Six-year-old Amelie Clarke became known at school for the positive notes that her mom would send in her lunchbox. But when Amelie's dad died unexpectedly, the notes took on a life of their own.
It all started when little Amelie went off to kindergarten. Her mom, Julie, decided to brighten Amelie's day by writing a colorful note for her lunchbox. It was a chance for them both to reflect on the previous day and any positive lessons that could be gleaned, her mom said.
"It was a relief for me to stop at the end of the night and sit down and make the note because it was part of my day," Clarke told ABC, "the way somebody else might like to do a crossword."
Amelie has kept every one of the notes, and her mom hopes to make them into a book one day.
As friends and teachers learned about the notes, they became so well-known around the school that Clark started an Instagram account. In late April, the local news shared the story. Clarke was excited that her positive message was touching so many people.
Just days later, the unthinkable happened.
As Clarke's husband, John, was working in the yard, he was stung by bees. John, who had not known he was severely allergic, passed away.
Julie, who does not have a full-time job, was overwhelmed in more ways than one. Friends started a GoFundMe page.
"If you had told me two or three weeks ago this was going to happen, I would think I would just be a big puddle," she reflected. "But because so many people feel for you, you move on. Especially if you have a little one, you can't just stop."
One of Amelie's classmates, Alice Pellenbarg, wrote her a sweet note that was posted to the Instagram account, and then notes started pouring in from all over the country.
Clarke said doesn't know how to thank all of her supporters, who have inspired her to continue to spread a message of positivity.
"Sometimes people complain about the world and about everybody being jerks," she said. "It's unbelievable how many people care."
As for Amelie, her mom said she's not quite old enough to understand what's going on. One thing she does understand, though, is that she's loved.
"She's reassured when she opens her lunchbox and there's a note there that's colorful and makes her feel good," she said. "When she gets bigger, it'll mean more to her. But right now, it's just a matter of seeing some love in a box."