A mother of four has surprised her children, husband and his new fiancée with heartbreaking Christmas letters two years after her death from ovarian cancer.
Brenda Schmitz was 46 when she passed away in September 2011. As a parting gift, she entrusted a letter to a friend, who remains anonymous, to deliver when the time was right. The letter was addressed to a local Des Moines, Iowa, radio station and contained two other letters; one for her husband David and another for the new love of his life.
A month before she lost her battle to the disease, Schmitz wrote the letter to KSTZ Star 102.5, which runs a Christmas wishes program each year. Listeners send in their Christmas wish letters, and the station elicits the help of sponsors to grant a select few.
Brenda's wishes were finally revealed two years later when the station brought her husband, David, into the studio and read the note to him on air last week.
"When you are in receipt of this letter, I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer," the letter from Brenda began. "I told [my friend] once my loving husband David had moved on in his life and had met someone to share his life with again, to mail this letter to all of you at the station."
David had recently become engaged again and Brenda's first wish was a request for the station to give his "new lifelong partner," Jane, a pampering session.
"She deserves it, being a stepmother to all those boys," the letter read. "Make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me.
"Thank you," Brenda added. "I love you, whoever you are."
The second wish Brenda asked for was a "magical trip" for the entire family to a place where they can "enjoy each other's company and companionship as a family and create those memories that will be with them forever."
The final wish was aimed at the doctors and nurses at Mercy Medical Hospital who took care of her while she was sick. Brenda asked that they be given a "night out full of drinks, food and fun for all they do every day for the cancer patients they encounter."
The station paired up with local business to help grant these three wishes, including sending the family of eight, which now incorporates David's two soon-to-be stepchildren, on a four-day vacation to Disney World in Florida.
Station host Colleen Kelly read the letter with a shaky voice to David, who wiped away his tears throughout.
"It's not surprising," David said after Kelly finished. "The last year and a half she's shown so many signs that she's [here]."
One of the most notable signs appeared the morning of Brenda's death, which happened just 10 days after the first birthday of their youngest, Max.
David recalled that mother and son used to sing "Over The Rainbow" together, and that on the morning Brenda died, a double rainbow appeared "bright as can be."
"Max has the picture of the rainbow in his room right now," David said. "There's no doubt in my mind who did that."