An 87-year-old Wisconsin man knew how he wanted to spend his fleeting time on earth. In a heartwarming photo that has now gone viral, Norbert Schemm was pictured with his sons having a beer inside a hospital room a day before his death — a moment that resonated with many online.
His grandson, Adam Schemm, reflected on the picture he tweeted last Thursday that showed Norbert enjoying a bottle along with his wife, Joanne and sons, Bob, Tom and John.
“It was a really good family moment that I know meant a lot to everyone,” Schemm told CBS News on Tuesday. “The look on everyone’s face is something to cherish, they are all smiling including my grandfather.”
Prior to the photo, Schemm’s grandfather had been in the hospital for the week. Schemm explained, “things were getting worse” and eventually, his father texted everyone in a family chat that his grandfather was going to have a beer.
They all gathered and his aunt Paula Buchholz took the photo. Schemm then received the image and shared it on social media as a way to “honor” his grandpa. He captioned it: “Last night all he wanted to do was to have one last beer with his sons.”
“I loved the photo,” Schemm told CBS News. “It’s such an authentic moment that although I was hesitant to share publicly was just so real not to share.”
The photo received more than 320,000 likes and 31,000 retweets. The comments were flooded with responses from other people sharing their last memories with loved ones.
“I don’t know you… but I felt this,” social media user Ben Riggs tweeted. “Days before my grandpa passed he let my dad and I know he wanted a cigar and a beer. We made it happen. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your grandpa’s smile is one for the books!”
“Did the same thing with my Dad in May. Cold beer and a Yankee game. My condolences,” another man tweeted.
“My grandmom did the same thing but with shots of Bailey’s,” another person replied.
“I lost my grandpa a year ago. It took all his strength but we got him out to eat the best steak money could buy. Besides steak, all he wanted was a ‘Wisconsin’ Old Fashion and to try espresso for the first time. He was alive for one more night before he passed 7 days later,” social media user Michael Smith said.
When asked about the positive reception, Schemm said it’s an “honor and pleasure that we are able to keep talking about my grandfather a week later.”
“I’m glad that we are able to keep his memory alive,” he said.