Dear God it has been forever! I am truly sorry about that, but I had a moment of writer's block, since my muse must have taken a vacation at some point. Don't worry, don't worry! I dragged her ass back here, and made her help me write this chapter. ;)
This one was not hard to write in the sense that it wouldn't come together, but for the fact that I got emotional when writing it. It brought up old memories for me, from several occasions in my real life, and once or twice I had to walk away, or take a break, myself. But I think it turned out the way I always envisioned it would. Not too greatly detailed, but just enough for you all to get the picture, and sort of help you into Sookie's mindset. She is kind of—in my mind—numb throughout this chapter, and I hope that shows, but that it's not too dull.
I hope you are all doing great, and again, sorry for such the delay. I hope I still have readers out there. *peers around the room*
Please do enjoy this chapter, and I hope I can get the next one out quicker this time. But trust me when I say this; No matter how long chapters take to come out, I will NOT give up on this story, and I hope you all will do the same. :)
Additional Info: For my other stories that have not been updated with the few I have just posted, stand by. In the next few days I am hoping and praying to update them, such as: Duality, True Awakening, and Getting Hitched.
I have bought a book to write down what I want in each chapter, for each of my stories, so hopefully, I am on a more normal and regular rotation of updates from now on. I really hope I can stick to it! Ha. :P
Try to ignore any mistakes I have made. I am sure there are several. I was rushing to get a few chapters for some of my stories out today, and didn't look over it as much as I probably should have. Forgive me. :)
I own nothing, nada, zip, zilch!
Got to write the obituary for the paper….
Which flowers? White roses or carnations….
What pictures should I use for the memory wall…?
I have to print out the prayer cards….
My mind recycled these questions about a thousand times last night and today. It had been so hard to sleep. I probably got only two hours, which wasn't nearly enough. I looked like a zombie pregnant woman right about now.
Instead of sleeping, I tortured myself over and over again that I should have taken Gran to the doctors. I should have forced her to go, and then I wouldn't have had to come home to an empty house after she passed away.
It was eerie walking into Gran's home. The lights had been turned off; leaving the house looking like it had been deserted for God knows how long. I had to grab onto Eric's hand, and shakily put the key into the lock, and then turn the door open. It creaked open—something that door had never done.
Everything was the same as we left it—as Gran had left it. The only difference was for the fact that the house felt cold now. Gran's warmth seemed to be sucked out as she left us.
Everyone was quiet before we left the hospital. None of us spoke a word to each other as we got into our own cars and headed back to each of our houses. It was a sad day for us all, and we had no words of comfort to give each other, when we all were feeling the weight of losing one of the most important women in our lives.
Eric tried to comfort me, but I wasn't really having it. I wasn't in the mood for comforting. But when we finally laid down, after putting Sebastian to bed, Eric threw his arm over my bulging stomach and rubbed circles, and whispered sweet nothings. It calmed me as best as I could be calmed.
But I still couldn't sleep, and I was so restless with questions for different things that must be done.
"Sookie…" Jason's voice coaxed me out of the trance I must have been stuck in. He sounded awful, like he too didn't get enough sleep. "Which one do you think?" His voice cracked on the last word.
Furrowing my brows in puzzlement, I looked down to find what he was talking about.
My heart sunk. Standing before me, all polished and pristine were coffins. All in different colors and styles.
I had tried to think of something else when we first had come in here, and I had succeeded—I forgot we were picking out Gran's coffin.
I didn't want to think about all of this. I didn't want to do all of this. But it had to be done. I brought Jason with me because I simply couldn't do this one alone.
But maybe I shouldn't have brought him.
I looked back up to see that his eyes were puffy and red, but he was trying to hide behind a baseball cap—something I hardly ever see him wear the right side around. The tip was pointed down, covering his face if he bent his head, and that is what he did when I tried to peer at him a bit closer.
He was having a hard time.
"The white one," I whispered to him. "She would have thought it was very pretty and elegant."
Jason nodded, grabbing my hand in his own, and walked us back to the front of the place to where the man selling them stood waiting. Jason told them which one we would like, pointing at it over right his shoulder.
"A very nice choice," The man murmured with what could be called as a sympathetic smile. "We will make this a very beautiful funeral."
Jason still hadn't let go of my hand. It was as if he was afraid that I too would go away if he wasn't hanging on. I squeezed his fingers in my own, giving him some support as we walked from the building after setting up the time and date for the actual funeral.
We hopped in his truck and for a minute he didn't start it up. He just sat there, with his hands on the wheel, peering out in front of him, but not really seeing anything at all. To me, his eyes looked glassed over with unshed tears.
"This is so hard to do, Sookie." Jason said softly after a few moments. "I honestly didn't think it would be this hard, you know?"
My lips thinned out into a hard line, and I looked down at my own hands, since I couldn't watch those tears slip from my brother's eyes.
"I know, Jason." I comforted. "But, we will get through it. It's what she would have wanted."
"You're so strong." He said in a puzzled tone. "How are you keeping it together?"
I thought for a moment, and realized I had no real answer for my brother. The pain inside of me, the hurt, and feelings of loss were excruciatingly painful, but the tears wouldn't come. I couldn't cry, and that got me worried. Was there something wrong with me?
"I gotta' be strong, Jas. Someone has to comfort everyone else, right?" I decided to say, turning to look out of the window. "Let's get going. I have a lot more I have to get done today, since the funeral is in two days."
As we got home, I noticed Sebastian playing in the yard with Nicole who was sitting on the porch steps. She watched as he ran around the yard, playing and jumping with a smile on his face. Nicole didn't look happy though. Her normal, bright smile couldn't fully touch her lips whenever Sebastian hopped over to her, handing her different things to hold for him.
Jason walked up the stairs, leaning down enough to kiss his wife's head before he moved inside the house to hang with Eric. I on the other hand, took the seat right next to my best friend, and I slung my arm over her shoulder in comfort.
"Hey," She murmured lightly. "How'd it go?"
"It went well." I said with a few light nods. "We picked a white one. It is pretty."
Silence enveloped us, but it wasn't totally uncomfortable. It was just…silence as we both turned our heads to watch Sebastian raise up his hands and cheer to a crowd that wasn't really there. I was glad that he was back to his normal self. He shouldn't have to be as sad as the rest of us—he was too innocent and good for it. No matter what, I wanted my little boy to be happy.
"So, I heard you guys picked the location where your new house will be built, starting in a few weeks." Nicole started in. "Jason and I took a ride over there, since it wasn't too far, you know? Well, it's a real beautiful spot. Your house is going to look wonderful."
"Thank you." I whispered.
"What's going to happen to Gran's house?"
My heart sunk for the second time today. I hadn't thought about that. But I knew, there was no way I was going to let anyone outside our family have this place.
"You and Jason are living in a pretty small house, right? Not really big enough for the family that you both want to have."
She shook her head. "Well, it would be big enough if we only have one baby." She rubbed her belly. "But we want at least one more in the future."
I smiled gently. "Then you guys can have this place."
Her eyes popped wide as she looked at me. "Sookie, no. I can't take this place from you."
I raised my hand for her to stop. "It was left to both Jason and I in Gran's will. Eric and I are going to build our own home, like you said. This house would be perfect for you and Jason and your family. There are four bedrooms. The one in the back by Gran's old room was used for storage, but we can clear that out." I said gently before continuing. "Besides, I know how much you love this house. It was always your ideal home, remember? You said that you wanted a farm house looking home. Well, this is that."
She bent her head down, and a small smile formed on her lips. "Thank you, Sookie. It—It would be wonderful to live here."
Rubbing her back, I continued. "Eric and I can move into his apartment for now, and give you the house, so you can start decorating the nursery for my beautiful niece. But it will take a few weeks to move and get everything cleared out that we don't want to keep."
She nodded, leaning into my side more. "Thank you, Sookie." She whispered again.
The silence drew us in again, but this time I was grateful for it. No matter how much I wanted to give this home to my brother, it still pained me a little bit. I was emotionally attached. But, in the long run, the house would always be here, and always be in our family. That made me feel better about the decision I made.
The day went by quickly, and so did the next. The morning of the funeral came so suddenly. One moment I was lying in my darkened room with Eric holding me, and the next it seemed to be dawn. The color broke through my window. The light curtains not holding back the rays of a new day.
I hadn't slept. It was the third night that I pretty much didn't.
Sometime during the night, Eric had rolled over, and away from me. I missed his warmth. It was the only thing that felt like it was keeping me tethered to the bed below my body. Rolling over, I threw my arm around him, pulling him closer to me, and burying my face between his shoulder blades. He was so warm, so welcoming.
I realized that I had been fretting a lot after Gran passed. As if Eric would leave me just the same. I needed him more now than ever, and I truly felt it as I held him close to me now. I couldn't go on if I lost him too somehow.
Closing my eyes, I shook my head slightly. Eric moved along with my motions, but didn't wake up.
No, I couldn't think like that. It only brought on more stress.
I wasn't going to lose anyone else. End. Of. Story.
Eric stirred next to me, turning around in the bed. He leaned down automatically and placed a very gentle kiss on my lips. He began to linger against my cheek, sliding over to my ear where he whispered to me.
"I love you," Was all he said in his raspy morning voice.
"I love you." I said back.
Eric stood up first, pulling me along with him, and standing me right on my own two feet. He embraced me for a moment. His warm arms hugging me tightly to him, but not enough to put too much pressure on my bulging belly. His left hand slipped in between us, massaging said belly and feeling the baby kick.
He knew how I was feeling today, so he wasn't pushing it. He had been walking on eggshells ever since Gran died, and I knew he had been. Eric eyed me all the time, just as the rest of them did.
They were all waiting to see me crack and fall to pieces.
They weren't doing it in a vindictive manner. They all were just watching to see if I would need them, and truthfully, I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure why the tears wouldn't come. I wasn't sure why I wasn't crying at different times of the day, like I caught everyone else doing.
It was a common thing for me, in the past few days. I would stumble upon someone in the house that was looking at something of Gran's, and tears would just be rolling down their faces. I comforted them when I saw it, and I guess they were wondering when they would be the shoulder for me to cry on.
I stepped in the shower, along with Eric. He grabbed me, holding me close as the warm water fell down on us. It was nice, but inside I felt horrible still. I was holding onto that pain too, which couldn't be very good for me.
"The obituary in the paper yesterday," I whispered. "I think it turned out good. Gran loved that picture we took of her in Hawaii."
"She said she looked ten years younger." Eric chuckled, putting his chin on my forehead and pulling my wet body as close to his as he possibly could. "God," He whispered, pulling away to grab the shampoo. I couldn't see his face, but I knew pain was evident. "I miss her. I never thought I could actually get this close to your family as I have. I haven't felt this bad since—since my own dad died."
I flinched, but that was all I could do. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry." Eric said gently, turning around and putting a glob of shampoo in my hair. He massaged it in. "None of it is your fault."
Soft music played in the background of the small funeral home we had here in Bon Temps. Though it was small, it was still beautiful on the inside. Cream colored carpets rose into pearl colored walls, with beautiful little golden encased circular lamps on the ceiling. There were some pictures adorning the walls of different sorts of flowers and even a bigger painting of an ocean side lighthouse. I didn't know how that was significant, but it was still a beautiful painting nonetheless.
The chairs were a dark cherry red, with light neutral colored flowers hand stitched into the cream colored upholstery. The windows had been opened, because it was a beautiful day outside—sort of chilly, but not too bad. The curtains that were being held back were the same style as the upholstery of the chairs in the small opened area.
Up front laid my Gran's open casket, with thousands of flowers scattered around it. We chose more than just carnations or roses. We had several different kinds, and all ones that Gran adored so much when she was a live. It was sort of beautiful, the way it looked something like an enchanted meadow surrounding the coffin itself. We had chosen Gran's best suit that she would be buried in—her light blue blazer and pants, with the white under shirt. They made her look beautiful. It was something I was afraid of in the beginning. I was terrified that they wouldn't be able to do my Gran justice, but I stood corrected as I looked down at her a few minutes ago. She was beautiful with her hair all done up, and light makeup on her paled features. She just looked like—like she was sleeping peacefully.
I now stood outside the funeral home, greeting guests as they passed in their all black attire. I noticed each of them carried their own handkerchief in their hands as they passed, saying their condolences with teary eyed glances.
And not just a few people came, not just the whole town, but people Gran influenced before in her life, people I never even met myself. Old friends came from far away states; almost everyone that Gran ever knew had come today. I was humbly surprised at the outcome. One woman, in the entire world, had touched every single one of these people who spoke from the heart about, 'How great of a woman she was', or 'I was so very glad I had the privilege to know such a wonderful woman'.
It was then that I knew just how very proud I was to be her Granddaughter.
The only problem was for the fact that I knew not everyone would be able to come inside the funeral home, and that made me feel sad, in a way. These people drove, flew, took buses, just to come today, and not every single one would be able to be inside as the preacher spoke about Gran. But none of them seemed to care, in a way. It was like, as long as they were there to say goodbye, they were happy.
So I nodded in thanks, trying my best to give them an encouraging smile, but it wasn't working as well as I hoped it would be. The weight inside of me seemed to get ten times heavier since realizing that today was the day I was going to bury the woman who raised me most of my life.
"I have to go check on the food at the firehouse," I spoke to my little group of family that was standing around. "I'll be back real quick. It should only take a few moments."
The firehouse was where we were going to have the meal after the burial, and quite conveniently, it was only a half block down from the funeral home itself. I could walk and be back in a few moments.
"I already took care of it." Grace spoke up, stepping up next to Eric and grabbing Sebastian out of his arms. "Everything is okay, Sookie."
Her words were softly spoken. She was basically telling me now that I needed to rest. I had been on my feet almost all morning, and they were all worried about me. I could see it in their eyes as they shifted to each other, all in agreement that I needed to get off of my feet. Besides, the ceremony will be starting in a few minutes as well. I nodded once, grabbing Eric's hand, and walked up the funeral home's stairs before making my way down the aisles of people.
The room was full, crammed full of people—as many people as we could fit inside. The others were standing outside the windows, in neat rows. It was another reason why we had the windows open. So the people that couldn't come inside could still hear the words being spoken.
As soon as all the people went up to the coffin, whispering sweet goodbyes to my Gran, everything started and the pastor spoke his words so lovingly. I listened with my full heart, with my eyes clear, and my ears open to hear the words of God, and how this wasn't the end of my Gran's life, but the beginning. She was going home to be with our Lord, to live in paradise, and watch down over everyone she has ever loved.
A few people decided that they would want to speak about her, so after the pastor was done; we all went in turns, talking about what a great woman Gran was. Jason, Nicole, Sam, Hoyt, Tara, Grace, Amelia, Eric, and so many more. They all spoke words about the time they got to share with Gran, and how much she touched their lives.
And then it was my turn. I sat in my seat as my brother came down, blowing his nose into a tissue as he went. He gripped my shoulder as I stood, and gave me a little bit of strength he had left. I nodded, leaning in to kiss my brother's cheek gently before continuing.
I stood at the small podium they had set up, with no notes in my hands, because I didn't really need them. What I would say today would come from my heart, no matter what the words were. No matter how silly they might be for anyone else. I wasn't trying to impress anyone. I just wanted my Gran to hear me, one last time, as I said my goodbyes.
I took a deep breath through my nose and began.
"My Gran was my role model. She always knew what to say, when to say it. She wanted me to be the best that I could be, and helped me get into the college of my dreams. We had little to no money when I decided to go, and the scholarship could only do so much for me. Gran, she took that burden away from me and helped me get into the university. I still remember the little care packages of food and other homely supplies she sent almost every week," I chuckled a little bit before continuing. "And then I did something I knew she wouldn't be truly proud of. I went to a party, and six weeks later I found out I was pregnant." I cleared my throat.
"She could have been furious, she could have told me I ruined my life, and to be honest I wouldn't have gotten mad at her. But she didn't. When I told her, she gave me a shoulder to cry on, and all the possible love that I could ever need from someone. She had been there for me when I thought I couldn't do it, to when I decided to move home.
"She would always tell me that these things happen for a reason. That those things happen because it is destiny. To be honest, I didn't believe her. I didn't believe that coming back home, to almost nothing, would be my greatest destiny. I can stand here today, and tell you how wrong I have been.
"I got everything I ever asked for, and all I had to do was come home. Gran believed in me, no matter what my situation was. I have a family, the family I was always meant to have from the beginning, and it had everything to do with her. If I never listened to her, and her plea for me to come home where I always belonged, I would have never gotten to live my destiny the way it was meant to be. I owe—I owe my life and happiness to her. I owe her everything because…she was always there, no matter what it was I was going through.
"I stand here today with the weight of a loss so great on my shoulders, and in my heart. I lost the most important role model in my life. I lost the one person that told me I could do anything if I set my heart to it. And it hurts—" The tears that wouldn't come before, came now in a gush that rolled down both cheeks heavily. "—it hurts so much. But the pain I feel is so very small to the love I will always keep with me for the rest of my own life. I lost my Gran, but I gained a family in the end, and I know Gran would want me to be happy for everything, be grateful for the time we shared, and never to be sad. She would want us all to look back on the memories with smiles on our faces instead of sadness in our hearts.
"We lost an amazing woman, but we gained the most magnificent Guardian Angel. My Gran has her wings now, she is watching over all of us today, and for that, I can smile."
There were murmurs of fascination as I finished, and my teary eyes found the love of my life. He stood from his chair, holding his hand out in front of him in waiting. He was waiting for me to grab ahold, and to never let go. I would never let him go, because I believe in my heart, that Gran knew what she was talking about when she said everyone had an Essential Destiny. Eric was my future, my forever, and I have been blessed.
Gran is happy for me, and I know it. Therefore, the weight of sadness will be able to fade away, and because, she never is truly gone.
She is with me in my heart, and in my heart I will carry her with me, always.