After suffering from a rare tissue cancer, a 4-year-old boy had decided to give up fighting the pain. Despite having a collapsed lung, the child took one final deep breath and whispered 4 last words to his mother before he quietly slipped away.
Every parent’s worst nightmare would be finding out that their child has an incurable disease, one that will eventually take their life. For Ruth Scully of Leonardtown, Maryland, that nightmare became a startling reality.
When 4-year-old Nolan was diagnosed with Metastatic Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer, Ruth knew that every minute with her little boy was one step closer to his untimely death. Understandably, her camera was soon attached to her hand, capturing the small yet precious moments with her son.
Expectedly, Nolan began losing his hair, prompting Ruth to get his head shaved. However, nothing could put a damper on the 4-year-old’s spirit. In fact, little Nolan continued to pursue his dreams in a District of Columbia hospital, including being an honorary member of several local fire departments and the Metropolitan Police Department as “Sgt. Rollin’ Nolan.”
In a bid to save Nolan, doctors performed major surgeries on the child’s brain and heart. Tragically, the cancer grew, producing large tumors that compressed his bronchial tubes and heart. Still, the brave little boy soldiered on, smiling every chance he could.
Despite Nolan’s courageous spirit, the cancer continued to spread. One day, his oncologist regrettably informed Ruth that her baby’s cancer was no longer treatable, as it had become resistant to every medical effort. Now, the plan would be to make Nolan as comfortable as possible in his final days.
Holding back tears, Ruth gathered the strength to tell Nolan that the treatments had all failed, according to her Facebook post. However, instead of being met with sorrow, she found her 4-year-old boy fearless in the face of certain death as he promised her he would eagerly wait for her in Heaven.
Ruth: Nolan Ray, what is Mommy’s job?
Nolan: To keep me SAFE!
Ruth: Honey … I can’t do that anymore here. The only way I can keep you safe is in Heaven.
Nolan: Sooooo I’ll just go to Heaven and play until you get there! You’ll come right?
Ruth: Absolutely!! You can’t get rid of Mommy that easy!!
Later, Ruth and Nolan relaxed in his hospital bed and wrote down his last wishes, which, of course, included divvying up his favorite toys, snacks, and even the popcorn shrimp he had left in the freezer, according to CNN. He also made sure to tell his mommy that he wanted everyone to be happy at his funeral.
“We laid in bed together and he sketched out how he wanted his funeral, picked his pall bearers, what he wanted people to wear, wrote down what he was leaving each of us, and even wrote down what he wanted to be remembered as… which of course was a Policeman,” Ruth explained.
Exhausted both mentally and physically, Ruth decided to take a quick shower while her son rested. Even though she was only gone a few minutes, she returned to the room to find that Nolan’s lung had collapsed, his oxygen had dropped, and he had slipped into a coma.
Although he was just moments away from death, there was just one more thing the intuitive 4-year-old knew he had to do before he went. Showcasing his incredible will, Nolan woke from his coma for just a moment to complete one last task before he passed away.
“They said ‘Ruth, he’s in a deep sleep. He can’t feel anything.’ 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,” Ruth explained. “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 pm Sgt. Rollin Nolan Scully passed away as I was singing ‘You are My Sunshine’ in his ear.”
Miraculously, Nolan ensured that his family would be left with the greatest parting gift he could possibly give. It is these 4 little words that will stick with Ruth until she reunites with her son in Heaven.
Ruth revealed that Nolan spent his last day doing what he loved — watching “Peppa Pig” on YouTube, shooting Nerf guns, and smiling.
Although Ruth found it difficult to address the thousands of supporters who journeyed with Nolan on his medical quest, she found the strength to pour her heart out in a tragically beautiful post. Unsurprisingly, the post went viral, with hundreds of thousands of people sharing her sincere words.
“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 on Facebook. “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.”
Even though Nolan only spent four short years on this earth, his life has positively impacted more individuals than most people do in a lifetime. Even after death, the child’s testimony provides inspiration to thousands who continue to read his mother’s updates.
No one should ever have to go through the pain of losing a child, especially under such circumstances. However, the last moments that Ruth had with Nolan showcase his selfless love and remarkable courage, which have undeniably kept his mother going.