As I walk in the door, I see her lying there, eyes weary and skin tinted yellow, highlighted by the afternoon haze. I can see something is instantly wrong. I sit by her side, grab her hand. It’s hot to touch. Maybe my hands are too cold from the afternoon chill. I feel her forehead — warm again. She has been running a fever — just like that, out of nowhere. My heart immediately sinks. I can’t help but feel somewhat responsible for her being unwell — well, this is what I tell myself anyway.We went out for a morning stroll today. The sun was shining so brightly on this winter day. She was envious of the warmth & craved the feeling it would bring to her skin. She dashes out quickly. I rush out to walk alongside her. I would never miss these moments we spend together. It’s our weekend morning routine. The sun disappears as quickly as it appeared, shaded by the clouds above. I can see she’s cold & shivering, and we trek back inside. She’s freezing, and I rush to put blankets on her. After a few minutes, she eases back to her usual self again. Instantly I knew something would become of it — but I chose to stay positive and quieten my gut feeling. Now I know the burst of freshness in the air caused her immune system to react. It’s something that happens to mum all the time. Her body is so weak from cancer, even the most minor things cause a fever, extreme lethargy and lack of appetite. It’s the world of cancer that surrounds our family once again. _____________________________________________ Our first experience was with dad. During the last stages of his life, he lay in the hospital bed, unconscious and unresponsive. I knew this was the end. Over a month before he died, during a conversation, he paused and said, “Angel, the next time I go into hospital, I’m not coming home again.” I was shocked, and I knew he knew the sadness written all over my face. I quickly responded, “Hey dad, don’t worry about it – you’re going to be just fine, you’ll see.” We both look at each other – hurt in our eyes. I knew he wondered if I was kidding myself or just trying to infuse a glimmer of hope into his already defeated soul. I think I was doing both – to soften the harshness of reality that faced him and our family. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– As I watch my mum on the sofa, suffering once again, I realise I’ve been here once before. But, unfortunately, almost 20 years have passed since I experienced this once before. Nothing quite prepares you to experience it all over again. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– She is tired – her eyes can’t stay open. I stare at her hands. They have aged in a matter of 3 months. I try not to wake her, but I can’t help but touch her hands. I touch her every day, in case it’s the last time I feel that motherly warmth. But then, I know that I should leave, letting her rest and recuperate. She senses my worry and opens her eyes:- “Try not to worry too much, Angel. It’s always up and down with me now.” She says – trying to soften my worry as she usually does. “I just want to sleep now – I’ll be better in the morning.” As she closes her eyes again to sleep, I walk out of the door to give her some quiet space and make my way home. I tell my sister I will call later on to see how she’s going. I can see that she’s just as worried as I am. Walking outside into the sunshine once again, the words of a family friend fills my mind. “Do you think it’s good to see her suffer if she’s getting worse?” I know she’s realistic, and seeing someone, you love so much suffering is as painful as letting them go. I don’t know why at that moment, I felt my resistance disappear. Last week, I was angry, hurt and upset with God. Why is he allowing her to leave us with such a sickening illness? Why did he prohibit her from having any treatment so she can stay with us for just a bit longer? But now, I know that this is his plan. Mums destiny is for her life to start winding down here on earth. I stroll calmly, realising now, I have accepted fate in the eyes of love.Love is all I have left when everything else is gone. Am I selfish for doing everything I can to keep her here? I don’t want her to suffer, yet I want to hear her voice, see her face, hug her, walk with her, and laugh. There will come a time when I won’t be able to do that again. The realisation becomes painful beyond belief – but I let it go. I am sitting in my home office, typing these words as I wonder how acceptance finally filled my heart when anger left. Then I realise love was something I had inside me all this time, hidden beneath all that negativity. I needed to give it space to come up and overpower the anger. Love overpowers hate, anger and despair. You see, God can take her from me; he can allow her last days consumed with cancer – but one thing that will never end is love. Since my birth, the love we shared will always stay strong in my heart, as will the memories accumulated over so many years. We have a bond that only mother and daughter can ever experience. How lucky am I to have this – no one can ever take away from me. The only part of her I say goodbye to is the body that failed her, consumed with a disease that will eventually turn into dust. But, we will all turn to dust when our time arrives. But we can always turn to love — It is the only thing that fills our cup when emptiness is all we see.