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After saying goodbye to Mother’s friend, she drove off  and left us as we stood in front of Mother’s apartment building.

With keys in hand it was finally time to head up to Mother’s apartment.

As much as I was looking forward to being surrounded by all things Mother, I was keenly aware that we would for the first time be entering her apartment without her in it.

Further, as emotionally charged as these moments were, I had to concentrate on the immediate task at hand. My responsibility was see to the list I had been provided with and to get it done as soon as possible. Next, I had to make my way over to the Respite House to see Mother.

And so entering her apartment building, Frank and I went through the two sets of doors that led to the lobby, got into the elevator and arrived at Mother’s floor. As I approached her door I admired her lovely welcoming floral heart wreath as I always had in previous visits.

But this time things were different.

There was no Mother behind her apartment door who would welcome me with warm, fragranced embraces. There would be no ample kisses would leave me covered with in orange lipstick….

Not this time…

Not ever again.

Now, to be fair, I must tell you that previous visits to Mother for a week’s holiday were known to have some challenging aspects.

Before each visit to see Mother, I would pray for patience, strength and the ability to always be loving no matter what subject matter was discussed, whatever lines were crossed or how often she agreed with what Fox News was reporting.

You see, Mother along with being lovely, utterly charming, engaging and generous to a fault… on occasion she could be controlling and maybe even stubborn.

Trying to make plans with her was difficult due to her social anxiety.

Further, she never took no for an answer, and was pretty good at getting her own way.

That is…

Except of course when it came to the cancer.