This story originally appeared at InspireMore.
Most mothers would move heaven and earth to be with their daughter on her wedding day.
Lillian Sandic-Aylon, a former teacher from Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, was no different. She had dedicated her life and career to helping others, but just a few months before her daughter Olivia’s wedding, Lillian was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
Lillian fought hard for her life, but the disease was just too powerful. Just a few months after her diagnosis, Lillian was moved to Palliative Care Unit at Southlake Regional Health Center to receive end of life care. During her time in the Cancer Care unit Lillian impressed the staff with her kindness and her devotion to her family.
“I thought that Lillian was just like a strong woman,” said Jayla, an R.N. on the Cancer Care unit. “You could tell when she was first admitted that she wanted to fight, she wanted to keep going, and most importantly she wanted to be there for her daughter’s wedding.”
With Olivia’s September wedding date still a month away, the bride to be and their family were becoming increasingly concerned that Lillian wouldn’t make it until the big day. Her health continued to deteriorate by the day, but one thing that never wavered was her resolve to attend Olivia’s wedding ceremony.
One day when Olivia was discussing the situation with her fiancé, the nurses on the unit overheard and quietly decided to do what they could to help. The nurses arranged to let the family use an outdoor public space on the 6th floor of the hospital, and before the day was out they had all started making arrangements to throw together a wedding overnight.
Jayla said she and the other nurses even pitched in to purchase the bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, and on the big day they carefully did Lillian’s hair and make up so that she could look her best. Just 24 hours later, Olivia and her fiance arrived for a very special wedding day.
“We wheeled Lillian outside and she just came to life,” Jayla said. Lillian even managed to muster the strength to stand up to pose for pictures, and she was present and alert for the entire event.
Throughout the day, she insisted on taking pictures with all of the special people in her life. All weddings are blessed events, but this day was particularly moving for all who bore witness. Lillian looks so beautiful in every photo, you can’t even tell she was sick!
At the end of the day, Lillian was absolutely spent. “She gathered all of the energy in her that she had left for that day and that time, and put it all out there for her daughter’s wedding,” Jayla said, tears shining in her eyes.
The same nurses who had cared for her for months and helped her achieve her dream of seeing Olivia get married then lovingly put Lillian to bed. She passed away the very next day, just hours after being there for Olivia’s big day.
Olivia and her family are incredibly grateful for the way these nurses went above and beyond for their loved one, but Jayla insists that this is part of the job they signed up for. When people ask palliative care and cancer nurses how they do such a difficult job, she tells them it’s simple: they do it out of love.
“This is what we love to do, we love to be there for people in their best times and their worst times,” said Jayla. “The fact that we could be here in one of Olivia’s and Lillian’s best and worst times makes our jobs exactly what we want them to be.”
“The nurses were just so incredible and really went above and beyond with everything,” Olivia said after her mother passed away. “They were all so caring and thoughtful and the level of care was just outstanding. They truly are our heroes and just made the final moments of my mom’s life as comfortable and as happy as they could be, and we were so grateful for everything they did.”
Nurses truly are special people, and this particular group was heaven-sent. We are so glad that Lillian was able to be there for her daughter. Her family will cherish these memories forever.
Watch the video below to learn more about their story, and please share to thank a nurse for all they do.