Daughter Knows Mom's Dying Wish Was To See Her Graduate: 'Mom, It's OK. You Can Go Now'


Elizabeth De Leon, 51, was on a mission. Despite her terminal colon cancer diagnosis, she was determined to stay alive long enough to see her daughter graduate from high school.

Cassidy De Leon is a senior at Washingtonville High School in Washingtonville, New York. A cheerleader and artist, Cassidy said her mother was always on the sidelines, cheering her on.

Cassidy is scheduled to graduate on June 21, but her mother’s health was rapidly declining. It was becoming increasingly unlikely that De Leon would make it to June 21.

Richard Pagán, De Leon’s oldest child, decided to do what he could to grant De Leon her final wish. He coordinated an early graduation ceremony for Cassidy, which took place at her mother’s hospital bedside.

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School principal Brian Connolly lead the ceremony, which took place on Memorial Day.

“I was able to get into the school over the weekend, retrieve her diploma and a cap and gown and bring it to the hospital,” Connolly said.

De Leon, described by her family as “catatonic” in the days prior to the graduation, perked up when she saw Cassidy enter the room. Cassidy donned a blue cap and gown and a brave smile as she walked toward her dying mother.

De Leon was alert and smiling during Cassidy’s graduation, a bittersweet and beautiful moment recorded by Pagán.

Family members and friends grieved, wiping away tears of joy and sorrow as Connolly spoke words of encouragement and blessing over Cassidy’s future.

De Leon passed away shortly after the ceremony, her last mission as a mother completed.

“She was happy,” Pagán told WCBS-TV.

“Me and Cassidy told her, ‘Mom, it’s OK,” Pagán said. “You can go now.’”

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Cassidy still plans to graduate with her classmates on June 21. According to her Facebook page, Cassidy plans to further her education as a history major.

“She is my best friend, my heart, and my world,” Cassidy wrote on her mother’s GoFundMe page. “She was granted her last wish.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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