When St. Louis police officer Blake Snyder, 33, was killed in the line of duty in October, he left behind his wife, Elizabeth, and their 2-year-old son, Malachi.
Last week, a company named Thea's Blessing Bears sent little Malachi a precious gift: owner Thea Gain made two teddy bears for Malachi out of his father's police uniforms at the request of another police wife from Granite City, Illinois, who prefers to go unrecognized. "She wanted us to have a piece of Blake with us, always," Elizabeth Snyder told TODAY Parents.
Snyder posted a picture of Malachi with his new teddy bears on her Facebook page.
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Snyder, 25, told TODAY Parents that she and Malachi are staying busy to cope with their grief. "Blake was my best friend and my partner in everything," said Snyder. "Being a single parent is very tough, but still rewarding. Malachi is Blake's legacy and will always know just exactly what his father did for not only him, but also his community."
When her husband was laid to rest October 13, thousands of St. Louis residents mourned alongside Snyder and her family members, several of whom are also active or retired police officers. At the time, Snyder wrote in a viral Facebook post that her pain was "unbearable and unending" and called little Malachi "the hope in my heartache."
"He is the reason I get up each day. The reason I keep it together as best I can. The reason I push through," Snyder wrote.
She thanked their St. Louis, Missouri, community for its love and support, noting, "Because of you, Malachi will ALWAYS know who his father was. Blake will never be forgotten, and Malachi will truly know how much the community loves him and cared for him."
Snyder told TODAY Parents their community continues to lift her and her son up and help them get through their pain. "What has surprised me the most is just how amazing our community has been," she said. "They have come out in droves for us and still continue to support us. I had no idea how big my family was, blood and blue. We couldn't be more grateful."