Chapter 16 Emotional Goodbye
Margaret Hanson walked down the hallway of the hospital and stopped in front of her son's room. She peered into the small window and the sight before her almost broke her heart. Her only son was sitting on the floor in the far corner, his head resting on his knees. Sighing, she slowly opened the door and made her way inside.
"Tommy?" she said quietly, trying not to startle her son. She placed a hand on his arm and shook it slightly. "Tommy, wake up honey." She forced a smile as he lifted his head. She reached out and brushed the hair out of his face. Her heart ached from the sadness that looked back at her. "Come on honey; let's get you back into bed. It's got to be a bit more comfortable." She helped him up and over to the bed.
"Mom, are you okay?" Tom asked as he settled into the bed.
Margaret nodded, sitting on the edge of the bed. "I just can't believe everything that has happened." A tear slipped down her face as she tried to hold back her emotions. Tom took her hand and pulled her close to him. Careful not to hurt his damaged ribcage, she laid down next to her son. Tom wrapped an arm around her and held her tight.
"He was at the bowling alley that night." Tom said.
"What?" Margaret asked quietly.
"The night we were all there. Doug and I went out to get into the mustang and he was standing there next to it. I thought someone was trying to steal it and I chased him into the alley." Tom said. "When I saw him for the first time, I didn't believe it was him." Tom fought to keep the tears from falling as he spoke. "He came to my apartment afterwards." His breath hitched as he choked back a sob.
"Tommy…" Margaret began.
"I..I said some horrible things to him." Tom said in between sobs. The guilt of that night was almost too much to bear. "I yelled at him and told him that he wasn't my father anymore." Tom wiped at his eyes as the tears began to flow freely.
Margaret sat up and wiped the tears from Tom's eyes. "Honey, he knows that you didn't mean any of it."
"No Mom, I was so mean to him. I never should have said those things to him." Tom cried. "I should have told him how much I missed him and that I loved him. Instead all I could do was yell at him."
Pulling her son close to her, Margaret held him as the sobs shook his body. "Honey, Dad understood. He told me about what happened at your apartment. He didn't blame you for anything you said. He loved you."
Tom rested his head against his mother's chest and let the tears fall. He felt so guilty about the things that happened with his father. He had a second chance to be with him and he had blown it. He had let his anger of losing his father the first time take over his emotions and he had taken it out on him. Tom's body shook as he recalled the memories of that night in his kitchen.
Tom Hanson sat quietly in the wooden chair next to his mother. He was dressed in a simple black suit and tie. His face was unnaturally pale except for the deep purple colored bruise that decorated his left cheek. Dark circles lay beneath his eyes, evidence of the lack of sleep that he had endured for the past few days. His hair hung loosely across his eyes as his head hung slightly towards his chest. His usually bright eyes were now dark and lifeless.
Doug stood behind his friend. He fought to find the right words to say to somehow comfort him. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't think of anything that would ease the hurt that Tom was going through. As the service began, Doug did the only thing that he could think of…he placed a comforting hand on Tom's shoulder.
Tom could see the priest's lips moving but could not comprehend any of the words that were spoken. He stared straight ahead at the wooden casket that held his father's earthly remains.
"You've got to be the man of the house now Tommy." Charlie said, sitting the sixteen year old boy down. "Your mother needs you right now, more than ever."
Tommy loosened the tie around his neck and sighed. Watching his father's casket being lowered into the cold ground was the hardest thing he ever had to do. He had held back his tears, not wanting anyone to see his emotions.
"I know Charlie." Tommy said. "I'll make my dad proud, I promise."
Charlie patted the young man on the shoulder. "I know you will. Your dad would be so proud of the way you're handling all of this."
Tom reached out and took his mother's hand as the uniformed officers stepped forward and raised their rifles. Captain Fuller arranged for a 21 gun salute in honor of Patrolman Tom Hanson Sr. Tom couldn't help but flinch as the first shot echoed throughout the silence of the cemetery. Each shot brought back memories of the gunshot that took his father's life. His body trembled slightly as the memories haunted him.
Doug felt the tremors course through his partner's small frame. He fought the urge to wrap his arms around Tom. Doug couldn't help the tears that slipped underneath his dark sunglasses. Quickly he wiped them from his eyes as the priest finished the service. He watched as a uniformed officer stepped forward to offer the flag that covered Tom Hanson's casket to his wife. As soon as she placed her hands around the flag, she burst into tears and whispered her thanks. Tom wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
At the end of the service, the priest announced that the friends and family members could come up and say their goodbyes. Harry took Judy's hand and led her up to the casket where she placed a white rose atop the wooden box. Turning back, they made their way over to Tom and his mother. Judy leaned in and hugged Tom, then his mother.
"I'm so sorry for your loss." Judy said to Margaret.
"Thank you Judy, Harry." Margaret said. "I really appreciate you both being here."
"Let us know if there's anything we can do." Judy said.
"Thanks. I will." Margaret said, forcing a smile.
"That goes for me too Mrs. Hanson. Anything you need, day or night. Just let us know." Captain Fuller stated.
"Thank you Captain Fuller." Margaret said. "You all have been so wonderful to us. We really appreciate it all."
Fuller, Judy and Ioki left the cemetery together after the funeral. "Doug, you coming?" Judy asked.
Doug shook his head. "I need to stay around, in case Tom needs me."
Judy quickly kissed Doug on the cheek and smiled at him. "We'll see you later then. Call us if you need anything."
Doug nodded and watched as they left. He turned around to find Margaret talking to some people over near the limo. He searched the area for his friend and found Tom over near his father's casket, which had yet to be lowered into the ground. He knew Tom needed some time, so he made his way over to Margaret.
Tom Hanson still sat in the wooden chair near his father's gravesite. He stared ahead blankly at the wooden box that held his father's earthly remains. He couldn't bring himself to leave, yet he couldn't bring himself to go near the casket either. He was startled when someone came up behind him.
"Do you need some more time?" A man asked him. Tom looked up and saw that it was worker from the cemetery. "I mean, would you like some more time before I lower the casket?"
Tom couldn't make the words leave his lips, so he nodded at the man. He was left alone with the casket. Gathering up his strength, he stood up and walked over to the wooden box. Placing a hand on top of the smooth lid, he ran his fingers along the grains in the wood.
"I have so many things that I wanted to say to you. I don't even know where to begin." Tom sighed and tried to put his thoughts together.
"When I lost you the first time, I kept everything inside. I had to be there for Mom. She was so devastated and she needed me. I did the best that I could. I was only 16. I always tried to do the best. I wanted to make you proud of me." Tom's fingers continued to follow the lines in the smooth wood. "That's why I became a cop. I wanted to be just like you. I looked up to you. You meant the world to me and if I could be half the man that you were, I could be proud."
Tom felt a tear slip down his cheek as he took a deep breath. "I'm so sorry for the way that I treated you dad." Tom began. He choked back a sob as he continued. "I….I never should have said those things to you. I was angry and hurt, but I had no right to treat you the way I did. You didn't deserve that." Tom felt his knees weaken and he slipped down to the cold ground, placing his forehead against the casket. "P-please forgive me Dad…please." More tears slipped down his face and he quickly brushed them away. He didn't want to loose control of his emotions now. "I am so grateful that I had the chance to spend another day with you. I love you so much."
Tom forced himself to stand up as the grey skies began to open up and the rain started to fall softly. The caretaker returned and sent him an apologetic glance.
"I'm sorry, but I have to lower it into the ground now."
Tom nodded and sighed. He wiped away a few stray tears as he watched the casket being lowered into the ground slowly. He shuddered as the first shovel full of dirt was thrown on top of the casket. Looking down into the grave, Tom felt his heart breaking into a million pieces once again. "Goodbye Dad." He whispered as he turned and made his way over to the waiting limo.
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to end this one here or not. But Hanson's Angel sent me a wonderful review saying that I'd know if it was time to end it or not. Well, after reading this chapter again and taking her advice, I really feel like this is the perfect time to end this story.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to review. They all meant the world to me. I am so proud of this story because I think it's the best one that I've written yet. I've learned to correct some mistakes and take my time in developing the storyline. I am so proud to put my name on this one! Now, the pressure's on to top it! LOL!