” she said. “And I was like I don’t believe this. Unbelievable! That’s my mom.”
Mack remembers how excited she was.
“She was ecstatic,” he said. “It was amazing. It blew my mind.”
Mack has no idea how the box marked with Norma’s name became mired in the clutter of the basement. Carole only knows that a tragic mistake during a move, misplaced the box in a storage unit that later was sold. But that was five years ago.
“I just thought she was lost forever,” Pratt said. “That’s a miracle. The whole story is a miracle.”
A miracle for her, and for Mack a step toward redemption. About the time she lost the urn, he was battling a potential life or death choice of his own.
“Come October this year,” Mack said. “I’ll be four years clean from opiates and heroin.”
When Mack drove up to Carole’s home, he could see how important it was to bring Norma home.
“She was shaking when I handed her the box.” Mack said. “And she gave me a really good, minute long hug. And it just made me feel right.”
Pratt smiled while thinking about Mack’s deed.
“Having her back,” Pratt said smiling. “And sitting there in my living room now. She’s home. My mothers home.”
For Mack, it’s about making up for mistakes.
“I have a lot of making up to do,” he said. “So, every day I try to.”
He’s accomplished that goal if you ask Pratt.
“He seems to think he has to make up for things he’s done in the past.” Pratt said, shaking her head. “Well, past is past. This is now. And that’s all that matters.”
And she added that whether Harry likes it or not, he is now part of her family for finding a way to bring her mother home.