Nurse Adopts Cancer Patient's 8-Year-Old Son After She Dies: 'He Blends Right In'
This Pennsylvania nurse went to every extreme to make sure her patient was comfortable in her final days, even if that meant adopting the woman's son after she passed.
Tricia Seaman, 43, was an oncology nurse in Harrisburg when she was assigned to care for Tricia Somers in March 2014.
Somers, who was 45 when they first met, was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer the year before, and although she was in recovery, doctors were not optimistic about her future.
"When I walked into the room, I felt a sense of sadness for her," Seaman said. "It was such a sad thing to see someone so ill, so young."
She said she quickly discovered her patient had an 8-year-old son, Wesley, "who was probably really missing his mom," and that she was a single parent.
At the end of Somers' three-week hospital stay, she discovered she was terminal.
The single mother asked her nurse the unthinkable. "When I die, will you and your husband take my son?" Seaman recalled.
Seaman said the request came as a shock, but she didn't decline.
She said that after having four children, she and her husband have been considering adding to their family through adoption. Though they had been approved as foster parents the previous year, they hadn't yet been contacted.
The nurse also noticed the single mother did not have many visitors or a support system during her stay.
The families then began spending more time together, and Somers and her son even came to stay with Seaman's family of six over Mother's Day weekend.
"It was pretty clear after the visit [that Wesley] was going to fit great," she said. "We just loved being with Trish and she enjoyed being with us."
As Somers' health further declined, she and her son moved in with the Seamans to give Wesley a chance to adjust to a larger family.
"Initially it was hard," Seaman recalled. "She and I are complete opposites. They had a flexible schedule, but with a large family, you have to have mealtime, you have to have bed time."
But, she and Wesley eventually became an integral part to their larger family, including going on vacations together.
"The transition was very slow. She prepared him about as well as any parent could prepare a child in any situation. He knew this was what was going to happen," Seaman said.
She added: "We made a lot of really wonderful memories as a family."
In the winter of 2014, Somers passed away, and the Seamans were able to seamlessly take over guardianship of Wesley.
Over the last two years, Wesley, now 10, has quickly adapted to the Seaman family, including accepting Seaman's three daughters and one son as his new brothers and sisters, and referring to Seaman and her husband as his parents.
"He blends right in," said Seaman, who retold her story in a book, God Gave Me You. "I cannot imagine life without him."