‘He said, ‘I know she can’t go home,’ and was quiet the rest of the ride. Dad couldn’t get his coat off fast enough. He sat beside her, so happy to see her, saying how much he loved her.’

“She was staring straight ahead. That didn’t matter to him. He was back with his Mary Jane. I noticed it was quiet. I look over and Dad is laying on her shoulder sobbing – not crying, sobbing. After my tears started, I went in their bathroom wanted to scream. So these are the golden years?”

‘At 19, I’d fallen in love with my childhood boyfriend. Who was dying. And he’d fallen in love with me. We valued every aspect of the cliché ‘live each day like it’s your last.’

“Dating consisted of watching movies from a remote-controlled bed. Holding a bucket while he got sick day in and day out. Wrapping him in warm blankets while working on my college assignments against the window. We vowed to do every thing, side-by-side, for every day after. The thought of that still wrecks me to my core.”

‘Royce had been playing on the bed. He fell. We ran up to see a stranger doing CPR on our perfect 20-month-old nephew’: Family keeps faith after losing nephew from tragic fall

“My husband always says, ‘It’s going to be okay. My husband dropped to his knees. I could hear the sirens. I grabbed and hugged my sister-in-law, trying to face her away from the horror. We were all in the worst kind of shock. This was not happening, not Royce. It could not be our perfect Royce.”

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