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November 24, 2021

Man Dies Hours after Meeting His Newborn, Leaves behind Moving Letters for Family

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A stay-at-home father and loving husband breathed his last breath after he and his wife welcomed their seventh child. After his funeral, his wife found heartwarming letters he had penned down eighteen months before his death.

Losing a loved one is never easy. No matter how much time goes by, nothing can fill the void they've left behind or take the pain away. Everyone needs some time and space to recover from the loss of a beloved. 

A Southwest Florida family was devastated when they suddenly lost their father and husband, especially when they were in the midst of celebrating a new life. 

[Left] Teri pictured with her kid. [Right] A picture of Teri and Oak Gregg-Donaldson with their children. | Photo: twitter.com/humankind | facebook.com/HelpBabyRowan

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FIRST MEETING

Teri and Oak-Gregg Donaldson's love story started and concluded in December. A mutual friend introduced them to each other when Teri was 14 and Oak was 18. Regarding their relationship, Teri shared: 

"We fell in love immediately, I knew he was the man I was going to marry. He was always my other half."

When Teri turned 18, the couple eloped in Daytona. They had six children, four of whom were adopted from foster care and the other three are their biological kids. 

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WELCOMING THEIR SEVENTH CHILD

On October 31, 2019, Teri was taken to the hospital due to pregnancy complications with her third biological child. On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, she gave birth to baby Rowan at 32 weeks and weighed 4-pound, 14-ounce. 

However, her husband's letters are a source of comfort for her and prove that he'd always watch over their family. 

The couple spent around 20 minutes together with their newborn baby, born prematurely, and spent some time in the NICU for breathing and feeding support. Oak and Teri ate dinner, watched TV, cuddled, and even made a belly cast. 

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THE UNREAD MESSAGE

The stay-at-home father and Cub Scout leader left on Wednesday night to be with their kids. Teri mentioned that she noticed her husband running short of breath and even checked his pulse. She sent him a message at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday that said: 

"I love you. I hope you're feeling better. Call me when you wake up, my love."

As it turned out, Oak never read the text, and his kids couldn't wake him up on Thursday morning. He had died in his sleep due to a blood clot in his heart only a few weeks before Christmas. 

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FINDING THE LETTERS

Following her husband's death, she moved in with her mother, Patti Town Armbruster, in her Cape Coral home. While going through Oak's documents after his funeral, Teri found letters he had written for her and their kids. One of them read:

"I know that this time is hard for you and I'm sorry for that, but I want you to be happy. If that means you being a widow or getting remarried either is fine with me."

Oak had penned down the letters in June 2018 while undergoing shoulder surgery. The mom-of-seven said her husband had told her about the letters, but it took her about two weeks to find the strength to read them. 

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SUPPORT FROM LOVED ONES

After Oak's death, Teri has had the support of their friends and family to help her raise her kids as a single parent. Her mother set up a GoFundMe, where $79,877 was raised of the targeted amount of $100,000.

Thanks to the financial coverage, Teri could buy a passenger van and strollers for her kids. Oak, who died at 40 and would have celebrated his 41st birthday with family soon, also left behind a 19-year-old daughter at the time of his death.

Teri shared that thinking about a future and bringing up her children alone would be hard. However, her husband's letters are a source of comfort for her and prove that he'd always watch over their family. 

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