SHIP BOTTOM, N.J. -- Seventy-eight-year-old Pat Kelly of Burlington City, New Jersey, is in hospice care with a terminal diagnosis of acute leukemia. When her family asked her about what she'd like to do before she goes, she didn't hesitate.
"I said go to the shore," said Kelly.
Her family knew she wouldn't be able to get down to the beach herself, and asked the Ship Bottom Police Department for help.
During a weekend trip to Long Beach Island, officer Ron Holloway drove Kelly to the water's edge one last time.
"Oh they could have taking me right then, and I would have been the happiest person. That I could be there one last time in the ocean and the sand, and that was my hurrah," said Kelly.
Her last hurrah included a moment with her granddaughters looking at the water, a group hug with family and old friends and a prayer circle that patrolman Holloway joined right in on.
"A man who had such heartfelt connection with a bunch of strangers," said Pat's daughter-in-law Stephanie Corbin. "He went beyond protecting and serving because of his heart."
"It was just like he was part of our family," said Kelly.
"Being able to take her out for this ride on the beach, it was definitely a life-moving experience. It was a check mark in my career," said Holloway.
"It was a blessing. Not many people get to live out their last wishes and she did," said daughter-in-law Tiffany Kelly.
Time for Pat is now measured in months, perhaps weeks - no one is really sure. But being able to say goodbye to the shore she loves so dearly and where she spent so many summers gives her peace.
"That's my place. I'll be there forever. Just watch out - some people might step on me," said Kelly.
After her death, she hopes to return to the shore once more. She'd like to have her ashes spread there at the beach. null