Antonio Beatty died in a fight nine years ago and left behind a wife and young family. He was only 27.
Since then Carol Beatty has struggled to raise their children while also operating a cleaning service.
The business has lately been without clients, so she has turned to the Salvation Armys Christmas Bureau to get Christmas gifts for the two youngest children, 10-year-old Miracle and 14-year-old Promice. The bureau is providing gifts to 14,000 kids this year, paid for in part by the Observers Empty Stocking Fund.
He died when the youngest was just 2 years old, and she is constantly asking me about him, says Beatty, 44, who runs Miracle Cleaning and Janitorial Service, named after her daughter. I have a picture of him and a copy of his obituary, and Ill often walk past Miracles room and see her sitting there with his picture, reading the obituary to herself, over and over.
Antonio Beatty is missing out on the lives of two girls who work hard in school, respect their mother and are grateful for what little they have. In fact, Miracle has a habit of writing thank you notes to her mother, claiming she is the worlds great mom.
Beatty says her husbands death was a homicide that was never solved. He apparently got into an argument and toppled over the second-story banister of an apartment building, she says. Another man then fell on top of him, which contributed to his cardiac arrest, she says.
The couple had been together eight years and endured the near deaths of both Miracle and Promice when they were born.
Miracle stopped breathing for what felt like an eternity but was revived, which is how she got her name, Beatty says. Promice had a blockage in her lungs that prevented her from breathing. Beatty says her late husband was there in the room and that the family prayed together until Promice was resuscitated by doctors.
Both girls are growing into the kind of young ladies who can wear their mothers clothes, which is a blessing and a curse, Beatty says. Ill always be looking for something, and it will turn out one of my kids is wearing it. Ill be looking for my high heels, and Promice will have them at a friends house.
With luck, theyll get clothes through the Christmas Bureau, she says. Beatty stood in line for five hours to sign up the girls for gifts, which she says was worth every minute.
This program is a blessing for people like me. I have good girls, and all I want for Christmas is for them to be happy.