A mother faces the ultimate agony as her daughter lies dying from cancer, and hears from her lips a puzzling message of hope.
Parents should never outlive their children. Holly Fletcher was a fifty-three-year-old widow and she desperately wished she could trade her life for her daughter's.
Amy was just twenty-three, and who could have imagined that a deadly enemy lurked inside that slender athletic body? No one. So when one day Amy had a terrible pain in her leg and fell, no one thought it was serious.
The next day, Amy was up and about, but a week later, the pain was back with a vengeance. Amy stubbornly limped around for another two weeks until Holly dragged her to the doctor.
Holly never imagined she could lose her daughter. | Source: Unsplash
The doctor had ordered blood tests and x-rays, and when they came for the results a week later, Holly knew that something was very wrong because the doctor wouldn't meet her eyes.
"Amy," Doctor Doyle said. "I'm sorry but you must prepare yourself for some difficult news. You have stage-four osteosarcoma, and from what we can tell..."
Holly shook her head. "Excuse me?" she said. "Could you repeat that? I didn't hear you..."
Doctor Doyle looked down at the file in his hands and said softly, "Stage-four osteosarcoma. It appears to be extremely virulent and the prognosis is not good."
"Osteosarcoma?" Holly asked and grabbed Amy's hand. Amy hadn't reacted. She just stared at the doctor, and her breathing was shallow and hurried as if she'd been struck a hard blow.
"Excuse me," Holly said again as terrible anger blossomed in her breast and threatened to blow her apart. "Amy was here for a general exam six months ago. Exactly how does osteosarcoma go from non-existent to stage-four in six months?"
Amy had a terrible pain in her leg and fell. | Source: Unsplash
Dr. Doyle raised his head and looked at Holly for the first time. "I'm sorry. We missed it...It happens."
Holly's throat hurt and she realized she was screaming: "You're SORRY? YOU missed it, and it happened to MY DAUGHTER! Now what? Tell me that, doctor? How are you going to fix it?"
The doctor cleared his throat and looked at Amy. "I understand your anger..." he said.
"You don't understand SQUAT!" Holly shouted. "Now you get on that phone and you get my daughter the BEST treatment, you hear?"
Amy put her arm around her mother. "Please, momma, please!" Holly saw that Amy was crying. "It's going to be okay..."
The doctor had terrible news for Amy. | Source: Unsplash
But Holly had seen Dr. Doyle's fear and his shame. It wasn't going to be okay at all. It was going to be very bad. She was right. Over the next six months, Amy fought her cancer valiantly, but she lost battle after battle.
One afternoon, Holly was sitting by Amy's bedside reading to her as a needle dripped chemicals into her veins. "Momma?" Amy said softly.
"Yes, honey?" Holly asked, putting down her book. "What is it?"
"Momma?" Amy whispered. "Please, momma, I'm so tired..."
"Ok, honey," Holly said. "I'll let you sleep..."
Amy reached for Holly's hand. "No, momma..." she said. "It hurts so much. Please...Please can I go?"
Amy was given treatment for her cancer. | Source: Unsplash
Agony clutched at Holly's throat as she looked down at the faded shadow of her beautiful, vibrant daughter and saw the pain in her eyes. She nodded wordlessly.
She sat on the edge of the bed and drew Amy into her arms. "Yes, honey," she whispered. "Yes, rest my love." Amy sighed and cuddled up to Holly just as she had done when she was tiny.
"You won't be alone, momma," she said. "She'll come... I asked her to. You won't be alone..."
"Of course not! You'll be with me, always." Holly said firmly. "Don't worry about me, I'll be just fine."
Amy frowned. "No, momma, she'll come to you, you'll see..." But before Holly could ask her whom she meant, Amy fell asleep.
That afternoon, Holly spoke to the doctors about discontinuing Amy's aggressive treatments. It was time to let go. When Amy's last moments came, Holly was by her side, holding her hand, singing a lullaby.
"Momma? She'll come...You won't be alone..." Amy whispered.
"Hush, Amy," Holly said. "Sleep my love, momma's here..." Amy smiled and her eyes closed. She sighed, one soft sigh like a sleepy child, and she was gone.
Holly was devastated by Amy's death. | Source: Pexels
Later, Holly would have no recollection of what happened after, of Amy's memorial service, or her funeral. That whole terrible time was a blank, and not even the presence of her estranged mother-in-law registered.
She would look back at that numbness as a blessing when every moment of her life became a constant reminder that Amy was gone and would never be back.
Her grief wasn't greater than her anger, and sometimes all Holly wanted to do was vent it all in savage destruction. One day, she was at the supermarket and a tin fell off a display at her feet.
That random event pushed Holly over the edge. She pushed the rest of the display over, sent hundreds of tins tumbling, and then started throwing things off the shelves.
The staff called the police, who found her sitting on the floor sobbing, "It wasn't supposed to happen!" over and over. Holly wasn't alright and she knew it.
"I promised Amy I'd be alright," she said to herself and remembered her daughter's promise that she wouldn't be alone. "But I AM alone, Amy, and I miss you so much..."
Holly couldn't remember Amy's funeral. | Source: Unsplash
Holly tried. She went to therapy and did volunteer work at the hospital, all the things they said would make it better, but they didn't. Then one day, someone knocked at her door.
For a dizzy moment, Holly thought it was Amy. The girl standing there was almost Amy's double, but she was on crutches, and Holly could see that her legs were thin and twisted.
"Hello," the girl said. "I'm Callie. Amy...well, Amy made me promise I'd come to you after three months..."
"Amy?" Holly gasped. "Amy asked you?... But who are you?"
Holly invited Callie in and the two women sat down. Every gesture was so much like Amy's that Holly had goosebumps.
"Amy found me just weeks after she became ill," Callie said. "She had sent in a DNA sample to one of those ancestor sites? Anyway, the results came back after her diagnosis... We were tagged as siblings, identical twins. We were so shocked!"
Amy had found Callie after she was diagnosed with cancer. | Source: Pexels
"But..." Holly stared at Callie. "Amy was my only child..."
Callie shook her head. "No," she said softly. "Amy went to her grandmother, who told her that you didn't know. When Amy and I were born, they saw that I was... damaged.
"Her grandmother convinced your husband that it was better not to be burdened with a special needs child, not to tell you about me. So I was adopted, and when Amy found me..."
"You are my daughter?" Holly asked. "You... So that is what she meant! Amy kept telling me I wouldn't be alone... But why didn't she tell me, or you?"
"Amy felt that it would be too much, with her being so sick," Callie explained. "But she believed it would be a blessing... later. She felt our finding each other was fate."
Amy's promise was fulfilled -- Holly wasn't alone. | Source: Unsplash
"You will never be alone," Holly whispered. "That's what she said..."
"No, momma," Callie said gently, and she sounded just like Amy. "You will never be alone."
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