How Online Strangers Made A Grieving Mother Smile This Christmas

Angela McElhiney was left overwhelmed after scores of Redditors took some time out on Christmas to help her relive her late son’s last recorded memory.


It might not seem this way most of the time, but here is a gentle reminder that there is still some hope for humanity. Surprisingly, we as humans are not as far gone as it sometimes appears to be.

Oklahoma resident Angela McElhiney lost her 15-year-old son, Nathan James McElhiney, earlier this year in October. The teen, who was a star student and aimed to perform on Broadway, committed suicide exactly a month and a day before his 16th birthday.

“Nathan attended Ardmore schools his whole life and was currently a sophomore at Ardmore High School,” read his obituary. “He was ranked first in his sophomore class.  He enjoyed participating in Drama Club, Debate Club, and at The Brass Ring, performing and singing with the Broadway Kids.  He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he worshiped and volunteered.”

Since it was the family’s first Christmas without Nathan, it was bound to be a sad affair. However, thanks to the generosity and kindness of some complete strangers on the internet, the family — particularly the grieving mother — was able to relive one of the last recorded memories of the late teen.

Recently, McElhiney posted a video of her son singing “Wayfaring Stranger” on YouTube.

“It's about someone going, basically, to heaven,” she said.

Sadly, the video was recorded in school gymnasium and had a bad sound quality. Therefore, McElhiney decided to share the link on Reddit in hopes that people might suggest some tips to improve the audio or refer her to companies that might help her out.

“It was such a bad recording and I just wanted to be able to hear him better," the mother explained. “Right now, I feel like it's very therapeutic because I feel like it's the journey he's taking.”

The post soon drew attention from Redditors, who showered McElhiney with messages of condolences, best wishes, words of kindness … and most surprising of all, the remixed and edited versions of her son’s gospel performance.

“There were a lot of people who said 'I don't really know what I'm doing, but here's my best shot at it,'” the mother added.

For instance, someone from the Netherlands sent her this:

In total, she received over 20 samples.

“I never expected so much kindness and so many people taking time out of their day,” McElhiney said. “We can't express our gratitude enough.”

Thumbnail Credits: Reuters

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