Goodbye Sarah

Summary: Jeff struggles with feelings of loss and regret following Sarah's death as he says a final goodbye to the woman that he once loved. First Signs of Spring inspired this very short Homefront story.

Disclaimer: Homefront characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made.

Author: Tracy Diane Miller

E-mail address: Notes: For my mother, my Sara Arlene, for all that you were, all that you meant to me, and all that you allowed me to be, I love you and I'll miss you.

Goodbye Sarah

She looked so at peace, as if she were asleep, her face bearing no hint of pain. The doctors called them critical hours, but even as he tried to hold onto his faith and hope, seeing Sarah laying in that hospital bed his heart told him that the end was very near.

Jeff had driven all night from Clearwater when Linda had phoned him to tell him that Sarah had been shot. He had to be there for his family, for Hank.

He had to be there for Sarah.

Hank had wanted to get a cup of coffee and had asked him to stay in the hospital room with Sarah. As Jeff approached the bed, he whispered her name. Could she even hear him? Jeff remembered that someone once told him that people who were unconscious could hear those who loved them even after Fate had made it impossible for them to respond. The young ball player remembered being told that unconscious people could feel the love, wrap themselves around this love and hold onto it even when they no longer had the physical strength to hold onto anything else. Jeff gazed intently at Sarah. Then, a moment later, he frantically called for the nurse and told Ginger to find Hank. The doctor and nurse rushed into the room. Jeff told them that Sarah wasn't breathing

He stood there helpless, watching the doctor. But even before the doctor confirmed the worst, Jeff already knew. Sarah was gone.

Hank charged in the room. Jeff wanted to hug his brother, to comfort Hank, but the elder Metcalf, blinded by a potent combination of anger and grief, refused him.

2:00 a.m.

The night before Sarah's funeral, he couldn't sleep. The grief and memories of her had robbed him of the rest. The worst were the feelings of regret that filled his body and ate away at his soul. Jeff remembered that day at the park when he had pleaded with Sarah to come to see him. Yet, even after she told him that she wouldn't come and she hung up the phone on him, he had waited for her, clutching that bottle of perfume that he had bought for her. He was no speechmaker, but he was determined that when she met him at that park, he'd somehow convince her not to give up on their love.

But she never came.

Jeff remembered how angry he was with Sarah that night. She was going to marry Hank because of some screwy sense of obligation. You couldn't marry someone that you didn't love and he knew in his gut that Sarah loved him, not his brother.

Jeff remembered how hurt and angry he was watching Sarah walk down the aisle to the altar to marry Hank. Then, the lump in his throat strangled him as he saw and heard the priest pronounce Hank and Sarah husband and wife.

Dancing with Sarah and toasting the newlyweds were the hardest things that he had to do.

He never expected that he'd fall in love again, so soon, and that he'd give his heart to someone as screwy as Ginger Szabo.

Jeff remembered how angry he was, hanging those storm windows, when Sarah learned that he was dating Ginger and berated him for finding a girlfriend so quickly. It was in that moment that relationship with Sarah had changed forever. That had talked so much when Hank was overseas. They had shared their fears, hopes, and dreams. Jeff had told Sarah things that he would have never told his family. Sarah was the first person that he had told that he wanted to become a professional ball player.

She was the first woman that he had ever kissed.

When he became her brother-in-law, Jeff not only lost the woman that he loved, but he had also lost a special friend and confidante.

Although the grief and regret were so strong, Jeff desperately willed himself to be stronger. Yet, it was a fight for the young rookie. A part of him wanted to cry. Another part of him wanted to break something. But none of that would bring Sarah back. Instead, Jeff Metcalf arose from the bed, proceeded to the dresser, and opened a drawer. He shifted some clothes around until a shiny object became exposed to view. Jeff removed the item from the drawer and walked back to his bed. Jeff gazed at the locket in his hands. He remembered the day that he had given the keepsake to Sarah. He thought that the picture of him was goofy, but she had disagreed. She said that he looked very handsome.

Jeff drew solace in that tiny testament to a love that was gone forever. Yet, the fact that Sarah had kept so personal a gift even after her marriage to his brother told him that he had continued to hold a very special place in her heart.

Tomorrow would be the most difficult day of his life, saying that final goodbye to Sarah. But now, holding the locket in his hand, he was flooded with special, happy memories that he so desperately needed at that moment.

It wasn't fair that life would go on and feed on such unbearable pain. But maybe, that's the gift born from the death of those who meant the most. To live, to laugh, and to love when you feel as if your heart couldn't possible bear to do any of those things ever again.

The End