Reflective Light by Nicole The Seaman family, including Wesley (third from right)
When oncology nurse Tricia Seaman's patient learned that her cancer had spread and she only had months to live, Seaman did her best to console her.
But on that afternoon in March 2014, Trish Somers didn't want to be consoled. The 45-year-old single mom — whose life revolved around her then-8-year-old son Wesley — was focused on something else.
As she sat in her bed at UPMC Community Osteopathic Hospital in Harrisburg, Penn., Somers looked at the nurse — whom she'd only met three weeks earlier — and pleaded, "I want you to take care of my son when I die."
All these years later, Seaman and her husband Dan have fulfilled the request from a dying woman who became family and forever changed their lives.
The couple not only took Somers into their home, where she spent the final months of her life before dying in December 2014 from a rare vascular cancer — known as epithelioid hemangioendothelioma — but they also added Wesley to their family, which already included four kids.
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"It just became very clear, very fast that this is what we were meant to do," Seaman, 49, recalls in this week's PEOPLE. "We all just clicked. We just fell in love with them."
Tadpole Photography Trish Somers with son Wesley
Six years after the shellshocked boy began living with the family, the Seamans formally adopted Wesley in July 2020.
"I can't even begin to describe how lucky and blessed I am," says Wesley, now a confident, happy 16-year-old who recently got his driver's license and landed the lead in the junior class play. "I'm grateful every day that they made the decision to take us in."
These days, Wesley—who spent years in grief counseling after his mother's death—is living the life that Somers desperately wanted for her son before she died.
Courtesy Tricia Seaman Tricia Seaman and Wesley
"They mean everything to me," says Wesley, who recently got a part-time job scooping ice cream — a sweet reminder of his mother's love for milkshakes.
Adds Seaman: "He's growing up and moving on. I'm just incredibly proud of him and eternally blessed to be a small part of his journey — and it's something I'll honor until I draw my last breath."