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Updated: Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 5:49 PM CST
Published : Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 5:32 PM CST
NEW LONDON - A very deserving family has been showered with Christmas gifts this year. Two months after unexpectedly losing their only parent.
"It was very unexpected. They couldn't do anything,” said Jessica O’Bright, smiling to fight back tears.
This Christmas, the O'Bright family says heaven has a special new angel: Their 44-year-old mom, Billie Bessette.
"Exactly two months ago today, my mom passed away from a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in her lung,” said O’Bright.
At only 20 years old, Jessica O'Bright now must fill the role of mom to her three younger brothers.
Chris is 18 and a student at UW-Green Bay.
“Just trying to be here for them as much as I can, balancing school and work and all of that,” he said, describing that he drives back and forth from New London to Green Bay nearly every week.
Nathan's in high school, and 12-year-old Alex is in middle school. He's also autistic. Jessica says carrying on each day is hard enough.
And then comes Christmas.
"How do you do it? You know, how do you still have the ‘Christmas spirit’ to give these boys a Christmas, when you're upset and depressed, you know?"
Surrounded by memories, they’re keeping Christmas as best as they can.
"Decorate the house, front-to-back,” O’Bright said, pointing to all the holiday décor. “Christmas was her thing. So I try to keep it the same, just because."
But some angels right here in the area made for an even better Christmas.
Folks at a nearby Coldwell Banker office heard about the O'Bright's situation.
"This family lost their mother in October and they don't have a father either. When you hear these gut or heart-wrenching stories about people, not being able to have a merry Christmas, we just rallied together,” said Renny Diedrick.
Like Santa's elves, the realtors and their families came bearing sacks full of wonderful things on Friday: A bike and Legos for Alex, a toolbox and a college food care package for the older boys.
"Jess, who, to me, is the new mom, we got her some stuff. She didn't want anything....as sad as it is to have their mom pass away, they need to know that they're loved and that people are going to do something special for them,” said Diedrick.
"There are not enough words to say thank you because there was so much done and I appreciate every single bit of it,” said O’Bright.
All the presents and Christmas Trees in the world can't bring their mom back. But the O'Bright kids say they know their guardian angel is looking down this season with pride.
"She's probably crying, just like me. This is so awesome. This really is,” O’Bright said.
Knowing her family is together, bound by love—And finding light, in their time of darkness.
If you'd like to help out the O'Bright family, you can make a donation at any Fox Community Credit Union.