‘They didn’t know he was dying when they took this picture, but he did.’: Widow shares powerful reminder to ‘keep showing up’

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“You have to realize something about this picture.

This picture was posted by the police department on April 27, 2016 after my late husband Chad had given these sweet Girl Scouts a tour of the station.

I imagine how that tour went to be honest. I’m guessing they learned a lot. I’m sure they got to mess around with stuff he showed them and probably got away with playing with stuff they weren’t supposed to.

I’ll bet he locked them in the holding cell and made a joke about it. He probably let them set off the sirens. I wouldn’t even doubt he let them talk on the radio.

I am sure they left full of stories and delight and giddy from all the things they got to see and do and be part of.

And, I’m certain they laughed. Because he was really funny. Really, really funny.

And I’m sure they left hand in hand with their parents, telling them about the nice officer they met who made their day.

But what they wouldn’t tell them, because they didn’t know, was that nice officer was dying when he took that picture with them.

He was dying when he let them handcuff each other and when he let them talk on the PA system of one of the police cars, and when he said something silly that made them giggle.

They didn’t know as he stood there smiling, his organs were being attacked by tumors. They didn’t know his lungs, his kidneys, his stomach, his spleen, his spine, his shoulders, his thighs, his intestines, his abdomen – all of it was covered in cancer.

They didn’t know how much pain he was in.

They didn’t know they were the last tour he would ever give.

They didn’t know he would stop working a month later.

And, they didn’t know he would die in just fifty eight days.

But he did. He knew he was dying. He knew he didn’t have much time. He knew the seriousness of his situation. He knew these girls were not much younger than his own little beauty and I’m positive he thought about her that day, just like he did every day.

Yet, no matter how he felt when he took this picture – no matter how much he was hurting, no matter how fearful he might have been, no matter how much he knew about his fate – he still managed to smile. He still managed to be kind. He still managed to be present. He still managed to make them laugh.

And he did it without complaining, or feeling sorry for himself, or giving up.

If you need some motivation right now, friends, let this be it.

Keep showing up. Keep doing the right thing. Keep laughing. Keeping being you. Just keep on keeping on.”

Courtesy of Diana Register

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Diana Register of Meridian, Idaho. Her books “Grief Life” and “Grief & Glitter” are available in print and on kindle. You can find more of her books here, and her podcast here. Connect with Diana on her author Facebook page, and Instagram.

Read more from Diana here:

‘I kept repeating, ‘This can’t be real!’ My deceased husband’s badge number kept showing up in places it shouldn’t have.’: Widow gets countless ‘winks’ from late husband, ‘It’s the most beautiful, comforting thing in the world’

‘He whispered, ‘You are not alone,’ and cradled this stranger in his arms as she took her last breath. Chad, too, was dying.’: Widow details police officer’s kindness during final weeks of life

‘Is this the real pin?,’ my daughter squeaked out. ‘Yes, my love, it is.’ ‘From his shirt?’ Her eyes were big and curious.’: Widow’s emotional gift for daughters honors their late father, ‘My hands trembled. It was beautiful, stunning’

‘My 15-year-old asked, ‘Mom, can I get a tattoo?’ I let her and no, I don’t care what anybody has to say about it.’: Mom says daughter ‘earned’ tattoo, ‘She showed me what surviving looks like’

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