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Boy dies on the anniversary of his mom's death: 'Even the weather was the same'

The 11-year-old found comfort in knowing his mother was "waiting for him up above."
/ Source: TODAY

Joel Shaw, age 11, spent two years battling cancer and died on Feb. 8, exactly six years to the day after his mother passed away.

His father David doesn't think it's a coincidence.

“My son took comfort in knowing that his mom was waiting for him up above,” David Shaw, 52, who lives in Lancashire, England, told TODAY Parents. "Same day, same date. Even the weather was the same. It was raining and storming just like the night Julie died.”

When Joel learned his cancer was terminal, he began asking questions about his late mother, Julie, who died in an accidental drowning. Shaw said Joel "loved his mom to bits."

Joel Shaw, far left, with David Shaw, Julie Shaw, and his siblings Jake and Jasmine.
Joel Shaw, far left, with David Shaw, Julie Shaw, and his siblings Jake and Jasmine. Courtesy of David Shaw

Joel died of an aggressive form of Ewing's sarcoma, a rare cancer that grows in the bones or soft tissue around the bones.

Shaw gushed that Joel was a “brilliant” soccer player and “very, very funny.” Shaw’s partner, Andrea Rowson, described Joel as “brave and mature” in the face of death.

“He knew he was dying and he dealt with it head on. He wanted to know if he’d be able to send down white feathers from heaven.” she said. “His pain was unbearable but he dealt with it amazingly.”

Shaw and Rowson are planning Joel’s funeral, which will be held at a local crematorium on Feb. 21. It was Joel’s wish to be cremated, Shaw said.

Joel Shaw and his dad.
Joel Shaw and his dad.Courtesy of David Shaw

Attendees are being asked to wear bright, vibrant colors to reflect Joel’s personality and as a celebration of his life. There will be Joel's favorite chocolate cake, balloons and a fireworks show.

“We’re going to have a bit of a party," Shaw explained.

Joel had specific instructions about the music.

“He wanted Oasis “Wonderwall” to be played and AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long,” Shaw said. “So, that’s what we’re going to play.”