If I could go back in time it would be to Thursday, November 27, 1997. Thanksgiving day.Dear Mom, This week will be 17 years since the last time we saw each other, the last time we embraced, the last time we spoke to each other. There is so much I want to tell you, so much I wish I had said that day. I guess none of us can ever know the future, or how much time we have. That last day with you was so hectic, with everyone together, us four kids in the same place for the first time in ages, your sister and niece down to visit all the way from Alaska. We hadn’t seen them since Grammy Wood died. It would have been such a joyful time, if not for the true reason we had all come together that Thanksgiving. Though we tried to pretend otherwise, it was to make plans for you to leave us, it was a time for some of us to say goodbye. None of us knew how much time you had left. At some point during that day it seemed that all the noise and people were wearing you out, so we went upstairs to let you rest, I should have stayed with you so you weren’t alone. I could have just sat and held your hand. I could have told you what a wonderful person you were, what a beautiful soul, that you were a good mother. There are so many things I am sorry for Mom. I’m sorry when you first got sick that I didn’t believe you. I thought you were just trying to get my attention, trying to get me to stay home with you more, like you had done in the past. I’m sorry for all those times I got angry at you, thinking you were just trying to manipulate me, when you were truly sick. I’m sorry I held so much against you, all the ways I thought you should have been different, for me. If I had only let myself see how hard your life had been, how it had made you the way you were, maybe I would have had more empathy, more compassion. I wish I had. I hope you can forgive me for those things. I’m sorry that on that last day I thought I had so many important things to do, my own life to attend to. I was so selfish Mom. I didn’t know I would never see you again. When I was getting ready to leave that day, you tried to tell me, you tried to say goodbye. You knew what I didn’t. I remember you asking me to stay longer, and me saying I had to go, but that I would be back in a couple days. As I was leaving you said, “I love you Kim.” I said, “I love you too”. Then you grabbed me by the arm, with a strength that belied your illness, and you said, “Look at me!” You looked so deeply into my eyes, and said, “I mean it, I really love you”. “I know Mom. I love you too”. I should have known…I just should have known…you were trying to tell me “Goodbye”. I hugged you one more time, placing my hand behind your head, feeling how thin and fragile you had become….but I left anyway. I thought I had so much to do Mom, and that there would be more time. I thought I would see you again, hold you again, hear your voice again, but I never did. I didn’t come back in a couple days as I said I would. I got the call exactly one week later…you were gone. I wasn’t there. There would never be another hug, another laugh, another chance to hear your voice, another chance to hold and be held by you, another chance to say, “I love you”. I hope you forgive me, and know how sorry I am for all my mistakes. For all the times I neglected you, and treated you badly, or just ignored you all together…for all of this I am deeply, deeply sorry. I only wish I had stayed that day. I miss you Mom.