It's Always Darkest Before Dawn


The days quickly turned into weeks and months, as Emma gradually got better, and the last trip to the doctor indicated the cancer was completely gone. Rachel, on the other hand, was getting weaker and weaker, and no longer had the energy to even work in her garden, which she loved doing. She was sitting in the back yard, watching the birds peck at what was left of her garden, as she got up and Ross helped her into bed.

She had made everybody promise her that they would not tell Emma why Rachel had gotten sick, and Emma better. Rachel had since sold her store, figuring she would not have the energy to wait on customers, any more. 'Promise me one thing', Rachel asked as Ross knelt down beside her and she paused and said 'Bury me, back in New York'. Rachel explained that to her, New York was home and Ross agreed.

Tear drops fell from his face as Rachel looked at him, gently stroking his face and said 'Oh honey, please don't cry. I have no regrets about this. Not a one'. Ross smiled and said 'I was in New York the other day, and Terry was going to start building the new Central Perk in a few more months'. Rachel smiled, but both knew she wouldn't be there to see it. 'Do you believe, Ross? Now do you believe', she asked and he only nodded, saying he even started reading the Bible, and went to church for the first time in his life, the other day. The front door swung open, as Emma came back home from school. 'Let me talk with her, for a while', she asked as Ross left and returned with Emma, leaving them alone to talk

Emma climbed up on the bed as her mom hugged her and said 'You're getting so big'. Rachel look at her daughter, knowing she wouldn't be here to see her grow up, and that just killed her, on the inside. 'Mommy, why did you get sick', her daughter asked. Her mom smiled, kissed her forehead and said 'It's just one of those things'. Emma said it wasn't fair that she was better and her mom was sick said she wish that she could take the cancer from her. Her mother looked at her and said 'Sweetie, I don't ever want to hear that again'. She smiled and said 'When I was a kid, my mom use to sing me a lullaby'

There are places I remember all my life,
Though some have changed,
Some forever, not for better,
Some have gone and some remain.

All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living.
In my life I've loved them all.

But of all these friends and lovers,
There is no one compares with you,
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new.

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In my life I'll love you more.

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In my life I'll love you more.
In my life I'll love you more.

It was three months later and Rachel was considerably worse, and was confined to bed and no longer had the energy to even get up. A nurse came by the house a few days a week, to administer some pain killers. 'How much time does she have', Ross asked once they were in the living room. He didn't like the expression on her face and she said 'It's hard to say... days, maybe weeks'. In his mind, he tried to prepare himself for that moment, but now that it was drawing near, he found that he was nowhere as prepared as he thought it would be.

The nurse left as Ross went back to the bedroom, as Rachel was quietly sleeping. He was oblivious to the rest of the world and didn't even hear Monica and Chandler as they walked into the room, as Monica rested her hand on her brother's shoulder. He acknowledged them with a slight nod, and turned his attention back to his wife. Monica whispered that Phoebe and Joey were on their way as well, and Phoebe would be arriving later that evening and Joey would be arriving the next day.

'How do you do it', Ross asked Rachel as he gently squeezed her hand and she replied 'I'm not scared of dying. I'm just scared of what I'm leaving behind'. She turned to Ross and asked him to move back to New York so he could be closer to his sister and Phoebe, saying he would need all the friends and family he could get. 'I don't want to lose you, Rachel', Ross said as he tried to fight the tears. 'Honey, I will always be in your heart', she replied.

It was the next day, as everybody was gathered in the living room as a doctor was checking her vital signs, stepping out of the bedroom, saying it didn't look good, as her heart-rate was decreasing and would be a matter of hours. Ross poked his head inside the door as Rachel motioned for him to come inside. 'I just want to tell you how incredibly lucky I am, Ross'. Ross tried to choke back the tears and said 'I'm the lucky one' as Rachel said in her drawer were 5 letters, one for each of them as he nodded and fumbled for the envelopes. One by one, they all went inside to privately say goodbye. It was about 2am, as everybody was by her side, as her breathing was becoming shallow and labored, all Ross could do was cry and watch. Finally there was an eerie peace that filled the room, as Ross threw himself on his wife, sobbing uncontrollably, as Phoebe was holding Emma, trying to comfort her as well.

It was too much for Monica, as she darted out of the house, to weep in the back yard, as Chandler followed after her. 'Hey, I am so sorry', Joey consoled as he could only watch Ross' grief and anguish. Ross remembered the letters, and asked Joey to pass them out, as he took the stack of envelopes, leaving one on the night-stand that was addressed to Ross. Each one opened their letters, to read in private, amongst themselves

Phoebe's Letter: Pheebs, where do I even start? You have been so inspirational to me, and I hope you never lose your sense of awe and wonder. You have been a true friend, always there for me, no matter what and I will always treasure that friendship and you will forever have a special place in my heart.

Joey's Letter: Joey, what can I say? I could always rely on you to pick me up, when I was down. I could always come to you with any problem, and even if you didn't have an answer or solution, just being able to talk about it with you, was good enough. Keep doing your acting thing, because I know big things are heading your way. You're just way too good and too talented.

Chandler's Letter: Chandler, what am I going to do with you? Believe it or not, I'm going to miss your wisecracks and sarcasm. But more than that, I am going to miss you. I never told you this, but you're like the brother I never had, and I know that you and Mon will be just fine.

Monica's Letter: Mon, you have been the very best friend a person could have. You gave me a home, when I was just a spoiled kid, and gave me confidence and believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. You were so giving and selfless and you are the living definition of a friend.

Ross' Letter: Ross, what can I say that hasn't already been said? You have been the one true love of my life. Everything that's good in my life was because of you. I just want you to know that you made a real difference in my life, and if I could go back, I wouldn't change a thing. I know right now you are hurting, but know the pain is only temporary, and one day we'll be together again. Until then, I'll be watching out for you guys

It was a few days after the funeral, and Ross was standing at the grave as he felt somebody approach, and turned around and saw Phoebe who reached out, holding his hand and whispered 'We've been looking everywhere for you. Why don't you come back home? It's too soon, and you shouldn't be here alone, just yet'. She gently tugged on his hand as she led him back to her taxi, as they went back home

One Year Later

It was one year, to the date that Rachel had passed away, as Ross and Emma walked to the cemetery to spend some time, placing some fresh flowers on the grave. As they were walking back home they passed a Church, as people were entering for Sunday Service as Emma asked where her mom was and Ross smiled and said 'She's in Heaven, of course'. Emma asked how a person can go to Heaven and Ross paused and said 'I really don't know'. He reached out, holding her hand, smiled and said 'Why don't we find out, together', as they entered the church.

Five Years Later

Ross and Emma had moved back to New York, shortly after Rachel's death. Now Emma, Monica, Phoebe, and Joey were sitting on the front pew of the Church, as Ross... or Reverend Geller, as he is now called, was getting ready for his first sermon as an ordained Minister. He approached the pulpit and said 'I used to believe that Science had all the answers. I used to believe, only what I saw, or what Science had told me. But a wise person told me, many years ago 'There is more to the world, than what we see and hear'

Phoebe stood up and announced 'That was me. I'm the wise person... hey, I'm wise'. Several people in the congregation laughed, as Ross tried to suppress, but found himself laughing as well and said 'Yes you are, Pheebs'. Once everybody had settled down, Ross returned to the sermon.

-The End -

Final Note from the author: I want to thank everybody who took the time to read this story, and for those who took the time to review it. Even though this is a fictional story, for millions of people around the world, both adults and children, cancer is anything but fictional. The cold, cruel truth is cancer is one of the leading killers, and most of us know of at least one person that has been affected by this horrible disease.

The American Cancer Society and Saint Jude's Children's Hospital are both great organizations that work with adults and kids who have this disease. There IS a cure.. we just have not found it, yet. But by supporting your local cancer charities, one day, cancer WILL be just a thing of fiction.

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