When we least expect it, tragedies happen. When their mother died, nine people in an Idaho family went through their worst fear. The heartbroken loved ones worked hard to put their lives back together, and when a Christmas miracle happened, they couldn’t say a word.
Dakota and Ream Nelson had a lovely relationship based on strong values and a shared faith. They were happy to have seven kids and loved making memories with them.
Ream loved volleyball, and her soulmate husband worked part-time for their church. Together, they made a life full of devotion. But in an instant, the world they knew changed.
No one could have known that something shocking that happened on July 11, 2018, would change the Nelson family’s lives for good. The mother of seven, who was kind and loving, passed out in their garage. Her sister said this about her.
Dakota had only been outside for five minutes when he came back to find his 38-year-old wife very close to dying. The father, who told their 11-year-old son to call 911 right away, remembered the terrible event:
“We were just messing around in the garage while we worked. When I got back, she was pretty much dead on the ground. We were able to bring her back to life enough that she went into a coma and stayed there until the end of September.
When Ream went to the hospital, she was in a very bad way. She was in a coma for three months, and then she passed away.
The terrible thing that happened to Ream shocked his family and friends, who were left to pick up the pieces. Dakota had to work three jobs to take care of his kids, and he was worried about what would happen in the future.
During the 2018 Christmas holidays, Dakota and his kids opened a white gift box. They didn’t know what was inside, but they were speechless.
Ream didn’t have health insurance, so the bills for her hospital stay were huge. Dakota’s worries were eased by a GoFundMe page, which raised over $60,000 from kind people to help them.
But there was still more good news to come! After his wife died, the seminary teacher at North Fremont High School went through a lot, but he had a lot to be thankful for.
A Secret Santa in their East Idaho town heard about how bad things had been for the family, and soon a group of elves came to visit Dakota and his kids with a gift that would change their lives.
In 2018, Dakota and his children got a white gift box for Christmas. They didn’t know that what was inside would leave them speechless. The box had groceries worth $1,000 and Walmart gift cards worth $1,000. But that was only the first step.
Dakota got emotional when a $8,000 check was given to the dad as a kind gesture. He wiped away his tears and struggled to find the right words. Finally, he asked, “Who do I thank?”
Even though the family still missed their mother, their Secret Santa gave them a reason to smile. The shocked widower wrote a thank-you letter to Secret Santa:
“This is hard to write because I don’t know what to say. I can’t say enough good things about how grateful we are for this kindness… I just can’t find the words to say how grateful we are.”
The kids also told Santa how happy they were that it was their best Christmas ever. They didn’t think they could be happy again after their mom died, but the gift gave them new hope and joy.
People online were moved by the family’s story, and many of them sent their condolences. People also praised the father for being strong and determined to keep going for the sake of his children:
“This made me feel good. My husband died suddenly when he was 39, leaving me to raise our six beautiful children, ages 2 to 11. We made it through, and I’m thankful to the few people who helped. Dakota Nelson’s kids will always remember when Secret Santa came to visit.
“His heart hurt so much, but he stayed strong for his family. Good luck.”
“I was moved to tears by this story. I wish we could do more to help him. I’m so glad that Secret Santa decided to help this wonderful family in need. The kids are so lucky to have him.”