It’s a cruel irony that the day seems so perfect. It’s 80 degrees and sunny, a light breeze cools the air, a reminder that the season is in transition. The dog days of what little summer we had are upon us and mom is quietly dying in her bed. Her room is dark and quiet and after four years of torturous invasions of cancer and the painful treatments to try to stave off the hideous cells from growing she is finally finding some release from her pain and fear. She doesn’t seem to be in pain her body is frail, cold, oddly discolored and twisted yet she seems to be at peace. The remaining wisps of her once luxurious, auburn hair, her crowning glory, now barely cover her battle scarred bald head. Her cute little freckled face is now taut and thin, skeletal looking. The smell of impending death is on her breath. Her eyes are sometimes open but they are vacant, they are closed windows to the soul that wishes to depart and leave the pain and struggle behind. When I lean in closely and whisper in her ear, “I love you mom. Thank you for all you gave to me and all you did for me. You know my friends were all jealous that I had the best, most creative and loving mom. We’ll be OK mom, I promise.” She gathers the little strength she has to grasp my hand, she tries to open her eyes and she does her best to smile. She looks at peace. She knows that she is loved, she has made a difference and her life had meaning. Even dad has reluctantly, tearfully submitted to letting her go. He has seen her suffering but always with the hope that it would mean her ultimate recovery which is not to be. He sees that to hold on any longer is cruel and selfish so he has to let her go after 54 years. He knows she deserves some peace and rest at long last. Occasionally she shifts in her bed and quietly moans, making little sounds to let us know she still has some life left. It’s like she is already gone but she has not taken her last breath. I hope that the promise of being together again is true, but I know she is now and always will be in my heart. Gone but not forgotten and only a thought away. I love you mom but I must let you go.