The ailing 45-year-old father got to "feel the sun and breeze on his body" and "feel normal at his favorite beach for 20 minutes", all because of these selfless paramedics.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on September 9, 2019. It has since been updated.
Death. It's inevitable, yet the moment someone is told that they are dying, it opens a flood gate of emotions. It suddenly hits them that they won't get to see their children become adults, they won't get to grow old with their partner, and they won't get to experience the simple joys of life like taking a stroll on the beach with your family.
When Chris Shaw was told that he didn't have much longer to live, it nearly broke him. After spending months fighting against his stomach cancer with everything he had, the father of four had finally given up all hope. Shattered by the news but resigned to his fate, Chris wanted to spend the little time he had remaining with his wife and children, surrounded by the warmth of his home. So after a month in the hospital, Chris got ready to go back home.
Taking him and his wife, Kylie, back home from the hospital were the paramedics, Jade McGlew and Jesse Roulston. In order to give her husband a little bit of happiness during his last days, Kylie asked the officers if they could take a quick detour. It was to the family's favorite beach where the couple and their four kids had spent many happy summers together.
"Jade and Jesse were the 2 Ambulance officers that did that very selfless act of allowing Chris to see Burns Beach one last time when we broke out of hospital after a month," Kylie wrote on Facebook. The good-naturedness of the paramedics gave the ill 45-year-old dad a chance to "feel the sun and breeze on his body" and "feel normal at his favorite beach for 20 minutes." And the officers were more than happy to make this gesture. Jesse said, "Just seeing those two together.. it does pull on your heart strings," according to Perth Now.
"I don't think there would have been a chance for them to go down to that beach again," Jesse recalled, reported 9now News. "When we picked him up, they were just full of smiles, even though it was not exactly the best day. When we got to the beach, they absolutely enjoyed themselves. It was quite emotional."
Chris' happiness was infectious and obvious, especially to Jade who said, "We observed him just in utter bliss, enjoying the sunshine. It was just a beautiful day, beautiful conditions for it to happen." After all, this beach was special to the family. "We're an ocean family and this is our favourite beach. It was the tiniest gesture but it meant the world," Kylie told The West Australian, as reported by the Daily Mail. "We spent so many family moments at that beach. We'd sit down and have a Corona, the kids would run around and we'd watch the sunset."
When your days are numbered, it's moments like these that make the biggest difference. For Chris, who passed away on August 31, 2018, the paramedics were "angels" who gave him something that could never be bought. "The tiniest gesture.. tiniest gesture.. it's not financial.. it's not monetary.. it's not anything in your hand.. it was just one quick question and out in the fresh air for twenty minutes," Kylie said. "They were our angels.. for the day.. they really did become our angels.. and for that we'll be eternally grateful. Seeing the ocean.. feeling the sun.. the breeze.. endless..you would be able to feel.. .. nothing would ever be able to replace that.. ever."
Even a year after Chris' passing, Kylie hasn't forgotten what Jesse and Jade did for her husband. "That particular day will stay very close to us, especially in my heart, forever," Kylie said. She wrote on Facebook, "1 year ago today, heaven gained the most amazing Angel."
And it's been tough not having Chris around for both her and her young children. "I still wake thinking you’re going to walk through that door and surprise us. It really is so surreal, what has happened, has actually happened," she wrote. "Every night, the kids go to bed with their 'daddy teddy' (a gift from the families in the twins classroom last year and Chris was able to record a personal message for each of the kids), they listen to his voice every night and without fail, I get 'mummy, I miss daddy so much, is he here' and I say 'me too babes and yes, darling, he’s with you every single second of the day.'"
Rest in peace, Chris Shaw.