I’m sure many of us have had loved ones we know battle cancer. It’s heartwrenching enough to watch someone you love dearly go through the fight against cancer, especially when it involves a lot of ups and downs with radation or chemotherapy treatment which is meant to help fight this ugly disease. It certainly takes a big toll on the patient’s body.
As I said, it’s very hard to watch anyone go through this battle with cancer, but it’s extremely harder to watch if the battle involves young children, especially toddlers. I can only imagine what that child or parent would feel like. As a parent, to have your young toddler go through the process and feel helpless, you would have to put a lot of faith in the Lord, that he knew what the ‘plan’ was for that child. And have faith knowing that whatever happened, it was meant to be.
As a mother, who at one time had a couple toddlers, I can’t imagine having a feeling of helplessness on one hand, and struggling to keep the faith on the other hand, knowing the end was near for your child or toddler. Then later, after letting go… having a simple object, like a bath rug, bring comfort to you. Here’s the heartbreaking story.
Ruth Scully never knew how devastating the sight of her bath rug could be every time she walked into her bathroom. To anybody else, the bathroom rug would appear to be an ordinary rug, incapable of triggering any type of emotional response.
For Ruth, the rug represented her son’s love and need for her. Nolan Scully never wanted to far from his mother as he battled a rare soft tissue cancer, so he would lie on the rug waiting for his mom to be finished showering.
It all started with a stuffy nose, to which most parents would not pay much attention. Stuffy noses are usually no big deal. But for Nolan, it would lead to a devastating diagnosis.
Once he was snoring and having obvious trouble breathing at night, his parents took him to the doctor. Subsequently, Nolan became to used to antibiotics, saline spray, steam, and a humidifier to treat a supposed sinus infection.
When those treatments did not help, a specialist noted that Nolan had swollen adenoids that would need to be surgically removed along with his tonsils. In November 2015, he underwent this surgery.
His adenoid tissue was tested and revealed that Nolan had rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a soft tissue cancer. Suddenly, this 3-year-old boy’s life became centered on chemotherapy, radiation, and many tests.
Those who knew Nolan, and even those who did not personally know him, prayed for a miracle that he would become cancer free. On Feb. 4, 2017, Nolan was ready to end his battle with cancer and passed away with the eager expectation of going to heaven.
There is nothing a parent can do to prepare or “be ready” to let their young child go from this earth. Yet, Ruth realized that it was time when her son’s entire medical team, with clear pain in their eyes, sat the family down to discuss making Nolan as comfortable as possible and ending treatments.
When Ruth told Nolan that he did not have to fight anymore, he was obviously happy, yet concerned, because he did not want to let down his mom. She realized that her son had been holding on for herself, so she told him that the only way she can keep him safe is in heaven.
Nolan wanted to go to heaven and play as he waited for his mom to join him someday. Nolan’s family was ready to take him home from the hospital, hoping for one night with him, but he gently placed his little hand on his mother’s and said, “Mommy, it’s okay. Let’s just stay here, okay?”
At one point over the course of the next 36 hours, Ruth told her son that she wanted to shower for a few seconds and asked if it was OK for her to leave his side for a few moments. By the time she came out the shower, she was told that Nolan fell into a deep sleep with oxygen levels dropping.
She jumped into bed with her son, and he miraculously awoke from his coma to say four words before letting go. Nolan smiled, opened his eyes, and said, “I love you, Mommy.”
Something tells me that that simple bath rug where Nolan once laid in his final hours will be a special reminder to Ruth of their special bond and short life together here on earth. But how wonderful for Ruth to have her little boy awoken to say those four words…..’I Love You, Mommy.’
No parent is prepared for a child’s death. Parents are simply not supposed to outlive their children. I think it’s important to remember that how long a child lived really doesn’t always determine the size of that loss to his/her parents. That loss is going to be profound at any age.
Ruth will probably grieve for the hopes and dreams she had for Nolan. She will wonder about even his potential that will never be realized…at least at this moment in time for her life. Her loss and pain will always be a big part of who she is. It will define her moving forward. But moving forward, is what Ruth will need to do in order to experience happiness and true meaning in her life in her future.
What a heartbreaking story. It’s stories like these that make you appreciate the special ones in your life each and every day. Cherish those who are special to you, each and every day. For each day on earth, is a gift from God. Only God knows, how long our time on earth is.
So be grateful, be kind and be generous to others, because you haven’t walked in their shoes and you have no idea what they’ve been through or they’re going through. If you see someone having a difficult time, share a hug with them, it may make that moment in their life, just a little bit easier to get through.
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