WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Thousands of students across the county are winding down the school year with prom and graduation. It's a rite of passage for many young people and every graduate has their own story to share about how they got this far.
This is Travis Grimsley's story.
Travis is a senior at West Brunswick High School and has already graduated. His ceremony was pushed forward a few weeks so he could share the experience with this dad, who was dying of cancer.
"It's my dad, and I miss him so much," Travis said. "He just looked up and smiled. I knew he was so happy."
Ronald Grimsley, 54, died Friday, May 10 after battling cancer, but he lived long enough to see his final wish fulfilled. He wanted to see his son graduate from high school.
Thanks to the staff of Lower Cape Fear Hospice and West Brunswick High School, he got his wish.
"We want to do everything we can possible for the patient who's at their end of life," said hospice nurse, Annie Smith. "No matter what it is, we want to try and help."
So, for a few moments, it wasn't about a man dying in his bed - it was about life, hope and promise.
Ronnie Grimsley lived long enough to see his son walk that aisle and receive his diploma.
He shut his eyes, forever, a few hours later.
At his graveside service in Fairmont, NC, Pastor Tim Tyner, of Baltimore Baptist Church, expressed what many people, mourning, were feeling in their hearts.
"Ronnie knew the end was in sight," Tyner said. "We can all learn to be prepared and let those we love know, while we're here."
So through all this grief, there is a son who knows he is loved, and a father who is very proud.
Ronnie Grimsley wrote a letter, sharing his love for his family. He left this earth letting them know he'll remain in their hearts forever.
He is survived by his two sons, Ronnie Grimsley of Pa, Travis Grimsley of Sunset Beach, two daughters, Crystal and Bridgett, one sister and four grandchildren.
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