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Mom’s Photos Show the Heartbreaking Side of Childhood Cancer

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(Facebook / nolanscully)

Parenting a sick child is incredibly hard. But when your child loses their battle with illness, the pain must be unbearable. Ruth Scully, mom to a little boy named Nolan Scully, gave those of us who don’t know the pain of losing a child a glimpse into what that pain is like. Brace yourself for absolute heartbreak, because Scully’s raw and honest images and stories will break your heart. Nolan Scully was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer in 2015.

He lost his battle with the disease in February of this year.

He was only four years old. Since his death Ruth had been sharing photos of Nolan and telling stories about his on his Nolan Strong Facebook page.

In the most gutwrenching post that she has shared since Nolan’s passing, Ruth Scully shared a before and after photo of her bathroom shower. In one photo, Nolan is laying on the bathmat, waiting for his mom to finish showering. He didn’t like to be far from her, and would keep her company while she showered. In the second photo, there is nothing there but an empty bathmat. Ruth goes on to talk about the last few days of Nolan’s life.

“Two months. Two months since I’ve held you in my arms, heard how much you loved me, kissed those sweetie “pie” lips. Two months since we’ve snuggled. Two months of pure absolute Hell,” she begins the post. She then tells that after Nolan not eating or drinking yet continuously vomiting for days they went to the hospital. She describes the “pure pain” in the eyes of his oncologist as she told them that the cancer was rapidly spreading and at that point the only thing they could do would be to just keep Nolan comfortable as he eventually passed away. She also shared a snippet of the conversation they had after the talk with the medical team.


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!!

Over the next few days in the hospital (Nolan didn’t want to go home so that his care was easier on his mother,) Nolan and Ruth played, watched YouTube and spent as much time together as possible. On the night of February 4th, around 9pm, Ruth asked Nolan if it was okay for her to go shower in his hospital room, since she would have to get out of bed and they wouldn’t be able to sit touching. He agreed to watch the door while she showered as quickly as she could.

When she got out of the shower, she came out to see his entire team surrounding him. He had fallen into a deep sleep, and his right lung had collapsed. When Ruth placed her hand on her sweet son’s cheek he opened his eyes and smiled. “I Love You Mommy” he said, and passed away with his mom singing “You Are My Sunshine” to him.

After imploring people to do better in terms of cancer research she shared her picture with the caption: “Below is a picture that seemed to grab everyone’s attention because my son was terrified to leave my side, even as I showered. 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.”

Oof…