Ruth Scully had a strange feeling when she brought her son, Nolan, into the hospital earlier this year that something more was wrong with her child battling cancer than just a lingering colon infection. Sadly, her mother's instincts were right, and that last trip to the hospital would mark the beginning of 4-year-old Nolan's final days. In a heart-shattering post to Facebook two months after his Feb. 4 death, Ruth recounted the events of those last days with him, and her story will make you hug your kids a little bit tighter tonight.
Ruth says her little boy, who was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 3, has been a hero, fighting cancer with a smile on his face. However, when his cancer began resisting treatments, Nolan and Ruth both knew that the fighting was taking its toll and the toddler was exhausted. A few days before his passing, Ruth had a heartbreaking conversation with her son and realized that her brave little guy was fighting for his mommy.
Me: Poot, it hurts to breathe doesn't it?
Nolan: Weeeelll . . . yeah.
Me: You're in a lot of pain aren't you baby?
Nolan (looking down): Yeah.
Me: Poot, this cancer stuff sucks. You don't have to fight anymore.
Nolan (pure happiness): I DONT??!! But I will for you Mommy!!
Me: No Poot!! Is that what you have been doing?? Fighting for Mommy??
Nolan: Well, DUH!!
Me: Nolan Ray, what is Mommy's job?
Nolan: To keep me SAFE! (With a big grin.)
Me: Honey, I can't do that anymore here. The only way I can keep you safe is in heaven. (My heart shattering.)
Nolan: Sooooo I'll just go to heaven and play until you get there! You'll come right?
Me: Absolutely!! You can't get rid of Mommy that easy!!
Nolan: Thank you Mommy!!! I'll go play with Hunter and Brylee and Henry!!
In the days following, Nolan deteriorated quickly. Although Ruth had planned to take him home for one more night, Nolan suggested just staying at the hospital. "My 4-year-old hero was trying to make sure things were easy for me," Ruth wrote.
Over the next 36 hours, Nolan spent time watching YouTube videos on his tablet, shooting Nerf guns, and even creating a "will" listing all of the things he was leaving for his loved ones, who he wanted to be the pallbearers at his funeral, and what he wanted to be remembered as: a policeman.
At around 9 p.m. on the night of Feb. 4, Ruth asked Nolan if she could take a quick shower, as her son had not wanted her to leave his side at all. He reluctantly agreed and turned over in bed to face the bathroom while she was gone.
They said the moment the bathroom door clicked he shut his eyes and went into a deep sleep, beginning the end of life passing. When I opened the bathroom door, his team was surrounding his bed and every head turned and looked at me with tears in their eyes. They said: "Ruth, he's in a deep sleep. He can't feel anything." His respiratiions were extremely labored, his right lung had collapsed, and his oxygen dropped.
I ran and jumped into bed with him and put my hand on the right side of his face. Then a miracle that I will never forget happened. My angel took a breath, opened his eyes, smiled at me and said, "I love you, Mommy," turned his head towards me, and at 11:54 p.m. Sgt. Rollin' Nolan Scully passed away as I was singing "You Are My Sunshine" in his ear. He woke up out of a coma to say he loved me with a smile on his face!
My son died a hero. . . . I look at everything he accomplished in four short years and can only think of what he could've accomplished with a longer life. But sadly, because of childhood cancer, the world and our family will miss out on someone so full of love.
Ruth ends her gut-wrenching story, touching upon the photo she selected for the post. "Below is a picture that seemed to grab everyone's attention because my son was terrified to leave my side, even as I showered," she wrote. "Now I'm the one terrified to shower. With nothing but an empty shower rug now where once a beautiful, perfect little boy laid waiting for his mommy."