Herman Iyoupe believes his late wife Patricia is the reason he's $1 million richer.

The Atlantic 49 winner from Eastern Passage, N.S., said the day before his wife of 46½ years died of lung cancer almost a year ago, she told him she would make sure he won.

"She said to me, 'You know what? I'm going to make sure you that win the lottery because every draw you say you're going to win it and every draw, people pick [on] you,'" Iyoupe said.

"She said, 'I'm going to make sure when I die,' and I said, 'Please don't say that.' She said, 'But it's going to happen.' So she said, 'When I die, I'm going to make sure that you win the lottery so they won't laugh at you anymore.'"

'The machine went crazy'

On Dec. 3, the morning after the six winning numbers were announced, Iyoupe picked up a printout of the winning numbers and went to look at them while he had a coffee at Tim Hortons. It was there he realized he'd won the big prize.

Iyoupe said he then drove to Bridgewater, N.S., where he bought the ticket.

"I said to buddy, I said, 'I believe I won a million dollars.' And he kind of said, 'Yeah, right.' So I said, 'Nah, I'm only jokin' with you.' He went and he punched it in and the machine went crazy," said Iyoupe.

"I think he was shocked more than ... I was."

Iyoupe then started calling his family to tell them the news. At first, he said they didn't believe him.

Plans for his prize

"Nobody believed me until after I said, 'You don't have to believe me, but it's true,'" said Iyoupe.

Now that he has the money, Iyoupe said he plans to retire from his dump truck driving job and make some improvements to his home. He's also planning a special trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica — a place his wife always wanted to visit — to spread some of her ashes.

"I think she's smiling down on me right now and glad," said Iyoupe. "The first thing I done when I found out that I won, I said, 'Thank you, God. Will you give my wife a hug and a kiss and tell her that I love her?'"

With files from Melissa Friedman