At his deathbed, Alexander the Great ordered for all his treasures to be scattered on the streets during his funeral procession. He wanted the world to see that no material wealth can help you once you see the light at the end of the tunnel! However, that same light can sometimes illuminate and clarify your priorities!
When people stare in the face of death, they often make the most absurd of last wishes. The famous actress Elizabeth Taylor was arriving 15 minutes late to her own funeral! When it came to Jimmy Dean, a renowned country artist, he chose to be entombed in a grand piano-shaped mausoleum with an epitaph reading “Here lies one hell of a man!”
However, some last requests are downright poetic and heart wrenching. That was the case of an unknown woman on her deathbed in Queensland, Australia.
The woman was being transferred to a hospital’s palliative care unit by the Queensland Ambulance Service in late November. The terminally ill woman knew that death was imminent for her and so, she requested to see the beach one last time.
Deciding to honor the woman’s last wish, paramedics Graeme Cooper and Danielle Kellan drove the woman to breathe in the salty air of Hervey Bay for one last time.
The Queensland Ambulance Service shared the story on Facebook by posting a picture of the paramedic beside the woman on a stretcher. The photo with its view of the woman beside the calm blue sea went viral almost instantly. It has garnered over 24,000 shares and more than 47,000 likes on Facebook.
During an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, paramedic Graeme Cooper stated that since the palliative care unit only provides relief from the discomfort, and does not prolong life. This meant it would be her last excursion to the beach. He elaborated on the touching story behind her moving last wish saying that she had shifted to Hervey Bay to live there.
Cooper added that since the woman was on the stretcher, it was difficult to get her over the rocks. He wanted to take her into the ocean, however, since that was not possible, he brought the ocean to her. He used a clean disposal bag and filled it with water. She was elated and overjoyed to taste the salty water of her home.
He considers himself fortunate for playing such a crucial role in his patients’ lives. He advises to always look for a window of opportunity to make a difference to peoples’ lives. He stated that for terminally ill patients, it is alright if you take a long way around just to see a wide smile on their faces.
Cooper’s partner Kellan told ABC that the compassionate paramedic goes out of his way to care for his patients, fetching flowers for them and even wheeling them outside to feel the warmth of the sun. She said that the little detour was the perfect summation of Cooper’s generous personality.
The Ambulance Service applauded the efforts of both the paramedics, emphasizing on how treatment and drugs only help a patient to some extent. Empathy and compassion are what truly makes a difference!
The post prompted several others to share their emotional stories. One woman shared the story of a terminally ill patient who wanted to see the fireworks one last time. One male nurse shared how he bought an ice cream for an old man and how the old chap ‘felt like a little boy again’ by this little act.
It is people like these that restore our faith in humanity!