When April and Owen Beaver's 16-year-old son, Caleb, suddenly passed away last Christmas, they thought they would never hear his heartbeat again.
But on Thursday, the grieving couple from Saucier, Mississippi, were given a chance to reconnect with their boy when they met the man who received his heart.
The emotional encounter took place in a Mississippi airport, where the Beaver family came face-to-face with Charles Shelton, his wife, Amy, and their two sons.
Caleb had a condition known as arteriovenous malformation, which causes defects in the circulatory system that develop either before a baby is born or shortly after, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
His parents were not aware that anything was amiss with their athletic, musically gifted son until he suddenly fell ill on December 23 while they were away in Arkansas.
The 16-year-old boy suffered two strokes and was flown to Memphis for treatment, but he slipped into a coma, and soon after doctors told his parents he was brain-dead. Caleb was taken off life support two days later.
The devastated parents of the teen who had dreamed of becoming a doctor one day honored his memory by donating his heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas and even skin tissue.
Thousands of miles away, Charles Shelton, a psychiatrist from Kentucky, had been diagnosed with an inflammatory disease that causes the formation of clumps of cells similar to scar tissue in his heart.
He waited months to hear about a donor heart, and on December 26, he received Caleb's heart.
Shelton wrote a letter to the Beavers, saying that he wanted to meet them in person to thank them for the life-saving gift.
As fate would have it, the 'thank you' letter arrived in the Beaver family's Saucier home the next day after Caleb's mother prayed for a sign to feel close to her son again, according to WLOX.
'I was talking to God and crying out and I asked God to let me have a dream or something. I wanted to feel close to Caleb's heart. I wanted to hear his heart beat,' April Beaver recalled.
Miracle: April Beaver said she prayed for God to give her a sign from Caleb and let her hear his heart beat one day before getting a letter from Shelton
The two families began communicating, and on Thursday, they met for the first time in the terminal of Gulfport Biloxi International Airport. Although they have never seen each other before, Mrs Beaver and Shelton embraced and wept together like old friends.
The Beavers then pulled out a stethoscope to hear their son's heartbeat coming from Shelton's chest.
'That's Caleb,' April Beaver said as she listened to the familiar sound and sobbed. 'Yes, that's Caleb. It's very strong.'
The mother said that is what her son would have wanted.
'It's a gift and it's just indescribable,' Shelton told WLOX.
'This heart is amazing. It's given me life so I can be with my wife and boys. Caleb still lives through me. Caleb's in heaven, but he's still here,' he later told his hometown paper.
However, both families have agreed that this moment was bittersweet.
'It's kind of like the dream meets the nightmare,' Amy Shelton said. 'It's hard for them, and I can see their pain.'