Death walked into the room and strode up to the woman lying upright against a sea of pillows. Surrounded by her family, having said all that she wanted to say, she surrendered to a narcotic embrace, slipped her hand into the shadowy reaches, stepped out onto the dance floor and held Death firmly at arms length- for she alone would lead the steps in this final waltz. The rabbi stood at the end of the bed, witness to the tapestry of her life; her children, the threads on a 48 year old loom unraveling.. Two sons stood, sober, with kippahed heads, clutching siddurim. Not knowing what to say, or how to say it outside the context of holy letters and ancient prayers, three heads bowed in a trinity of silence. The daughter, of a more intuitive nature, keeping vigil- loving and hoping with every breath that THIS was not the last. But how does one give permission to die? Like a true mother, waiting for some sign that her nest would not be plundered by grief, the woman lingered with the burden of ebb tide. Like all journeys, this one would have an end. But what is an end, but a new beginning elsewhere? “I saw a golden thread rise out from the back of her neck- and then I knew that she was gone.” The daughter spoke quietly, calmly, as if she had just watched her mother board a train. “I am not religious, but I know what I saw”. A golden thread- a reflection of divine spark, a promise of a future reunion, an answer to the fears of being forgotten. Those present during birth or death have their souls forever infused by the fragrance of mystery- a fragrance that can not be grasped and bottled, but only imbibed in wonder. Both are ends and beginnings that are hidden from our sight, but celebrated by unseen clouds of witnesses.