The last time I saw you, you smiled. Wide. And I petted your head softly, felt the shafts within my fingers as they fell in ones, twos and threes. Fine, coarse white hair, tumbling onto your shoulders, into my hands. You knew I wouldn't be back. I knew you were going. And I touched your soft cheeks, ever so gently. Not wanting to let go. Breathing deep, desperately, your essence, your spirit. Trying to capture every plane, ridge and rise. The warmth, suppleness of your beautiful skin. Your high cheekbones. Craving to hold onto the feel, the smells of you, the touch. Softness now fading. You had little to say by then. And the sparkle in your eyes was gone. Staring at the wall, what was left of your sight. But you were peaceful mom. Content as one can be in the last hours of living. I whispered in your ear ‘thank you for everything. I don't know how you did it.’ You even smiled. I was so proud of you then, as I am now. I will miss you forever. And I will fight until I cannot for you. I may be broken, battered, crawling, but I will not, cannot, stop - because after it all - the beatings, the broken bones, the betrayals, the crimes – you still smiled. Wide. Maybe I will too. After there's justice for blatant crimes. Until then I must journey this horror, feel every injustice and crime, grieve so many losses and betrayals. Sting at the lies, corruption and crimes flung in my path. But I'm learning mom. To fuel the fight with rage. With people power. Others oppressed as I. As you. We must. To enable a smile. Wide.