Shawn Law knew something was amiss the afternoon of April 2 when his son, Trevor, wouldn't face him.
Editor’s note: Shawn Law died Saturday, April 11, one day after this story was published on ThisWeekNEWS.com.
Shawn Law knew something was amiss the afternoon of April 2 when his son, Trevor, wouldn’t face him.
“We were talking, and he was standing behind me,” Law said. “I was wondering why he wouldn’t come out in front of me so I could look right at him.
“Then (my wife) Barb’s parents showed up. My father-in-law was wearing a jacket and a tie, and my mother-in-law was wearing a dress, not their typical attire for visiting.
“I had a suspicion something was going on.”
“Something” was, although not in a manner anyone could have envisioned two years ago, when Shawn Law was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and declared that one of his goals was to see Trevor, then a sophomore, graduate from Thomas Worthington High School.
Trevor received his diploma in a small ceremony at his front door in Worthington, 52 days ahead of schedule. A parade of more than 100 cars filled with Trevor’s hockey and lacrosse teammates, their families, friends of the family and other members of the community drove by the Laws’ home to offer congratulations and support.
Shawn Law died Saturday, April 11, at 57, surrounded by his family.
“They just kept coming, car after car, horn after horn,” Law said five days earlier. “Somebody really pulled this off.”
The parade was the closest anyone outside the Law family and three Worthington Schools dignitaries got to the ceremony because of social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Superintendent Trent Bowers, school board President Nikki Hudson and Thomas Worthington assistant principal Todd Keenan were in attendance, and boys lacrosse coach Collin Lisi presented Trevor’s diploma.
Trevor played hockey and lacrosse for the Cardinals, and it was at the lacrosse team’s season-ending banquet in May 2018 that Shawn Law made his wish.
“Everybody remembered that he’d said it,” Barbara Law said.
Weeks earlier, Shawn Law had undergone hernia surgery. Doctors took a routine tissue sample for a biopsy, which revealed pancreatic cancer.
This year, in late February, Law began experiencing back pain that turned out to be a cracked vertebrae. He also was suffering from a bowel blockage and gallstones and, on top of that, later fractured his right arm.
A CT scan revealed an inoperable tumor on his colon.
He spent his final weeks at home in hospice care.
“My comfort (level) fluctuates,” Shawn Law said April 6. “When I got the news that I was out of options and (doctors) asked me what I wanted to do, I just said to send me home and make me as comfortable and painless as possible.”
According to Bowers, the district has conducted other early graduation ceremonies because of special circumstances.
“We consider Trevor graduated,” Bowers said. “He has met all the requirements, although we had to give him sort of an ‘IOU’ for the diploma since the actual diplomas aren’t in yet. We already had the cap and gown ready.
“It’s neat to see the community come together to do something for somebody else. That’s the best part of my job. One great thing in these times is getting to witness so many small, great things people are doing for others.”
Janene Kehl, whose son, Owen, is a classmate and lacrosse teammate of Trevor Law, helped organize the parade but still was taken back by the turnout.
“I was in a parking lot on one side of (Thomas Worthington) and (hockey mother and co-parade organizer) Julie Pischel was on the other side, and I am not sure either of us realized how many people were there,” Kehl said. “I had to catch my breath. It was overwhelming.”
Trevor, who plans to attend Miami University and major in engineering, admitted he thought the parade might consist of “10 to 20 cars.”
“It ended up being the whole community,” he said. “My sophomore year, I figured my dad would see me graduate. A month ago when things started to go downhill, I still figured he’d be here.”
The entire family said the ceremony and parade is only part of what they are thankful for when it comes to their community.
“We just have such a large amount of gratitude for anyone in our neighborhood and the whole Worthington community who came out,” Shawn Law said. “They’ve been there with us every single day. They’ve bent over backwards for us. We’re extremely grateful.”