Terminally Ill Nashville Boy’s Last Wish Was to See Santa Claus, Dies In His Arms

A terminally ill boy’s last wish for Christmas was to meet Santa Claus, he later died in his arms, the New York Post is reporting.

The five year old from Nashville was minutes away from death when a nurse called Eric Schmitt-Matzen to come and see the boy, “right now.” Schmitt-Matzen, a mechanical engineer by profession doubled as Father Christmas during the Yuletide season, getting over 80 gigs every year, rushed to the local hospital.

According to him, he did not have the time to change into his regular outfit because he was told there was no time for that. However, the 60-year-old still looked the part with his protruding belly, red suspenders and lengthy white beard. When he got there, the nurse was waiting with a gift for the boy.

Schmitt-Matzen, president of Packing Seals and Engineering in Jacksboro revealed that the boy’s mother had bought a PAW Patrol toy and wanted Santa Claus to give the present to the little boy. Santa Claus quickly sized up the situation and told everyone around that if anyone was going to cry, it would not be advisable to enter the room with him. He said it would make his job even more difficult.

No one entered the room with him, everyone watched from a hallway window in the Intensive Care Unit.

Schmitt-Matzen said he entered the room and saw the boy still on the bed. The boy, upon seeing Santa Claus, perked up and struggled to open the present handed to him. Despite his young age, the boy had realized that his illness was terminal and was concerned of where he will end up in the afterlife.

“They say I’m gonna die. How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?”

The 60-year-old tried to lift the child’s spirit, downplaying that his death was near.

“There’s no way you can miss Christmas. Why, you’re my number one elf… when you get there, you tell ’em you’re Santa’s number one elf, and they’ll let you in.”

The boy gave Santa a last hug with huge relief and died in his arms.

Schmitt-Matzen said he was still in the process of speaking soothing words to the boy when he died. The boy’s mom ran into the room moments later, screaming at the top of her lungs that he was not meant to go just yet. Many of the hospital staff broke down into tears.

Schmitt-Matzen watery-eyed, said he found it difficult to let go of him.

“I wrapped my arms around him. Before I could say anything, he died right there. I let him stay, kept hugging and holding on to him.”

According to him, he cried all the way home and had a difficult time seeing well enough to drive. Schmitt-Matzen said he was penciled to go and visit his grandchildren the next day with his wife, but was a “basket case for three days.” Despite spending four years in the army and seeing his own fair share of “stuff,” the 60 year-old said that moment made him want to stop being Santa Claus.

“It took me a week or two to stop thinking about it all the time. Actually, I thought I might crack up and never be able to play the part again.”

However, he eventually picked himself up. He said that when he came across other children overjoyed with seeing Father Christmas it brought him back into the fold and made him realize that he had an important role to play in their lives.

While a boy’s last dying wish was to meet Santa, David Grisham Jr. was spreading the message that Father Christmas was not real. According to WFAA, the Texas pastor had approached children waiting in line to see the jolly man in red at a mall and told them he was an impostor.

He said that Christmas was about Jesus Christ and not the man in red and white with the bushy beard. He told parents to stop lying to their children. In a video, he pointed out that the emphasis should be Jesus Christ born on that day 2,016 years ago and that he died on the cross for all sins.

[Featured Image by Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock]