She held his hand, connecting to his soul on a level no other person in this world ever could, stroking his fingers lightly with hers. He looked into her eyes, knowing deep within that this woman was the reason for his existence, his reason for entering this world, and his reason to stay in it.
“You will never be able to be truly free until you can fly, baby. But to fly, you must first, run, and to run, you must first walk, and to walk, you must first crawl, but to crawl, you have to find the will within yourself to do so.
“I’ve held your hand through each stage, my child, teaching you how to crawl first once you found your will to do so, then walk, but you were the one to choose to run. You were the one who decided when you were ready to take that first heart pounding step towards freedom, and I thought you’d never stop.
“But I’m afraid, my love, that you lost yourself along the way, lost your will, your strength. No mother ever wants to see her son go through the pain of not knowing how to free themselves of their demons.”
He felt his eyes enlarge and shame wash over his whole body, making him visibly shake.
“Yes, I know your demons. I’ve seen them in your eyes at your weakest moments. I’ve seen them hold you down as I have tried to knock them off of you. And there is only one way to be rid of them, and that is to fly.
“But, my dear boy, I cannot teach you how to fly. That is one thing in this life that in order for you to do, I must let your hand go.
“You have taken such great care of me, my sweet little angel, but in order for you to know freedom, to know what it is to be a man that has conquered the darkness within, you must let me go and find the spark that I feel is alive in you.”
She lifted her other hand from the flowered bed spread to his face so slowly, weakly. He took hold of her wrist and rested her palm against his cheek, leaning into her touch, so fragile, so frail.
“I see it, Damien. I see it within your eyes, so much like your father. I know you can be the man you were meant to be, the man you were born to be, if you just learn this last lesson I plan to teach you.”
Her words were cutting into his heart like glass shards, all sinking deeper with each syllable. He knew what his mother was telling him, knew that this was it. His eyes filled with tears, brimming with the threat of their downpour like a summer storm.
“Live, my child. Learn to release the demons that keep you six feet under. Live, my baby, so you can be free. Don’t settle for nothing less than freedom, my son, and be happy. Learn to be happy above the clouds, Damien, and maybe one day, we can fly together.”