MAGNA — The older we get, the easier it becomes to miss the meaning behind the decorations, gifts and the figure who often stands at the forefront of a child’s mind this time of year. But one man learned in one of his greatest moments of need, you’re never too old to wish for a Christmas miracle.
“Without the idea of Santa, I would never had the courage to ask for such a tremendous list,” said Nathan Bishop.
Like many children, Bishop grew up believing. But now as a husband and the father of four girls, it took more than a tree to bring him back to that child-like belief.
It was Monday, December 2, when Bishop received a text from his wife.
“She says I’ve got a headache,” he read.
Bishop didn’t think anything of it until he arrived home from work that day.
“I walk in and she’s collapsed on the floor,” he remembers. “She’s shivering and cold but somewhat still there.”
After a trip to the hospital it soon feels as though Bishop’s world is beginning to collapse.
“At the time I didn’t know what was going on,” Bishop said. “They have to keep her blood vessels open by keeping her blood pressure very high. And so, she was just having a stabbing headache for hours.”
Suzie suffered an aneurysm in her brain and for the next two days found herself in a medically induced coma.
“I’m told I can’t touch my wife or talk to her because they want to keep her as low stimulation as possible,” Bishop said. “When dealing with things like this, death is an actual possibility.”
Bishop also had to be prepared that when she woke up, she may not have all her memory.
“A promise I made to myself is if the worst thing happens, I would not fall apart,” he said. “And I was feeling the temptation that I could fall apart.”
It was under this heavy weight of the unknown and the realization of mounting medical bills that Bishop saw a Christmas tree near the elevators at the hospital. And then he turned to someone unexpected.
“I basically had this child-like moment, where I was like, ‘Santa.’”
And there in his wife’s hospital room, Nathan poured out his heart to Santa in a Facebook post:
I am sorry for not writing to you much as a kid. I guess I got little things I wanted or needed so often, I just took you for granted.
Thanks for the Christmas after my dad died. We were pretty sad and I will never forget it. Thanks for the Texas instruments graphing calculator you got me in 8th grade. I cannot imagine life without algebra and trigonometry these days. And thanks for the wallet and football a few years earlier. I will never forget the Walkman you brought me in California. And the microscope in 2nd grade was the coolest.
Santa, this year my wish list got really long all of a sudden and my little brain can’t handle it anymore. Please see what you can do. It would mean the world to me.
Santa, when I was 14 my daddy passed away from cancer and he had 11 kids. I tried to help my mommy with the family a lot. Can you please help my mommy with her mortgage? It would mean the world to me to know that she can live the rest of her life secure that she will have a place to live.
Santa, forgive me. I feel so weird writing this. I guess I am out of practice.
Santa, because I believe in hard work paying off so much, I have spent a lot of time at work. I don’t believe that free things come much, but when I lost my job a few years ago, you helped my family so much that I guess you really do care about me and my family. But even though I have worked myself to the bone, I haven’t always achieved my financial goals. Can I get some help? I took out a student loan to finish college. It would be so helpful if I could get some help to pay it off. See, my daughters have had major medical issues for over 11 years and the money I planned to use to pay off the student loan went to pay off their medical bills.
Santa, my best friend and wife is in the hospital right now fighting for her life. I don’t know how I am going to pay for it all. I could really use some help to be prepared for the financial implications to come.
Santa, I know that I asked for an awful lot. I promise to do my best to help others too, but this year I don’t know how to help myself very well. Please send help.
I love you Santa! The bells really do ring for me, it’s just I have gotten a little tired over the years and so I forget to listen.
All my love,
Bishop knew help wouldn’t come immediately, but for him this was about more than just a wish list.
“For some reason, writing this letter seemed like a step of hope. A step of faith,” he said.
The hope and faith that offer strength to face the future and make the little moments even more meaningful.
“The greatest blessing was when she opened her eyes. Even under the influence of intense drugs, she had a smile for me,” Bishop said.
The future is still uncertain for the Bishop family. The medical bills continue to mount. Suzie remains in the hospital. And as of a couple of weeks after the accident, their girls still hadn’t been able to visit her due to hospital rules.
“They desperately want their mom,” Bishop said. “It would truly be a Christmas miracle if Suzie came home for Christmas.”
Bishop knows most people won’t be able to help him with this specific list. But even if his letter goes unanswered, he hopes the meaning won’t go unnoticed.
“I think what I would want people to take away from my experience is to look at the people around them, that they love, and to really show them that they love them,” Bishop said. “The one thing people can do is show forth greater love. And that’s something we can do all year round.”
Donations to support Bishop's medical expenses can be made here.*
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