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The fortune cookie note that helped her heal after a friend was murdered.

'I wanted so much to hold him, to tell him that I love him.'

The fortune cookie note that helped her heal after a friend was murdered.

Amanda will never forget what she was doing at 4:59 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011.

Gabe, her best friend and boss, had just given her the following day off from work.

"I was delighted to not have to work on a Saturday," she explained. "So I said, 'Wow this must be my lucky day.' And he said, 'Yes it is.'"


The following morning, Amanda got a phone call.

She learned there'd been a shooting at the event Gabe had been working — the same work event she'd been given off.

Amanda did what many best friends would have done...

...and tragically arrived at her worst nightmare.

Beyond the yellow tape, she could see Gabe's body lying on the pavement covered in a white butcher's cloth from the nearby supermarket, which someone had placed on him.

"I wanted so much to hold him, to tell him that I love him, that he means the world to me," she recalls in a video for Upworthy. "And I couldn’t."

That was the day Amanda lost Gabe. Most of the world, however, remembers it as the day Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in Arizona.

Gabe, a staffer for Giffords, was one of the six people murdered in the parking lot of a local grocery store at the "Congress on Your Corner" event on Jan. 8, 2011. Giffords was one of 13 others injured by gunfire.

Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, place flowers at a memorial for the shooting victims. Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images.

Mentions of Gabe's death and the others who died that day were repeated time and time again, as media outlets covered the tragedy in-depth for months. But most of the nearly 12,000 murders from guns each year across America get far less attention.

As the rest of the country read headlines surrounding the tragedy near Tucson, Amanda focused on moving forward with her life.

She decided to visit the place where Gabe had been shot to make peace with his death. There, standing amongst the flowers, heartfelt notes, and teddy bears honoring those who lost their lives, Amanda saw an inspiring message from a very unlikely source.

"My head was immediately drawn down between my cowboy boots, where I saw this tiny, rectangular piece of paper," she says. "And I picked it up and it was a fortune from a fortune cookie. And it said, 'You are often unaware of the effect you have on others.'"

To Amanda, it felt like a sign — like Gabe was sending her an important message she should know:

"It felt like a communication with Gabe, that I took to mean, 'Amanda, I had no idea I impacted so many people and I was so loved. And Amanda, you have no idea how you impact and affect people, and how loved you are.' ... All of us are often unaware of the affect we have on others, and it shouldn’t take tragedy for us to let one another know that ... to say 'thank you,' and 'I love you.'"

It's a powerful reminder for any of us, wherever we are in our lives, regardless of what we're dealing with: No matter who you are, you have an impact, you are loved, and the world is a better place because you are in it.

Watch Amanda tell her story in this Upworthy Original video:

Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the annoucnement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

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The government has asked the 57-year-old to evacuate the area many times, but he says he figured he was going to die anyway. "And if I had to die, I decided that I would like to die with these guys," he said.

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