For New Jersey resident Patricia Kelly, her dying wish was simple: the 78-year-old just wanted to see the ocean one last time.
That wish became a reality due to a New Jersey police officer with a heart of gold, who volunteered to drive Kelly right up to the water before she soon loses her battle with leukemia.
“That’s been my spot since I was a little girl,” Kelly told ABC News. “Every year we went to the ocean…and I just loved it.”
In December, Kelly was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was given only there to six months to live, according to her granddaughter, Lauren Corbin.
Kelly’s family wanted to do something to honor their matriarch, so her daughter-in-law, Stephanie Corbin, rented a beach house in Ship Bottom, New Jersey big enough to accommodate 11 women.
Included in the guest list were Kelly’s best friends, her daughters-in-law and her grandchildren.
The group arrived at the beach house on Friday with an itinerary filled with some of Kelly’s favorite things as well as some items from her bucket list, including games, meals, bonding, sharing stories, movies and music sing-a-long, Lauren Corbin said.
They also participated in a Polar Bear Plunge at the beach and sent out Chinese Wishing Lanterns in the air and messages in a bottle in the sea.
“The whole thing couldn’t have been any more perfect than if it had been scripted,” Kelly said.
But, the logistics for the main event – Kelly’s trip to the sandy beach – proved a tad bit difficult. Due to Kelly’s failing health, she wouldn’t have been able to make the walk out to the water without quickly losing her breath.
Enter Ship Bottom Police Officer Ron Holloway, who, despite the frigid 20-degree weather, volunteered to drive an SUV filled with Kelly and her friends and family right to the waves. Holloway even joined in on beachside prayer circle formed by the group.
Stephanie Corbin described Holloway as a “gentleman” as well as “humble and kind.”
“Anyone could’ve given us a ride,” she said. “But…he was just so compassionate. He just went above and beyond.”
When a family friend visited the beach house for an impromptu music session, Stephanie Corbin recalled the moment her mother-in-law stopped him during his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s
“Hallelujah” to request that he play the classic at her funeral.
“Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” Corbin said.
But, Kelly is determined to enjoy her last days on earth and leave a good impression for her kids, she said.
“I’m not afraid of dying,” she said. “I’m not scared. I feel like I’ve led a good life, and I’m OK with that. I mean, you can’t live forever.”
The group of females – drawn together by their love for Kelly – plan to make the beach outing a yearly tradition to honor her.
(H/T: ABC News)
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