This may appear at first as an ordinary picture of men having a beer with a sick family member, but it’s so much more than that. Not everyone gets the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to a loved one before their passing. For many, the person in question may not be coherent enough to communicate.
For these guys in the picture, they got a special chance to drink to their old man’s life and give him a happy passing.
87-year-old Nobert Schemm from Appleton, Wisconsin had been sick for a while with colon cancer. He’d been doing fairly well until that last trip to the hospital where he was told he had not more than a week left. He’d lived a long life and had an entire family to his name, people who loved him and were willing to spend every remaining second in his company.
On Tuesday, November 20, he called his sons and grandsons together and requested that they have one last beer in the spirit of family . He passed on the next day, but not without leaving his family with a source of solace.
Touching millions of hearts
The photo was shared by Schemm’s grandson, Adam on Twitter, and so far it has garnered 335K likes 5.3K comments and 33.6K retweets. It’s also turned up on other social media platforms and has been reported by dozens of websites and news stations around the world. What better way to commemorate Grandpa Schemm’s life?
My grandfather passed away today.— Adam Schemm (@AdamSchemm) November 21, 2019
Last night all he wanted to do was to have one last beer with his sons. pic.twitter.com/6FnCGtG9zW
Adam said to BBC : “My grandpa had been relatively healthy over the course of his life but it was on the Sunday last week while he was in hospital that they realized it would be the end. He called his grandchildren to tell us on the Monday. We took the picture Tuesday night and then he died from stage four colon cancer on Wednesday. My dad told us that grandpa had wanted a beer and now when I look at that picture it gives me solace. I can tell my grandpa is smiling. He’s doing what he wanted to do – it was an impromptu moment.”
Adam explained that his father, Tom had first posted the picture on their family’s WhatsApp group. He wasn’t sure if he should share such a precious moment on special media, but he’s glad he eventually did. The community support and kind words he’s received on Twitter has helped with the grieving process. It also gave many people the chance to shared photos of their loved ones’ dying moments in a different light – a happy one.
“It’s actually helped us with our grief. It’s comforting to see that my grandparents and their children were all together in his final moments,” Adam said. “It seems to have tapped into a sense of community and clearly is a moment lots of people relate to. The comments have been so kind and we’ve seen pictures of people toasting bottles of beer in his honor. I thought people I knew might want to see it and respond but had no idea just how many people it seems to have helped.”
Forever in their hearts
Everyone has something to learn from this story. While we may not always be fortunate to be with our loved ones in their dying moments, it’s important to spend as much time as we can with them before that event occurs. We have to make the most of all the time we have with the people who matter.
Adam said his grandpa would have been thrilled with the massive attention the photo brought to the family. “I don’t think he would have minded. He would have got a laugh out of it. I think the biggest lesson to be learned and what I believe my grandfather would say is to ‘be kind, love each other, and that family matters’.
Rest in peace, Grandpa Schemm.
- Kron Staff. Man’s dying wish to have ‘one last beer with his sons’ goes viral. WSPA 7 News. https://www.wspa.com/news/mans-dying-wish-to-have-one-last-beer-with-his-sons-goes-viral/. Retrieved 05-12-19
- Dhruti Shah. What we can all learn from this deathbed photo. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50550018. Retrieved 05-12-19