Nightly News   |  December 22, 2013

Years after her death, wife gives husband incredible gift

One Iowa family received a very special Christmas surprise. It came in the form of a letter from a mother, who’d died two years prior. Her three wishes for her family have moved a community. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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>>> finally tonight, the incredible and touching christmas surprise for a family in iowa. a result of a letter a loving wife and mother left before she died two years ago. in it she spelled out three wishes. nbc's mike taibbi picks up the story.

>> granting another christmas wish .

>> reporter: all david knew with when the radio station called him was that he had been singled out as part of a popular decades old annual program.

>> we got a very special christmas wish .

>> reporter: a wish read to him on the air from his late wife brenda who died two years ago.

>> can you tell us about brenda ?

>> she was very down to earth, a loving mother, terrific wife.

>> reporter: a wife with thoughts for her family when she was gone.

>> hello. my name is brenda . when you are in receipt of this letter i will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer .

>> reporter: brenda , a mom of four in 2011 asked the friend to send the letter anonymously to the station if and when david moved on and found a new love as she told him she hoped for him. this year he got engaged to jane with two kids of her own.

>> i have a wishful first for david 's new lifelong partner. a day, or better yet a weekend of pampering in all aspects of her life. she deserves it. make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me. thank you. i love you whoever you are.

>> reporter: for what was now david 's larger combined brood?

>> a magical trip somewhere where they can all enjoy their company and companionship as a family and create those memories that will be with them forever.

>> reporter: and brenda had a third and final wish. a night of food and drink and fun for the mercy hospital staff who cared for her during her long battle with cancer. all three wishes granted in grand style.

>> we are going to send you and your family on a magical vacation for eight to disney world . the oxford's dictionary's first definition of love is a deem affection or fondness. key word , deep. only the luckiest among us know that version. david does, absolutely.

>> thank you. i'm in shock.

>> reporter: this extraordinary family, tux by tragedy, elevated beyond the pain of loss two years later by a christmas gift for the ages called love. mike taibbi , nbc news, los angeles .