— -- Even after his death, Mitchell Whisenhunt has found a way to surprise and bring comfort to his wife and young daughter, with a trove of letters he designated to be opened on certain dates.
Whisenhunt, who would have turned 27 next week, lost his battle with Marfan syndrome last Saturday. The rare genetic disorder affects the body's connective tissue, which is used to hold together organs, cells and tissue.
Ashley Whisenhunt, 22, cared for her husband until his death but said she was astonished when she discovered the 30 letters he left for her and their 18-month-old daughter, Brynleigh.
The little girl will grow up with a letter every year from her second to 18th birthdays from a man she didn't get to spend much time with but who left no doubt that he loved her unconditionally.
"Through his testimony, there is so much she is going to learn," Whisenhunt told ABC News.
One letter was also addressed to their Longview, Texas, community, thanking them for their support.
"It just blows my mind," Whisenhunt said of her husband's secret gesture. "He thought about everybody else instead of himself."
Whisenhunt said she would respect her husband's wishes and open each letter as he planned, however there was one special surprise left for her that she said hit her the hardest.
In a spiral notebook that Whisenhunt used before she dropped out of college to care for her husband, he wrote a letter to her asking that she publish a book of poetry he had had written.
"He is all I ever had," Whisenhunt said of the man she fell in love with as a teenager. "We have been together since before we knew what love and life was about."
Mitchell Whisenhunt planned his own funeral, and as his wife raises money to pay for it, she said she can't help but wonder what other surprises her husband has in store.
"There are ones we still don't know about," she said. "The funeral director said he couldn't tell me. It was Mitchell's plan and secret."