A mother from Leonardtown, Maryland, Ruth Scully, shared her last moments with her son Nolan before he died from terminal cancer. Nolan, a four-year-old boy, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects soft tissue.
Nolan died two months ago, on February 4, and Scully recently shared a photo collage on Facebook detailing her last precious moments with her son and offering insight into the terrible reality of childhood cancer.
She shared the post because she wanted to share Nolan’s last day and let people know how amazing and beautiful her son was.
Heartbreaking photos show Nolan’s love for his mother
On the photo collage, the first picture shows Nolan lying on the bathroom floor in a bathmat while she showered, as she explains that he refused to leave her side, not even for a few moments. The second picture Scully posted shows the same bathmat, but it’s empty, as it was taken two months after her son’s death.
“Now I’m terrified to shower,” wrote Scully on the post. “With nothing but an empty shower rug now where once a beautiful perfect little boy laid waiting for his Mommy.”
Since she shared the pictures on April 4, the story has been shared over 620,000 times on social media. Scully talked to CNN about the post, and she said that she believes that the picture grabbed many people because it’s real, as any parent has seen their children laying on the floor before.
She explained that it took her two months until she was ready to write the post, but Ruth felt that she owed it to the people who had kept up with Nolan’s story.
“He read every comment anyone would leave him. I felt like Nolan would have wanted to talk to his friends and tell them what happened,” said Scully.
The story received over 147,000 comments from people around the U.S. and the world, with people also saying their stories of children fighting cancer like Nolan did. Scully says that when the post went viral, she couldn’t help to think that’s what he wanted.
Scully described Nolan as a protector, who always helped those around him. She recalls that even when Nolan was at the hospital, he would leave his room to comfort other children who were scared or crying. Scully believes that maybe Nolan’s purpose was to help people deal with their problems, even in death.
Nolan spent over a year in treatment for his disease, and even though doctors could remove a tumor completely, the cancer spread to his lungs. After running out of treatment alternatives, Scully decided to make Nolan’s last days as comfortable as possible.
She says that although the situation was terrible, Nolan was optimistic the whole time. He even left instructions for his funeral, and he told his mother that he wanted people to be happy at his burial. The little boy even wrote his will, where he divided his belongings among his loved ones. Members of his family received his favorite stuffed animals, his cheese balls and the popcorn shrimp he left in the freezer.
Nolan told his mother he loved her before passing away
Scully wrote on the post that during his final 36 hours they played together, watched YouTube, shot Nerf guns and smiled as many times as they could. She also wrote one of the last conversations she had with her son, in which Nolan’s mom told him that the only way she could keep him safe now was in heaven, as she couldn’t keep him safe anymore.
In the last hours, Scully went to take a shower, and when she came out, a medical team surrounded her son, as he had slipped into a coma. Scully stood by his side, and something incredible happened: her son took a deep breath, despite having a collapsed lung, opened his eyes and said: “I love you, mommy.” Nolan died shortly after that.
Scully hopes that sharing Nolan’s story will help people learn from the legacy he left behind.
“Nolan showed everyone how people should be treated, and how you should take care of one another. He was made of nothing but love and goodness,” said Scully.
She recalls that after Nolan died, his oncologist told her something that she’ll never forget: that they didn’t fail him, medicine did. Scully also hopes that the case serves as a wake-up call to raise awareness.