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Iowa wife’s Christmas wishes fulfilled years after her death

By CBS News 4:44 PM December 24, 2013

"I was hoping that one small act you all could do for me could change their lives forever, and they know I am with them always."

A note written to an Iowa radio station is getting worldwide attention.

The radio station has an annual tradition where listeners send in “wish letters,” and the hosts select a handful of wishes that they’ll grant. They’ve been fulfilling Christmas dreams for more than 20 years, but they had never received a letter quite like this.

Last week, the hosts of Des Moines radio station Star 102.5 invited listener David Schmitz to their annual Christmas show, but the station didn’t reveal to Schmitz who had sent in the wish for his family.

David Schmitz recalled: “They said it was too personal to get into it on the phone.”

They read this letter to him on the air: “Hello, my name is Brenda Schmitz, when you are in receipt of this letter, I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer.”

The letter was dated August 3, 2011. Brenda Schmitz passed away less than two months after she wrote it. But Brenda Schmitz had given this note to a friend, with instructions on when to mail it.

The letter said: “I told her once my loving husband David had moved on in his life, and met someone to share his life with again, to mail this letter to all of you at the station.”

David Schmitz recently met and fell in love with Jayne Abraham. He proposed to her this September.

Brenda Schmitz had three wishes for the family she left behind, their four sons, as well as the new family David Schmitz was starting. She wrote, “I was hoping that one small act you all could do for me could change their lives forever, and they know I am with them always.”

First, a weekend of pampering for David Schmitz’s new partner. The letter said, “Make her smile, and know her efforts are truly appreciated by me. Perseverance will prevail, thank you, I love you whoever you are.”

Her second wish was to David Schmitz and their children. She wrote, “For my family, a magical trip. Somewhere where they all can enjoy their companionship as a family and make memories that will be with them forever.”

Lastly, Brenda Schmitz wanted to give a night of food and fun to the hospital staff that cared for her during her final days.

It was a letter David Schmitz wasn’t expecting to receive, but one that didn’t surprise him either. He said, “She had great foresight. But afterwards, quite touching.”

And as a part of her final wishes, Brenda Schmitz left a separate letter, addressed to David Schmitz’s new wife.

Abraham said, “The biggest thing was that she said at the end of the letter, she said, ‘I love you.’ And that was the hardest, most gracious thing that I received.”

Brenda Schmitz ended the letter with this: “May God bless and keep all of you safe there, thanks for this. When you wish upon a star, Brenda.”

A number of local businesses chipped in to make her wish come true. They collected donations, and will be sending the family to Disney World.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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