Disclaimer: This is an original story based upon the characters of Gilmore Girls. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit will be made from this story.
Author's Note: Thank you to all who have read and reviewed my stories in the past. I've really appreciated it. Fair warning—this is a very sad story, but writing it helped me to remember the danger in letting grudges go on too long. I hope you enjoy it. To make it work, I had to do a little reality tweaking. In the episode "Love, War, and Snow" Emily says she hates the snow. For the purposes of this story—she never said that. Enjoy!
Rory used to accuse me of stalling on the way to Friday Night Dinners. I'd tell her I got lost. I always thought it would so cool to say that I couldn't remember the way to my parent's house. I never could though. I remember reciting a poem once in third grade—the last line of the poem is in my head now. "However far a man may roam, he always remembers the road home." It's true—and for better or worse as I pull into the driveway, I am home.
I wish Rory was here. When did things get so screwed up? We barely spoke two words at the funeral. I haven't seen her cry like that in a long time. She was so devastated—when they lowered the casket into the ground, she just fell apart. And Dad—Dad put his arm around her and she clung to his coat lapels and just sobbed. I sat there watching them—the real father and daughter pair in this family. When did things get so screwed up? Why did I let it go on this long?
I sit in the car, half because I am dreading the job I've come here to do, and half because there is a part of me that thinks if I sit here long enough, she will come out and tell me that dinner has been on the table for ten minutes and it's getting cold. Slowly I get out of the car. My hands are shaking. I walk slowly towards the door…I can't do it, I can't go through with this. Why is this happening to me? I ring the doorbell, and my father answers.
"Hi Dad," I say, and for a moment he just stares at me. He looks so old. For a moment, I just want to throw my arms around him—but that's not what we do.
"Come in," he says.
"Lorelai, you can go in now," he says. He is still wearing the tuxedo—the bow tie untied, and the collar opened. I stare at him, "She's going to be okay Dad. She's going to be just fine." I reply. His face crumples and he shakes his head, "No…no she's not." I draw back, "Dad…I can't. We haven't even spoken in two years." He looks at me, and suddenly brings one hand up to my cheek. "Lorelai, your mother wants to say goodbye to you."
I open the door—there are no more tubes, she is just lying there. She turns and looks at me.
"You came," she says weakly, and I can tell it's hard for her to breathe. I come in and sit down next to her.
"I'm here Mom…I'm right here." I say, fighting back my own tears. She has always been so powerful, so commanding, and she looks so white and vulnerable now. She hold out her shaking hand to me, and suddenly tears pool in her eyes.
"I was so afraid you wouldn't come," she says and shame courses through me. "I'm here Mom," I say again. We sit in silence for a minute, and then she smiles. "If it had to be this way—I'm glad it was quick, and at a dinner party." I smile back, and lean forward. She coughs a few times, deep throaty coughs and I want the doctor to do something—anything to help her. It was only a matter of time the doctor had told me—she had been having heart problems for four years--since before the separation. She hadn't told me. Nobody but Dad knew. She stops coughing and looks up at me.
"Take care of your daddy for me okay?" she asks, and that's when I loose it. "Mom, don't say that, you're not going anywhere." I cry out and she continues as if she is ignoring me like always. "Daddy can't have red meat, and make sure he exercises everyday." I nod, my tears overflowing. "Okay," She coughs again, "Tell Rory I love her, and that I believe in her. Tell her I promise to send her a rainbow on graduation." She reaches up and wipes away my tears, and even that small action makes her chest heave. She slowly motions for me to come closer to her. I lean forward.
"Lorelai…" her breathing becomes even more labored, "I…am…so…sorry." I start to say something but she reaches up a hand and covers my mouth—as if there is more to say, as if she knows she is out of time.
"Lorelai…" she whispers. "I…love you…more than…anything in …the…world," I start to say it, start to say the words, when suddenly her eyes close, and the monitor next to her starts beeping wildly.
"Mommy!" I cry out and suddenly the doctors are there, and Dad is there, leading me out of the room. The doctors are just standing there--doing nothing, watching until the line on the monitor becomes perfectly horizontal. I stand there, watching through the plated glass, as my father enters the room again, takes my mothers hand, and lays his head on her chest. Suddenly, there is a noise of running footsteps in the hall. Luke comes around the corner, and I throw myself into his arms, sobbing.
"How are you Dad?" I ask—stupid question, but it was all I could think of. He nods slowly,
"I'm fine," he replies and motions for me to come upstairs. "Do you want to do this here?" he asks.
"Yeah, I took the night off so I could spend some time with you."
He smiles slightly, "That will be nice," he replies. "It's in your old room," he says, and leads me over to the door. I walk in to my room—unchanged with the passage of time. You'd think over the past two years she would have burned it or something, but everything remains unchanged. There is a small cedar chest sitting on my bed. "Is that it?" I ask. Dad nods. Suddenly, I'm a little afraid. I turn back to face him.
"Will you stay with me?" I ask pensively but he shakes his head. "No, she left specific instructions in the will that she wanted you to do this alone." He places a hand on my shoulder, and then turns out of the room. I walk in, and sit on the satin bedspread. Very slowly, I open the cedar chest. There are a lot of things inside, some I recognize—like the silverware set Aunt Hope hand given her, and there are some I don't. I reach in and take out a white envelope with my name on it. The tears start to fall as I open it up and start to read,