Dying mother's wish granted after nurse takes in son
Gillian Mohney via Good Morning America
3:53 PM, Sep 18, 2014
9:07 AM, Sep 20, 2014
HARRISBURG, Pa. - When Tricia Somers was given the devastating diagnosis that she had terminal liver cancer last spring, her main concern was figuring out who would care for her 8-year-old son, Wesley.
Somers, a single mother, didn't have any family she believed could take on caring for a child and her parents had died years earlier. But Somers was determined and has found a unique solution for her situation after asking her favorite nurse, Tricia Seaman, to care for her son.
Somers made her big request the day she was supposed to be discharged from the hospital. Somers and Seaman had become friendly while Somers underwent numerous diagnostic tests.
When Seaman visited Somers on her final day in the Pinnacle Health's Community General campus in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, she had no idea of Somers' intentions.
The long-time nurse told ABC News that after Somers said that her diagnosis was terminal, she asked one question.
"She said, 'If I die will you raise my son?'" recalled Seaman.
Seaman said she initially had no answer for the big request.
"I didn't know what to say in that moment," said Seaman. "I told her I was flattered enough [that she] asked me. I said to her, 'Why don't you take a little time with this.' ... I was trying to be very diplomatic, everything in me said was saying 'Yes I'll do it.'"
Seaman and her family had actually been in the process of becoming foster parents and had just accomplished the first step after they were approved to be adoptive parents. They also are the parents of three teenage girls and a 10-year-old son.
Somers, who is now in hospice, spoke to ABC affiliate WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, about her decision to ask Seaman to take care of her son.
"She came in and I just felt this overwhelming feeling of comfort," Somers told WHTM-TV. "It was strange. I never had that feeling before and I thought she is going to take care of me. She is the one."
Seaman said after the request, she and her family started to visit with Somers and Wesley, first going to her apartment and then inviting them over to see their house. She said she wanted to make sure that this placement seemed like a good fit.
"The first time she was here, I said, 'Does everything look okay to you? Is it what you had in mind?'" said Seaman. "I felt like I was interviewing. ... She said it was perfect."
When Seaman spoke to her husband Daniel about the idea of adopting Wesley, he simply told her, "We need to do something to help this lady," Seaman recalled.
As Seaman and Somers became closer, 45-year-old Somers started grueling chemotherapy that left her barely able to walk. Some days she was unable to get Wesley to school because she couldn't walk to her car or was too tired to get out of bed.
Eventually she became so weak she was hospitalized.
At that point Seaman along with her family decided it was time to not only take Wesley into their family, but Somers as well.
"At one point I said, 'I can't be your nurse anymore. I'm your family now,'" said Seaman. "I talked to her and said I want you to come [home]. She kind of fell apart and cried. She said, 'I'd love to.'"
Seaman said when Somers arrived in May, doctors thought she would survive for only a month. But with care and time, Seaman said Somers has improved and can now walk without the help of a cane.
Seaman said she and her husband have signed paperwork to become Wesley's legal guardians after Somers' death. This summer the entire family, Somers and her son included, were able to go on vacation together.
"We just want to Trish to live life to the fullest and ... we love her and love Wesley," said Seaman. "He's a very smart little boy. We want to see him get an education and be successful and know that he's not alone. He has a family. He's not going to be all by himself."