TAUNTON, Mass. — Sitting alone, eating lunch, Bristol County Sheriff's Deputy Nelson Brum noticed something flying towards his cruiser.
"It actually flew right to me," he said. "I didn't even have to step out of the car."
It was a balloon with a note attached.
The grin drawn on the balloon suggested whimsy, but it came with a note from a boy to his father -- now gone.
"I think he sent it hoping it would reach heaven," Bristol County Sheriff's Deputy Nelson Brum said.
We assume ascension, that beyond the sky is a final place. But the balloon never made it to heaven.
It made it to a parking lot in Taunton.
"I love you dad. I miss you. I will never forget you," Deputy Brum read from the note. "But you are a star."
The Sheriff's Office posted a photo of the balloon on its Facebook page with the hope of learning who might have released it.
Thus ensued a delicate dance. The deputy wanted the family to know he had the balloon while preserving the child's notion it had reached dad in heaven.
Less than 24-hours later, Deputy Brum got a call from the mother of an 8-year-old.
"They had released that balloon last year -- sometime last summer," he said.
Science can explain almost anything. Including balloons that never make it to heaven.
"Everything happens for a reason I believe," Brum said.
But if you believe in ascension, that the layers of sky are but a prelude to a promise, then you must believe Deputy Brum didn't find that balloon -- as much as that balloon found him.
"Maybe dad wants him to know he loves him," Deputy Brum said. "He misses him. And someday he'll be together. And he's still around."