"That's not what she would want" After tragic loss, widower dete - | WBTV Charlotte

"That's not what she would want" After tragic loss, widower determined to celebrate Christmas for his two boys

(Sarah-Blake Morgan/WBTV) (Sarah-Blake Morgan/WBTV)
(WBTV) -

Walk into the Stiles house in East Charlotte and you'll feel Christmas right away.

The tree twinkles next to four red stockings hanging from a mantle with names painted on them in glitter. It's hard for Jeff Stiles to celebrate when one of those names has been taken from him.

"It's almost like it's been a whole lifetime wrapped up in one year," he said.

Years ago, Jeff and his wife Tracy divorced after 12 years of marriage. But the couple found their way back together this past Father's Day.

With their 11 and eight-year-old boys, Jeff's family was finally whole.

"God says he would never put more on me than I could handle," he said.

On Oct. 9, 2017, Tracy was in a terrible accident while driving on Albemarle Road. Jeff was on the phone when it happened.

"It's really hard for me because I heard her take her last breath," he said. 

In an instant, Jeff became both dad and mom for Devin and Trevor. 

"Whenever I had to tell them that they wont be able to touch or smell or see their momma or talk to her anymore. I told them just because they can't see her, doesn't mean she's not there, and anytime they want to hug their momma just come up to me because I am their mom and their dad now," Jeff said. 

Getting into the Christmas spirit is easy when life is perfect. Yet there is no lack of cheer inside Jeff's home. 

"I can dwell on things and get hung up and not be able to move forward in life but that's not what she would want," he said.

Jeff works hard on the second shift as an auto body technician and with help from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree he's determined to give his boys Christmas as it should be.

"You hit it head on. That's what I do, I hit it head on. I have no other choice," Jeff said. "I don't do it. God does it for me".

The Salvation Army will be distributing gifts to qualified families starting next week.  In total, they expect to help nearly 11 thousand children.

To donate, visit here.

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