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Summary: When facing eternity, a good mother will try to put all her affairs in order. That means getting real, seeing clearly and putting your own heart’s desires on hold, your dreams in perspective, letting your brain control your advice. Now if only those you love will just cooperate! Joyce looks to her daughter’s future as her own mortality becomes an issue and comes to some startling conclusions. Can Joyce convince Buffy to forget all that she has been telling her, all that everyone has been telling her, thereby easing Joyce’s own worries before facing the hospital and possible death?
Setting: S5 and begins to go AU at the end of “Fool For Love” (written by Douglas Petrie). I am using bits of dialogue from that episode in the beginning of the story before it goes a very different direction.

Rated: PG
Categories: General Fics Characters: None
Genres: Action
Warnings: None
Series: None
Chapters: 10 Completed: Yes
Word count: 53892 Read: 36678
Published: 11/16/2010 Updated: 11/16/2010

1. Chapter 1 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 2] Liked (3435 words)
A/N: Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identified a grief cycle (her initial number of stages was five) that occurs when people deal with death or grieving. The current feeling is that there are more like seven stages, hence my title. Those stages encompass: Shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression and loneliness (or a period of reflection realizing the full impact of the loss), an upward turn of adjustment, reconstruction of life with the change, and finally acceptance and hope.
This season’s theme was “head vs. heart”. Oft times what appears logical and right to any sane person--your heart’s desire, as it were--is not the correct choice after all, not when facing your own exit.
Much thanks, as always, to my fabulous Beta and perfect little sister, Scarlett2U (Mary). Without her wise advice and diligent care in the grammar and punctuation corrections, my stories would suffer terribly! Thank you, sweetie, you are the best!
Disclaimer: Some info such as doctors’ names and Joyce’s medical condition were taken from “Shadow” (written by Dave Fury) and “Listening to Fear” (written by Jane Espenson) and a wee bit of Riley attitude paraphrased from “Into The Woods” (by Marti Noxon). The characters in this story do not belong to me and are being used for amusement purposes only. All rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the original writers of the episodes, books and other licensed products connected to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, particularly Twentieth Century Fox, WB, CW, and UPN, all rights reserved.

2. Chapter 2 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 1] Liked (6121 words)

3. Chapter 3 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 1] Liked (5393 words)
A/N “Listening To Fear” (written by Jane Espenson)

4. Chapter 4 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 0] (5546 words)
A/N Into the Woods (written by Marti Noxon), Triangle (written by Jane Espenson)

5. Chapter 5 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 0] (4773 words)
A/N “Checkpoint” (written by Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie); “Blood Ties” (written by Steven DeKnight). Buffy’s birthday is January 19, 1981, according to Joss, even though “Blood Ties” aired Feb. 6th.

6. Chapter 5b by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 0] (6579 words)
This continues Chapter 5

7. Chapter 6 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 0] (6036 words)
A/N: “Crush” bits of dialog (written by David Fury)
Joyce speaks of an interesting study on the growth of our brains, especially the frontal lobe area and the impact on young people’s reasoning skills and judgment among other things. One article can be found here although there are several available:

8. Chapter 7 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 0] (5377 words)
“I Was Made to Love You” (written by Jane Espenson), “The Body” (written by Joss Whedon), “Forever” (written by Marti Noxon) and “Intervention” (written by Jane Espenson)
From NIH: “Most aneurysms do not show symptoms until they either become very large or burst. Small, unchanging aneurysms generally will not produce symptoms, whereas a larger aneurysm that is steadily growing may press on tissues and nerves. Symptoms may include pain above and behind the eye; numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the face; dilated pupils; and vision changes. When an aneurysm hemorrhages, an individual may experience a sudden and extremely severe headache, double vision, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, and/or loss of consciousness. Individuals usually describe the headache as “the worst headache of my life” and it is generally different in severity and intensity from other headaches people may experience. “Sentinel” or warning headaches may result from an aneurysm that leaks for days to weeks prior to rupture. Only a minority of individuals have a sentinel headache prior to aneurysm rupture.”

9. Chapter 8 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 0] (6233 words)
A/N: Occasional snippets of dialogue from the following episodes: “Tough Love ” (written by Rebecca Kirsher), “Spiral” (written by Steven DeKnight), “Weight of the World”(written by Doug Petrie) and “Over the Rainbow”, (AtS episode written by Mere Smith)

10. Chapter 9 by pfeifferpack [Reviews - 0] (4399 words)