Edward Reis was a forest surveyor. He loved being outdoors. But, when the Washington man was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, he was forced to stay inside.
Leigh Gardner is a registered nurse who would visit Reis three days a week in the nursing home where he lived. They developed a strong bond.
The hospice chaplain asked Ed where he most felt the presence of God. Reis said he felt God the most outside. When the chaplain told Leigh about an idea to get Reis back in the outdoors, Gardner would have moved mountains to make that happen.
Snohomish firefighters made this dying wish possibly. They took Reis to Meadowdale Beach Park in Edmonds, Washington.
Reis was so happy to be back in nature one last time. “He was just smiling the whole time. He was saying he was so happy,” Leigh said. “He was incredibly grateful to us.”
Edward Reis died two short weeks after this final wish. Ultimately, this kind act for a dying man benefited the firefighters too.
“We saw a lot of bad things up there in Oso, and this was a time to just watch somebody at the end of their life enjoy what they could,” firefighter Shane Cooper said about the experience. “It felt good inside to help him and to watch his face. The payment was in his expression when he was out there. That made it all worthwhile. It was a good trek,” he said. “That’s a highlight of my career. I’ve been here for 25 years and that’ll stay one of the highlights.”
What an amazing thing to do. They took time out of their day to give a dying man comfort and they were rewarded in spades with a terrific memory.
Please share this to remind others that there is still kindness in this world!
H/T: Little Things