Max visits his mother one last time.

A/N: This was written in 2012 a few days after my uncle had died of cancer. Now I've fixed it up a bit and re-uploading it again in light of some recent events. The part in italics near the end is written by me, and I may make it a full "song"

I don't normally suggest songs to listen to, but I strongly recommend listening to "Cold" by Jorge Mendez. Warning – tissues may be needed.

.

What do you do when the Grim Reaper comes knocking on your door ready to take you away to the realm of the dead? How are you supposed to spend the rest of your days knowing that the rope around your neck is tightening at a rapid rate? People call me the happy one. The one who is always smiling even when my back is against the wall. But I could find no reason to smile. Not now.

I never expected it would end like this. People die every day of a variety of reasons, but when someone close to you dies, the realization you will never see this person again sinks in. It's kinda hard to imagine a life without that special person. The person you could always count and rely on. The person who would always be by your side no matter how tough life became. The person who knew me better than I knew myself.

Cancer. Most assume cancer just happens to old people, but they couldn't be farther away from the truth. It had happened unexpectedly. Things were fine, but suddenly a lump grew. After many tests, results showed mum had a cancerous tumour. The cancer spread to her lymph nodes and eventually those cells travelled through the bloodstream and into the vital organs like the heart and lungs. She had tried to fight but after months of fighting, the will to keep battling had died.

Through blurry eyes, I cast my eyes down on my mother. Seeing her suffer was painful and I wasn't sure how much more I could take, but I knew I couldn't leave her alone to die. Someone had to be there for her. She was a very important part in my life and I know she'll always be in my memories. I remember that night my mother, my father and I snuck into Mr. Hiwatari's pasture and tipped over three of his prize dairy cows. I've never laughed so hard in my life when one of the calves butted Kai and knocked him over. I smiled softly. It was definitely a memory I would not forget.

I placed my hand on hers and looked at her. "I love you mum," I whispered gently, holding her hand tightly. I know she could barely speak, but at least she could hear. Apparently, hearing is the last thing you do before you die.

Mum's eyes opened and blue eyes stared back at me. I could feel her hand squeeze mine. "I love you Max," she whispered faintly, tears beginning to fall. She took a deep breath in, as if finding it hard to speak. "Take care of your father for me," she added weakly.

I nodded, trying desperately to hold back tears. "I will mum," I replied.

"How much longer?" she asked softly.

She wanted to know how much time she had left. I wasn't certain, but the nurses said she'd be gone within twenty-four hours. "Within twenty-four hours," I replied truthfully. Keeping the truth from her wasn't going to do anyone any favours. Her eyes closed. She had fallen asleep again. "The rest of the All-Starz and dad are on their way now," I said. "Please hold on," I added urgently. I knew she could hear me speak, but she couldn't respond. Her system was slowly shutting down.

"Judy," a voice said from behind, startling me out of my trance.

I turned around and noticed the rest of the team and my father standing behind me. Emily was trying hard not to cry but couldn't stop the flow of tears. She buried her face in Michael's left shoulder, and he held her close, trying to provide some comfort. Eddy stood in the corner, crestfallen. Steve punched a wall. Rick paced back and forth, torn between keeping a neutral expression or showing emotion.

My father approached his wife's side and grabbed her other hand.

"Judy, I'm here," he said, tears beginning to stream. My mother struggled to open her eyes. "The All-Starz are here as well," he added tearfully. "I love you Judy." My mother stirred and tried to find the voice to speak but couldn't. I knew it frustrated her not being able to respond anymore, but my father knew she loved him.

My mother struggled to speak again, and amazingly managed to speak a few words. It was almost inaudible, but I managed to make the words out. "Let me go but keep me alive within your heart and promise me that I'll remain," she said softly, tears running down her cheeks.

Dad clasped her hand around hers tightly and replied. "In my very soul you'll live on. Even when I let go you're still there a piece of myself will die with you, but let go, end your pain," he said. In the corner of my eye I saw Emily wipe away the tears. It was hard to watch.

Her breath became ragged and heavier than before. She was getting closer. "Feel no grief, embrace salvation. Do not dwell on this loss, but live your life for those who cannot," she whispered, her eyes closing. Then... nothing. She stopped breathing. I kept waiting, hoping for her to take in another breath but it didn't come. That was it. It's over. She had found peace.

I walked over to my mother's bedside and grabbed her hand one last time and looked at her face. "I love you mum," I said. "I'll never forget you." She'd always be there in my thoughts. She may be gone now, but she lives in my memories. I looked at dad. He was a wreck and understandably so, but he knew we couldn't just hang around anymore. Without saying a word, he picked himself up and walked out of the room. Before the rest of the All-Starz and I left, I grabbed my mother's journal and carried it outside.

Once I had returned home, I headed to my room and locked myself inside. I opened the journal and found an entry that stood out to me:

Death stands at the door. It is time for me to leave this world.

The opaque figure stares down at me, its features nothing but a blur.

Rid me of this sinking ship. Unburden me from these shackles.

My heart will not love anymore, but I do not leave with a heart of pain and suffering.

Although my body passes from this world, the demon inside has not won.

For my memory and spirit will live on in the ones that I love.

A few drops of water landed on the paper. Unable to see clearly through blurred eyes, I closed the journal and fell to my knees on the ground, tears flowing down my cheeks like a raging river.

.

This story is dedicated to everyone who has ever lost a loved one. They will never be missed.