She thought she would burst into tears immediately and run out of the room. That was the first impulse. However, to her amazement, she didn’t. Instead, she felt something bigger than her come upon her. An unusual strength and calm came over her, one she had never known since she went to see the doctor that morning and was told she had a shorter time than she thought; she had fewer moments to spend with him than she had looked forward to.

The revelation itself was more deadly than the wolflike cancer devouring her body. If only it had been detected earlier. If only she had agreed to do the chemotherapy. If only Jeff… No, she wasn’t going to do this. Not now. And surely, never.

Soon, she’ll be gone; quietly, and without much ado. They wouldn’t have to go on with the divorce process anymore. It’ll soon all be over. Naturally. David won’t have to think of his dad as a bad person. The cancer was bad, but maybe not completely. It would be much better for her to leave by it than be alive and watch them tear her son apart. To David, they will always be a happy family. Just a few more days. They can pull through.

What can I do to make you to always be with me and never leave? It was obvious in the question —the fear of her being away from him. This is the second time he would ask such question. The first, six months ago, was after he overhead the last part of her argument with Jeff, when she had said, “I’m tired of it all. I can’t take it anymore, Jeff. I’m leaving! I’m leaving!”

Later that night, just like tonight, after she had tucked him into the bed, he asked her, simply, innocently, “What can I do to make you stay and not leave?” Just like tonight.

That night she had assured him she wasn’t going anywhere. She had hoped things would get better between her and Jeff, so she calmed his fears. But not tonight. She was leaving. Definitely. And soon!

As she came back from the journey into her thoughts and memory, she met his bright eyes, still starring at her in anticipation of a comforting answer. Then it came to her; an unusual wisdom.

“David, can I tell you something?”

“Sure, mum.”

“You know, you do go to school, and at those times when you are at school, mummy is not there with you.”

“Yes, and I hate it.”

“But you know, mummy can’t stay at school with you.”

“And that’s why I hate school.”

“Hmmm…” She got trapped at that point. She had to think again.

They were silent for another short while. He was still waiting to hear something relieving.

“Mum, you were going to tell me something.”

“Hmmm… yea…” She cleared her throat. It came back again; the wisdom.

“What about when you sleep, you know, mummy does not lie with you on your bed all night.”

“Yes, but I wish you do.”

“Well, mummy can’t because she has to be with daddy in his room.”

“I know.”

She waited, but when he wasn’t saying anything further, she continued.

“You see, mummy may not always be physically present, but that doesn’t mean she is not there with you.”

“How does it work?” He asked, his interest aroused.

“That’s what I’m going to teach you, and that’s all you’ll have to do so I’ll always be close to you.”

“Ok, mum; I’m listening.” Sounding hopeful.

Then she shared with him a secret.

(To be continued…)

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