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A Heartbreaking Loss in Scotland

This might be the most heartbreaking and inspiring message in a bottle I have ever heard of. It involves the deeply painful loss of not one, but two children. The chances of this particular connection seem astronomically small to me, and yet–here we are. No one should have to go through what these two mothers experienced. Even so, these incredibly strong and resilient women are so inspiring, I feel compelled to share their story. Their story also shows just how powerful a simple message in a bottle can be.

The story begins with a happy little boy, Lucas, and his mother, Sascha, living in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2016, according to the Daily Mail. As you can see, Lucas was bright, healthy, and happy.

Lucas in Toy Truck

Lucas. Photo: Daily Mail.

But at the end of November, when Lucas’s family had finished hanging Christmas decorations, he became ill with a fever. But throughout the night, Lucas’s illness quickly progressed, and it became clear that this was no simple fever. When his mother, Sascha, discovered a rash on his stomach, she rushed Lucas to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The hospital discovered that he had somehow contracted meningitis, and they treated Lucas aggressively with antibiotics for days.

Lucas and Sascha

Lucas and Sascha. Photo: Daily Mail.

Tragically, the disease was too powerful.

“On December 3,” the Daily Mail reported, “during the early hours the child they loved so much died from meningococcal septicaemia – a combination of meningitis and septicaemia, or blood poisoning.

Well, many find it comforting to send a message in a bottle commemorating a lost loved one, as I have posted about before. So, months later, Sascha’s mother, Angela–Lucas’s grandmother–was in Turkey when she decided to send a message in a bottle commemorating Lucas into the Mediterranean. She sent the bottle to sea just two weeks after what would have been Lucas’s third birthday.

Angela's Message in a Bottle About Lucas - In Bottle

Angela’s Message in a Bottle. Photo: Daily Mail.

She explained to the Daily Mail that she did this to symbolically “set Lucas’s spirit free”.

An American Mother Finds a Message in a Bottle After Her Own Loss

A little later, Emel Safoglu of Virginia visited Turkey herself to see family and recover from her own loss. Her daughter, Reyhan, had recently been killed in a freak accident during a hike in Virginia. While crossing a rail bridge, a train came along, and Reyhan was unable to outrun it. Emel described her daughter Reyhan as being wise beyond her years–she even gave her mother dating advice, according to the Daily Mail, who further reported that Reyhan “once sang in a children’s choir for President Obama”.


Reyhan. Photo: Daily Mail.

Emel and Reyhan

Emel and Reyhan. Photo: Daily Mail.

While in Turkey, mourning Reyhan’s loss with family, Emel took a walk on the beach one day. There, she noticed a green bottle floating in the water–and it had paper inside. She caught the bottle, and here’s what she found inside:

Angela's Message in a Bottle About Lucas

Angela’s Message in a Bottle. Photo: Daily Mail.

This note was launched on July 25, 2017.

My name is Angela Oliver from Glasgow, Scotland. I’m sending the spirit and joy of my two-year-old grandson who passed away from meningitis on December 3, 2016. His name is Lucas Smith, born 13 July 2014. He was the sunshine in our lives and we miss him every day.

I hope his spirit travels the world as we know he is still with us in spirit and forever in our hearts. Myself and my daughter Sasha send this with love and hope in our hearts. If you find, please contact.

It is impossible to imagine what Emel must have felt upon reading this message in a bottle. But one thing’s for sure–she felt right away that it was no accident she found this bottle, and that Lucas and Reyhan were together, somewhere, keeping each other company.


Emel. Photo: Daily Mail.

Grieving Mothers Bond Over Loss Through Message in a Bottle

Well, Emel and Sascha got in contact and have found solace in their new friendship, born from loss. Something about sharing a sense of loss, of grief, galvanizes relationships between people who know and love each other, but also between strangers. Usually, we only remember this during national tragedies, like 9/11 in America, when people come together and show each other love and kindness and affection. But for Emel and Sascha, their friendship was forged by personal loss. They could have met no other way; they could have found no better confidants than each other in this time of mourning. It is amazing that they met at all and simply astonishing that it should happen through a message in a bottle.

At times like this, I absolutely cannot understand how anyone anywhere can think of messages in bottles as trash. What Emel and Sascha have gained from this message in a bottle is priceless, valuable beyond description. Their connection, as far as I am concerned, is pure magic, solid gold–they have the special affection that can only come from a message in a bottle.

As with so many messages in bottles, I take this one as a reminder to live in kindness, and treat every new person I meet as I would a friend. As the old saying goes, you never know what battles someone may be fighting.

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