Though every day since the passing of her son’s father and the love of her life has been a challenge, Danielle Ogle was especially struggling with celebrating her family’s first Christmas without him.
“It has been an extremely rough eight months,” Ogle, 23, told InsideEdition.com. “I lost my best friend, my provider, my protector, my everything — in one instant.”
Cody Wells, 23, was driving to a friend’s house April 3 when his car went off an Alabama road and struck a tree.
Wells, a jailer at the Fort Payne Police Department and a member of the National Guard, was killed instantly. He left behind his wife and son, 2-year-old Braxton Wells.
“I met Cody in the seventh grade. We were high school sweethearts. We were together almost 11 years,” Ogle said. “He was a great person, had a heart of gold, and would do anything for anyone — he would go above and beyond, even if it meant he had to go without. I struggle on a daily basis to just get out of bed, but I do it for my son, to show him it’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to miss his daddy."
The little boy and his mother visit Wells’ gravesite every day for lunch and other occasions.
“I just don’t want Braxton to forget his dad,” Ogle said. “I want to keep Cody’s memory alive for Braxton for as long as I can.”
Braxton talks to his father’s headstone, leaving toys for his father who he now knows is in his heart, his mother said. And Christmas was going to bring a new set of challenges.
“The bond these two had was unbelievable and it breaks my heart that Braxton doesn't get to experience it with his best friend this year, this mommy could use some prayers to get through the day tomorrow for my little man,” Ogle wrote on Facebook on Christmas Eve.
But when little Braxton arrived to spend time with his father on Christmas, he was greeted with a surprise gift at his grave, WHNT reported.
“He immediately saw the present and he was ecstatic,” Ogle said. “He said ‘Mommy I am so excited to know what my daddy has left me,’ he thought Cody had flew down from heaven to leave him a present. He was so happy; he had thought that Cody had forgotten.”
Chris Blake, who installed the headstone at the site, left boxes of Hot Wheels cars for Braxton after asking Ogle for permission.
“He said ‘I don’t care who you tell him it’s from, I just want him to have it,’” Ogle said.
The toys held a special place in Braxton’s heart, as the little boy would often go with his father to pick out new little cars to add to his collection.
“It really touched my heart … It was just wonderful to see a smile on my kid’s face. That man … made my child’s entire day,” Ogle said. “And it meant the world to me. It was just a wonderful thing.”