AUTHOR'S NOTES: Of all the TV series finales I've seen, the Saving Grace finale was definitely a good one. It seemed a bit rushed, but overall it was very well done.
As far as the NCIS element, rewatching the NCIS episode 'Grace Period' made me think of the similarities between Grace Hanadarko and Paula Cassidy.
SAVING GRACE: What Are You Waiting For?
(Crossover w/ NCIS)
The sky was bluer than it ever had been in Oklahoma City and it seemed like the entire city and half of the United States turned out for the funeral of Grace Hanadarko. Her fellow cops wore dress uniforms and her family and closest friends dressed somberly as they accompanied their Angel Cop to her final resting place.
Perched in a tree, overlooking the procession, Grace wanted to smile, to offer her loved ones some comfort, but she couldn't feel it in her heart. Looking back on her actions, she wondered if she'd chosen the right battlefield. But really it didn't matter. The result would have been the same. She'd seen the wreckage after the explosion, had seen one of the firefighters find Mary Francis's necklace.
"Self sacrifice seems different when you're looking at the other end of it, doesn't it?" When Grace turned to the woman who had spoken, the other woman held out a hand which Grace shook, briefly. To the unasked question, the woman said, "Special Agent Paula Cassidy, Naval Criminal Investigative Service."
"You set off a bomb?" Grace asked, curiously.
Paula smiled and shook her head, watching the memorial service. After a while, she said, "It was a reflex. I was in this abandoned building. This trap door opened and I tackled a terrorist before he could blow up everyone else." The two sat in silence for a few minutes before Paula asked, "What did it feel like?"
"When the explosion happened? That moment when you realize your life is over?" Grace asked as she heard the sounds of Chantal Kreviasuk's 'Feels Like Home'. She nodded towards the service and the song. "It felt like that. But it wasn't like any other time I'd almost died. I felt ready. Prepared."
"I didn't feel prepared," Paula said, quietly. "I just felt scared. I saw everyone in the room and I saw the bomber."
"What do you feel now?" Grace asked as she closed her eyes and savored the feel of the breeze.
Paula shrugged. "I don't know. I keep wondering if there was something I could have done differently."
"Ham was going to propose," Grace said as she felt the thoughts and prayers from her family and friends. "My captain, Kate Perry, she was going to name her daughter after me." Looking at Paula, she smirked. "Kate was going to pretend it was after her grandmother or something, but…" Staring into the distance, she added, "I would have said 'yes' to Ham. Would have set up a double wedding with Kate. If Ham and I'd had kids I would have named our son Rafe after Ham's brother. And I'd have named our daughter Mary Francis after my sister."
"You're missing some beautiful eulogies," Earl said as he appeared below Paula and Grace. Looking up at his former charge, he went on. "Johnny said you knew God in a way he never would. Your Mom said she wished you'd confided in her more."
Grace thought about that for a moment and said, "What about Clay?"
Earl smiled at Grace and held out a hand to her. "Why don't you see for yourself?"
Grace looked at Paula who shook her head. "I don't want to do this alone."
"You're never alone, Champuli," Grace's grandfather—GeePaw—said with a smile. Next to him, Mary Francis stood smiling. "Come on."
Grace hopped down from the tree and followed her grandfather and sister towards the service while Earl stayed behind, looking up at Paula. "You coming?"
Once down on the ground, Paula sighed. "I was so eaten up with guilt. I killed my team." Seeing Earl about to argue, she shook her head. "I know, I know. It's not my fault. But you've got a lot to learn about guilt, Earl. For angels it's a fleeting emotion. But for us humans, it's a force that can override reason, compassion… everything."
"You think I don't know that?" Earl asked, curiously. "I know it wasn't just the desire for a throwdown with evil that took Grace out there. And I know that she felt guilty for not doing more for Leon Cooley, for killing that little girl… for not being there when her sister needed her." Studying Paula, he said, "I know you feel guilty for not being there when Anthony DiNozzo broke up with Jeanne Benoit. For sending your agents into that building."
"And I feel guilty for comparing my actions to Grace's," Paula added. "Grace acted to save her family, friends…"
"And you didn't?" Earl countered. "Your actions were heroic, Paula. Never tell yourself otherwise."
Clay Norman, Grace's nephew didn't want to look at the crowds of people. He couldn't believe his Aunt Grace was gone. After all the crying he'd done the past few days, he didn't think he had any more tears in him. Finally looking up, he felt a warm glow and what felt like the brushing of wings. Taking a quick second to look around but seeing nothing other than his family and Grace's friends, Clay turned back to the crowd and took a deep breath. "Grace was my favorite aunt. She was always cool and… And even when I screwed up she still loved me. She wasn't perfect. But no one really is." Clay didn't want to finish the speech. But when he felt a hand on his shoulder, he seemed to feel a wave of renewed strength. "At first I wondered why God would want Aunt Grace to die… But when my Uncle Leo said the bomb that killed Aunt Grace was the same kind that killed my Mom, I know that Aunt Grace gave her life to save others from losing their families. And I know she'll always be looking out for me from Heaven."
"I'm not ready for this," Grace said, quietly as she watched Clay walk past her and sit down.
"No one ever is," GeePaw said, putting an arm around his granddaughter's shoulders. "Even when you see the end coming, you're never ready for it. You think about all the things you wanted to do." Looking at Grace he gave her a look as he went on. "All the things you wish you did differently."
Grace leaned her head against her grandfather's shoulder and looked at the live people around her. "I wish I'd told Ham how much I love him. That I'm sorry I put him through so much pain. I'd tell Paige…" Grace took a deep breath and said, "I'd tell her… how I saved her from Father Murphy when she was a kid. And I'd tell Clay how much he's like his mom."
Next to her, Marry Francis shook her head. "No, Grace. Clay's like you. He loves with all his heart and he's passionate."
"I just wish I could stay with them," Grace said as the service concluded. "Even if they can't see me." Closing her eyes she felt wings surrounding her and when she opened her eyes again, she felt lighter than she'd ever felt and when she opened her eyes again, she saw a pair of the most beautiful wings she'd ever seen. In front of her was Earl with a smile on his face. Looking around, Grace found that she and Earl were alone on the beach where they'd shared their last meal. "What gives, Earl?" Grace asked as she looked at her wings.
Earl extended his own wings and although his expression was solemn, his eyes were smiling. "I can't bring you back, Grace," he said, as he held out a hand to Grace. "But I can do the next best thing."
"You're making me an angel?" Grace asked, surprised.
"There's plenty of people in Oklahoma City who need a last chance angel," Earl replied, still holding out a hand. "And I think you'd be perfect for the job."
Grace considered it, but after a moment, she said, "But my family wouldn't remember me, would they? If they saw me?"
"No," Earl replied, sadly. "But you'd still be able to help them. Help them heal… help them move on. And you'd help a lot more people than just your family. Other families, people at the end of their rope who need a hand." Taking a few steps towards Grace, he smiled. "What do you say?"
Closing the space between them, Grace took Earl's hand and smiled as they were both engulfed in a blinding light. "What are we waiting for?" she asked as she felt the purest love she'd ever felt fill her body.
When Ham Dewey into the OCPD Major Crimes Unit a few days later, he stopped dead when he saw a familiar jewelry box sitting on his desk along with a note. He slowly sat down and opened the ring box that held the engagement ring he'd bought for Grace. His breath caught in his throat as he opened the note and saw Grace's handwriting.
'I'll always be with you, Ham. I love you.'
Closing his eyes and holding the note close, Ham let himself cry. All of the anger, guilt, and pain he'd felt about Grace's death hit him at once but as he looked at the ring again, he could swear he felt wings brushing his cheek but instead of feeling the usual fear associated with his bird phobia, there was a feeling of… Whirling around, he looked around the room but he was alone. And yet he could still feel that wonderful feeling of comfort…
A feeling of grace.