4-year-old Nolan looked up at his mother and said, “Mommy, I love you.” And as his mother’s tears fell down her cheeks, her little Nolan passed away.
Just the year before, Nolan was diagnosed with a rare soft-tissue cancer. And it was a roller coaster ride of high and lows before, ultimately, going downhill for good. He would battle, and he would bounce back, and so many times he would carry a smile across his young face. He was a warrior, they would say… getting knocked down only to bounce back.
Nolan wanted so badly to grow up and serve the community of Leonardtown, Maryland, just like his dad. Nolan wanted to be a policeman. And because of his son’s terrible illness, Jonathan his dad stepped down from his position as volunteer fire chief. He had to focus on his son’s well-being. While Nolan was hospitalized, the city’s police commissioner swore him in as an hononary police officer. Some fire departments then made him an honorary firefighter.
Nolan’s doctors tried desperately to save his life. But they couldn’t. The tumors inside his small body were spreading rapidly and the cancer had become resistant to all the treatments. The only thing anyone could do now was keep him as comfortable as possible.
So Nolan’s mom, Ruth, sat down with him and talked to him. She asked him what her job was. And he told her it was to keep him safe. Ruth took a deep breath and told him that she could not do that here any more… that she would have to do that in heaven. Nolan told her he would wait for her when he got there. Ruth then went to take a quick shower, and Nolan slipped into a coma.
When she returned from the shower, Nolan’s medical team was gathered around him, many with tears in their eyes. As Ruth jumped into his bed and put her hand on his face, something very special happened. Nolan took a breath, opened his eyes and smiled at her. He then said, “I love you, mommy,” and his eyes shut for the final time.
Sleep in peace, young officer. Sleep in peace.