He couldn’t believe that he’d gone from laughing with his wife to coming back to find her unresponsive on the garage floor in the span of five minutes.
Now he was standing over her tombstone with their kids by his side. But it would only go worse from there.
When Todd got down on one knee and asked Katie to marry him, he’d only wanted to live the rest of his life next to his soulmate.
They’d first bumped into each other while they were still teenagers and, from this meeting, knew they were meant for each other. After dating for a few years, Todd asked Katie to be his forever. He had no idea what the future had in store for them.
Todd and Katie tied the knot in their early twenties. “I had never been sure about anything in my life as I was about marrying her,” he shared while recalling that magical day.
Their marriage would see its first blessing two years later in the name of their first son, Sonny, who would be the first of their seven kids. As far as Todd was concerned, his life was heaven on earth.
The two, together with their family, lived in Wallace, Idaho. Although the town is considered small by some, it was more than enough for Todd and Katie.
Todd loved how each person knew the other in town and how close-knit their community was. Life was going on perfectly for him when out of nowhere, disaster struck.
It was a quiet Sunday afternoon when everything came crashing on Todd’s family. The kids watched TV while Todd and Katie were in the garage doing some spring cleaning.
“There was a very old table from the sixties that Katie and I were trying to get rid of,” Todd shared. “It was chipped and barely standing, and we knew it would cause an accident if we didn’t get rid of it.” The two had no clue how such a beautiful day would turn sour.
“We had little success moving the table, given how big it was. I went to fetch some tools for the job, and Katie kept joking that she could lift the entire thing alone and hurl it into the woods.”
Todd had only been away for less than five minutes when he heard a soft thump inside the garage. Nothing could have ever prepared him for what he found when he rushed back.
Todd found his three-year-old son, Klaus, standing over Katie, who was lying on her back, unresponsive and with her eyes glued to the ceiling. He thought his wife was taking a breather. But as he neared, he realized something was terribly wrong.
“I fell to my knees and cradled her head,” Todd said. “She wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. All I could utter was ‘Please don’t do this to me.” Knowing time was flying, Todd asked his son out of the room and sprang into action.
With his palms over Katie’s chest, Todd began performing CPR. His firstborn, Sonny, walked in and quickly ran off. “He promptly called 911 without me telling him to do it.
“He put on a movie for his siblings and asked them not to come to the garage before taking his dirt bike and rushing down the main road to wave over the ambulance when it reached us,” Todd shared. But even though they’d do everything to save Katie’s life, it wouldn’t be enough.
Katie would pass a few months later after being in a coma since she collapsed in the garage. The doctors revealed that she had a massive heart attack that deprived her brain of oxygen for twenty minutes, causing severe damage.
They couldn’t explain the cause of the attack as Katie’s body had been very healthy. Todd broke down as he listened. Now he was standing over Katie’s tombstone with his kids by his side, wondering how everything had gone south so fast. But it would only get worse from there.
If Todd thought that braving the months when Katie was in a coma was challenging, what came after was pure hell.
He not only missed and grieved for her but felt lost now that he was the only one taking care of their seven kids. But unknown to him, Jazmine, his sister-in-law, and Katie’s younger sister had been busy behind his back.
After Katie got sick, Todd needed to find additional jobs to fill the financial gap solely on his lap now. He’d been working as a university lecturer for the last decade but now took on two more jobs to make ends meet.
Jazmine had seemingly noticed this. “He was working two part-time jobs on top of a full-time and taking care of the kids,” Jazmine shared. “I knew I had to step in.”
When Katie was still in the hospital, Jazmine started a GoFundMe account for her. “I’d seen the medical bill, and I remembered Katie and Todd telling me although the kids had medical insurance, they didn’t,” she said.
“The GoFundMe goal was about a quarter of a million dollars, covering Katie’s bill.” But sadly, although many people globally came to chip in after hearing Todd’s story, Katie would still succumb to her condition. But something remarkable would happen a few months later.
Todd was fighting through his new reality, trying his best to take care of his kids while also being strong for them. Christmas was around the corner, but after settling bills, Todd had barely any cash left for the holiday.
He didn’t know what he’d do. He couldn’t let his kids remember their first Christmas without their mom as the worst in history. They’d been through enough already. But what could he do when the odds stacked against him were so high?
Todd was still pondering a way out of his problem when he heard a knock on the front door. Thinking it was the mailman, he hurried over to ask him to come in and shelter from the December snowfall.
But what he found was a local news reporter and camera people who hadn’t started recording. Todd asked them to come in, but they humbly turned him down. What they’d reveal would leave him in tears.
The reporter told Todd that his story had reached the furthest reaches of the world thanks to Jazmine’s post. Countless people had donated cash to help the family through the holidays since it was his first without Katie.
Todd refused the cash at first, which was upwards of a hundred thousand dollars in donations, gift cards, and coupons. Although he accepted it afterward, the love and prayers that people had been sending his way over the months were more than enough.