Disclaimer: Characters contained within do not belong to me.

Author's Notes: Yes, this is a character death piece, but it's a lot more than that, too. At least, I hope it will be. Please stick around;) I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!


The Last Embrace

by Kristen Elizabeth


"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." - Henri Nouwen


The baby was crying. There was nothing she could do about it. Her body felt heavy with her own tears. She was tired. Too exhausted to get up and be anyone's mother. Her baby's wails hurt her, but all she could do was whimper a few, false platitudes to the little girl.

"Mommy's coming, baby." She closed her eyes, and buried her face further into the pillow that no longer smelled of him. She'd changed the sheets before the call had come. The old ones were still wet in the washing machine. "Mommy's sorry."

There were so many things to do. Fortunately, there were a lot of people willing to do them for her. Had he known how beloved he was? Not just by her, but by his co-workers…his friends? They would take care of him in death. And they would try to take care of her in what currently passed for her life.

Had Doc Robbins already started the autopsy? Maybe he had assigned it to someone else. She wouldn't blame him. He had too much heart to be able to cut into a friend without emotion. She wasn't even sure why they had to do an autopsy at all. The cause of death was known. Why was there a need to open him up like a slab of…

The doorbell rang once. Then twice. The baby was still crying.

Gathering all of her strength, Sara forced herself to stand up. She ran a hand through her hair; it was limp and stringy. She didn't even want to look at her reflection in the mirror.

The baby kept crying even when she picked her up out of her playpen. "Dada," her daughter sobbed. It was all she could do to stay on her feet.

She wasn't expecting the person at the door. She wasn't even sure how she found out so soon. She hadn't called. Maybe one of them had. She'd given them her address book so they could make the appropriate notifications.

They must have called her mother. She'd been at the wedding, so they'd probably assumed she would want her mother to know. What had they told her?

I'm sorry, but your daughter's husband had a massive heart attack. He didn't make it.

Sara stood in the open door, her year-old daughter clinging to her neck. "Mom," she whispered. "He's gone."

Laura Sidle's hands shook with the need to reach out to her grieving child. But she couldn't. Not yet.

"He's gone," Sara repeated. Her face crumpled. "I can't bring him back…"

"Oh sweetie," was all her mother could say. "I know the feeling."


To Be Continued