Ronnie “Joe” Bell’ was dying from cancer, but his children wanted him to enjoy some romantic time with his wife, Carol Bells. Knowing that their 26th wedding anniversary was around the corner, the kids and their sons decided to put something romantic together for the couple.
“We weren’t even sure he was gonna make it to that day, but he did. He’s still here,” 41-years old Vessels tells PEOPLE of her father. “We knew it would be the last one. We wanted to do a big 30th one, but he’s not going to make it to their 30th [anniversary]. So we wanted to make the 29th special.”
The children and began planning the party three days before the big day. And on the day of the anniversary, the Children and other relatives gathered in the couples home. Once Ronnie and Carole Bells were out of the living room for a bit, their children quickly arranged a table for two with old family pictures, candles, and their favourite dishes.
“When he walked out he said, ‘Awe man!’ He was just smiling. He hadn’t laughed in a while. My mom immediately started crying,” Vessels recalled. “We wanted my mom to remember this day as special, not just another day that he was dying.”
After the couple had seen the surprise, everyone had to step outside so Ronnie and his wife could have some private time together enjoying their anniversary dinner.
“There’s been so much emphasis on the death that we wanted to make it a happy day,” Vessels shares. “I came outside, and I pretty much lost it because I knew this would be the last one. They love each other so much.”
After being diagnosed with small cell Lung cancer in 2016, he decided to go home and spend his final days with his family once he learnt the cancer had metastasized.
Vessels told People “He’s a fighter and he tried to fight it so hard. These last few weeks have been horrible, I can’t imagine not having all the kids calling their papaw, not having papaw around. But we know it’s gonna happen. He knows, he’ll tell you, ‘Don’t cry for me, I’m going to a better place.’ ”