To fulfill his beloved mom’s final wish, a devoted son wheeled her to the dance floor at his wedding and lifted her for an emotional dance. There was no dry eye in the house as the duo swayed to the music, sharing priceless and unforgettable moments.
Scooter Hightower from Nashville, Tennessee loved his mother, Terri Hightower, with every fiber of his being. They were a happy and close-knit family who enjoyed each day to the fullest and welcomed life with open arms. Then, one day, fate’s cruel intervention changed everything they had once known.
It all started in December 2019 when Terri received a spine-chilling diagnosis—she had ALS, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—a rare neurological disease that mainly impacts the neurons associated with controlling voluntary muscle movement.
What shattered the Hightowers was the painstakingly difficult realization that ALS was incurable, which meant they had limited time with their lovely Terri. The gut-wrenching news shattered not only Scooter and his father but their entire network of relatives, friends, and community members.
Scooter said it took him a long time to choose the perfect song and that his sister helped him make the right choice.
Their deepest, darkest fears came true when Terri’s condition began declining; by the summer of 2020, she had trouble with everyday movements, such as walking, talking, and chewing her food. Consequently, she had to use a power wheelchair to get around.
His Mom’s Final Wishes
Despite her worsening health, Terri had two dreams she wanted to see fulfilled before she took her final breath. Scooter recalled his mom’s last wishes in these words:
“She was waiting for her granddaughter to be born, my niece, and she is going on six months now, seven months, and then she was waiting for our wedding. She wanted to be at our wedding.”
Choosing the Song
More than anything, the Clarksville woman longed to see her handsome son walk down the aisle and marry the love of his life. Knowing how much it would mean to his mom, Scooter decided to make his big day memorable for her and himself.
For his wedding day on October 9, 2020, the groom picked a special song by a local musician—”Mothers” by Thomas Finchum—so that he and his mother could enjoy an exclusive dance and create a timeless memory. Scooter said it took him a long time to choose the perfect song and that his sister helped him make the right choice.
The Emotional Dance
On the big day, Scooter led his mother’s wheelchair onto the dance floor and lifted her with his father’s assistance. He held her up for a short while, supporting her body weight so she could lean on him and move gently to the beat.
As many as 150 guests in the room were gathered around the dance floor, unable to control their emotions as they watched Scooter whispering something into Terri’s ear, his face buried into her shoulder as he wept his heart out.
As the music began to fade, he slowly lowered his mom back into her wheelchair, kneeling beside her with tears streaming down his face. Several friends and relatives walked closer to comfort a struggling Scooter and applaud him for the moving dance performance.
The Hardest Goodbye
Ten days after her emotional dance with her beloved son, Terri passed away at 57, leaving her family and friends forever broken. Because she had served Tennessee as a dedicated paramedic for almost 30 years, she received a grand escort of 15 ambulances to the church.
Scooter noted that his mom changed countless lives through her kind-heartedness and commitment, and she would always be remembered for the incredible person she was. He said he didn’t know about ALS until his mother’s soul-crushing diagnosis and hoped to educate himself and the masses.
Posting the Video Online
The Hightower family’s photographer, Neil Fox, recorded the moment Scooter shared the emotional dance with his dying mother. After Terri’s death, Fox posted the video on social media upon her loved ones’ request to raise awareness about the possible side effects of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The video became a viral sensation in no time, picking up millions of views and thousands of comments from netizens from all over the world. The overwhelming response offered closure to Terri’s family, with Scooter saying that he interacted with many families who had loved ones battling ALS.
The Bride’s Reaction
Scooter’s wife, Afton, expressed that she was amazed by how widely the video was being shared and its growing impact. Regarding her husband’s memorable moment on the dance floor with her late mother-in-law, she said:
“It was a very bittersweet moment, knowing that was her goal and knowing how much it meant to her and Scooter.”
The Online Support
People on social media were deeply touched by the Tennessee mother-son duo’s dance performance, and many wrote encouraging and supportive comments for the Hightowers:
“Congratulations! It was from the heart! So heart warming! You can see the love they all have! A dance to remember and cherish! it brought tears in my eyes! Happily Ever After (sic)!”
— (@100000119975495) July 17, 2021
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“Lord I can’t stop crying. Such an emotional but so touching how he took the time to make sure he had his mother son dance. Something he’ll always cherish (sic).”
— (@carla.davis.3139) November 8, 2020
“This makes me cry every time I see it. It’s just so beautiful and to know she has since passed makes my heart hurt for him so much more..”
— (@mandy.b.johnson) October 28, 2020
Rest in eternal peace, dear Terri. You will forever be remembered by the people whose lives you touched, and we’re glad your son granted your final wish. Click here to read another story about a paralyzed mother who sobbed when her son fulfilled her wish to share a dance with him at his wedding