When Nolan faced the culmination of his battle for survival, his thoughts veered towards faith rather than dwelling on the prospect of death. Understanding that his time was drawing near, he assured his mother, Ruth, that he would patiently await her in Heaven.
Young Nolan Scully was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer, at the tender age of 3. Following his diagnosis, the Scully family initiated a Facebook page to document the highs and lows of his arduous journey.
Nolan aspired to follow in the footsteps of his father, Jonathan, a firefighter, and become a police officer to serve his community. Jonathan, stepping back from his duties upon his son’s diagnosis, witnessed Nolan’s dream come true during his hospital stay when the city’s Police Commissioner made him an honorary police officer. On that special day, he was dubbed Sergeant Rollin’ Nolan.
It’s difficult to fathom the emotional turmoil the family underwent upon receiving this heart-wrenching news. Yet, in those final moments, Nolan’s reaction highlighted the purity and strength of his faith. He faced death without fear, reassuring his mother that he would wait for her in Heaven.
During the days preceding Nolan’s passing, his mother engaged in heartfelt conversations with him:
Mom: Sweetheart, it hurts to breathe, doesn’t it?
Nolan: Well… yeah.
Mom: You’re in a lot of pain, aren’t you, baby?
Nolan: (looking down) Yeah.
Mom: Darling, this cancer is awful. You don’t have to fight anymore.
Nolan: (Pure Happiness) I DON’T??!! But I will for you, Mommy!!
Mom:: No, sweetheart! Is that what you’ve been doing? Fighting for Mommy?
Nolan: Well, DUH!!
Mom: Nolan Ray, what is Mommy’s job?
Nolan: To keep me SAFE! (With a big grin)
Mom: 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?
Mom: 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 time they had left, the 4-year-old and his family cherished each other’s presence, finding joy in each moment. Nolan especially cherished having his mother close, being able to see and hold her.
On his last day, Ruth was granted a moment to take a quick shower. Shortly after she closed the bathroom door, Nolan closed his eyes and entered a deep sleep, marking the beginning of the end of his life, she recounted.
Emerging from the shower, Ruth found her son surrounded by his entire medical team. While she was in the shower, her son had slipped into a coma, and his lungs had collapsed.
“I ran and jumped into bed with him and placed my hand on the right side of his face. Then a miracle I will forever cherish transpired. My angel took a breath, opened his eyes, smiled at me, and said ‘I Love You, Mommy.’ He turned his head towards me, and at 11:54 pm, Sgt. Rollin Nolan Scully passed away as I sang ‘You are My Sunshine’ in his ear.”
In sharing memories of Nolan online, his mother included a side-by-side photograph of the bathroom floor, reminding everyone of Nolan’s fondness for lying on the bathmat outside the shower.