Collin sighed as he shut off the computer. It had been a very long day, filled with incompetence from Billy and putting out fires.
Collin put files in his briefcase to go over at home, it was going to be a long night. He glanced at the clock.
“Damn. I forgot to call mom back,” Collin muttered. He grabbed his office phone and dialed her number.
After a few rings, a woman answers the phone.
“Hello? Mom? My secretary said you called earlier -“ Collin was cut off mid sentence by the woman.
“Collin, it’s Aunt Lily. There isn’t a real easy way of saying this, but your mother passed away this afternoon,” she told him, holding back a sob.
Collin dropped the files he was holding and fell into his chair.
“Mom’s dead?” Collin replied hollowly. “But that can’t be. I just talked to her over the weekend and she sounded fine. What happened?”
“Well, you know she’s been battling ovarian cancer for the past year, and her body just couldn’t fight it any longer,” Aunt Lily explained, her voice cracking.
Cancer. His mom had had cancer? That didn’t make any sense, she would have told him. Collins mind raced as he stared blankly out the window overlooking the city below.
“Mom had cancer?” Collin finally asked, his voice little more than a whisper.
“Yeah, she’s had it for years, but it didn’t start getting really aggressive until late last year,” Aunt Lilly answered.
She paused for a moment to collect herself before continuing, “She probably didn’t tell you because she knew how busy you are with your job in the city.”
Silent tears fell on the floor as Collin leaned forward with his head in his hands.
“She was proud of you, you know. She used to brag about you all the time to all her friends. You were her joy, and in the end, she wanted you to know that she loved you very much,” Aunt Lily told him.
There was a brief silence as Collin composed himself. “If she just passed away, do you need me to come back to the ranch and take care of things?”
“There’s no need. She took care of all the preparations before her death. She has a will, and a lawyer who will go over it with you. He was asking if you’d be attending the service, which is really the only thing you need to do,” Aunt Lily explained.
Determination swept through Collin. ‘I’ll be there by tomorrow afternoon, possibly late morning.”
“Don’t push yourself, Collin. Like I said, Margret took care of everything, so there’s no need to come. Nothing is going anywhere, so come for the service, and maybe stay a few extra days to settle the business with the ranch,” Aunt Lilly reasoned.
“And seeing as how your a lawyer, I’m sure her lawyer can just meet with you at your office, or something more convenient for you. Your mother wouldn’t want her death to be burden on you,” she continued logically.
Collin realized no one had counted on him in a long time because he had always made excuses, using his career as a way to deflect responsibility.
“I can take a break from work. I haven’t had a vacation in a few years, and this is important, so I’ll be there tomorrow,” Colin stated.
“Collin, it’s at least a day’s drive from where you are. Get some rest, handle your business, and come for the service in a week.”
“She was my mother, Aunt Lily. And in the end, all she wanted to do was have one last conversation with her boy, her pride and joy, her only child, the person she sacrificed everything for, and I, I told my secretary to tell her I’d call back because I was too busy for her urgent call.
“She never called me at work, and the one time she did, I ignore her! If she’d just said she was -“ Collin broke off, over come with emotion. The guilt was eating at him. What had he done?
Aunt Lily gave him a moment before she spoke, “You’re right, Collin. Everyone takes time for granted, and I know if you had known things would’ve been different. She loved you. You were her world, and in the end she died knowing you loved her too.”
Collin snorted. “No, she died knowing her son never had any time for her.”
“You chose to go off into the world and become a lawyer, and you are one of the most successful lawyers for your age. But at what cost?” Aunt Lily asked him/
“I didn’t get to say goodbye.”
“No, you didn’t. Part of that was her fault, and part it is yours. You do whatever you need to in order to get closure. Her service is in a week, and there isn’t much for you to do.”
Collin nodded even though she couldn’t see him.
“I’ll be at the ranch tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll stay for however long I need to in order to handle everything,” Collin said. He was determined to at least do something to make up for everything he hadn’t done over the years.
“Sounds good to me. Take care, and try to get some rest before making the journey. Goodnight.”
Collin blindly hung up the phone. He sat and stared out the window while fresh tears fell from his eyes. A wave of anger washed over him. Collin stood up and swept an arm across his desk, sending everything flying.
Collin collapsed back into his chair as sobs wracked his body