Just a short little ending. Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed (especially pussycatwithattitude for commenting on every chapter without fail!) and just thanks. I've loved writing this. This is shorter than every other chapter, but this is just an epilogue. This is for you guys xxx
In typical, clichéd stories and movies, cemeteries and graveyards are depicted as being dark and gloomy and utterly depressing. A lifeless and soul-less place, terrifying to be in after dark, haunted by the ghosts and spirits of all those who lay buried beneath the ground. But these stupid stories and ridiculous films are wrong; graveyards are sincerely one of the most beautiful places in the world. There is a kaleidoscope of colours printed across the horizon, thousands of brightly coloured petals brightening up the place. There are blossom trees scattered in all directions, the tiny pink blossom petals scurrying and rushing across the uneven concrete slabs in the mid-spring breeze. This place isn't haunted either: it's completely silent, which is both eerie and stunning. The silence comforts her as she walks down the grey pathway, a young bunch of flowers hanging limply in her right hand. She is in her own company, totally alone, shrouded within a bubble of quiet. There is no one else here on a Sunday afternoon, but it doesn't faze her. The only thing that remotely worries her is that this is, in fact, the first time she has visited her daughter's grave without her husband by her side. Rob doesn't know that she's coming here today, and he wouldn't suspect that this would be the place she was at, even if he did come home early. The reason she didn't tell him was because she knew he would insist on coming with her, and she had to do it by herself this time otherwise she never would.
It's been over four years since she lost her daughter. In that time, she and Rob had gotten married (after he proposed again seeing as the fit made her forget the first one where she had been lying on the hospital bed, waiting for the surgery), Karen had been reinstated as headmistress of Waterloo Road, and one of her other daughters, Jess, was pregnant for the second time after becoming engaged to Aiden. Everything was perfect for Jess, but Karen had learnt that she could never resent her children. She would never again judge them or hold them back because if she lost another one, then she would die.
She approaches the headstone, she can see it and although her head is screaming and begging for her to stop and turn and run away, she persists and within the next ten seconds, she reaches a tunnel to her past. The headstone is black marble, but does not stand out in the swarm and midst of hundreds of other gravestones. There is writing etched upon it, the beautiful words chosen by her husband; she was too distraught at the time to have any considerable input.
'Rosamund Eloise Scotcher.
Sleep tight baby, we'll never forget you.'
No mother should ever have to bury their child, but she pushes that thought aside. It seems strange that Karen is smiling as she sits down, cross-legged on the cold ground, but she has no tears to shed anymore. The first three times they visited together, she cried and wept so hard that she collapsed down into Rob's arms and begged for her to come back. But with every time she visited, the pain still existed, but it wasn't as ferocious and overbearing anymore, although it was still horrendous at times. She places the flowers down by the grave and strokes the headstone, the coldness of the marble resonating across her skin giving her goose bumps, although that is not the only reason she has them.
'Hey baby,' she says calmly, replacing her hands back on her knees, 'It's just me today; daddy couldn't make it.' It used to unnerve her when people spoke to headstones, it didn't seem right, but no one knows what is right or wrong in society until they go through the agony of losing a child themselves. Now, it seems like the most average thing, and Karen knows that somewhere her baby is listening to her words. She needs this for comfort and healing, and it helps. 'Well I can't stay long baby, but I've got enough time for a chat.' She unwraps the flowers from their plastic coating and lays them skilfully across the gravestone. They are a subtle and calming blue against the black, and Karen begins to explain her choice to her daughter.
'I bought you some forget-me-nots. I got blue flowers because I didn't want to stereotype you just as a simple girly girl because you're so much more than that darling. As for the forget-me-nots, just to explain that we're never going to forget you baby. But you already know that don't you darling?' Karen continues to smile, and she again strokes the headstone. There are so many things she wants to tell her baby, and so, for the next forty five minutes, Karen tells Rosamund about her siblings (Jess, Harry, Bex and Aiden), and then about her niece Carla and then about her daddy Rob. It seems silly to some, but this is her baby's family and Karen realized a few years ago that Rosamund deserves to know everything about them.
In the first year since her death, her darling daughter's gravestone was covered in huge amounts of flowers, ranging from such unexpected people as Naomi, all the way over to the students at Waterloo Road, who on Karen's first week back all walked out of school at break time and went to the cemetery to offer their respect. It had both broken and healed Karen's heart.
'And then, daddy was trying to help Uncle Tom fix the drinks machine in the canteen, but he blew one of the fuses and then it exploded milkshake all over him,' Karen said, chuckling drily. Time has been very kind to her, and her face is still as radiant and beautiful as ever, but vaguely lined and weary, but in all honesty what would you expect? Seeing the time to be now half past three, Karen realizes that if she wants to get home on time before Rob does, she has to leave now.
'Hang on baby, before I go, I brought something for you,' Karen suddenly exclaims, and she reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out a photo frame. She kept this picture for three years, in this very pocket ever since they cleared out the nursery, never having the courage to actually put it down. She puts the photo by the gravestone and Karen sees the picture for the first time in three years. Rob, her fantastic and incredible husband, and a heavily pregnant version of her, lying on a bed and she is being fed ice cream by him. Karen's smile only increases when she sees it again; it may be painful to look back at herself as pregnant as this with nothing to show for it but a gravestone, but it shows her such a happy time in her life. She is happy again now, but the metaphorical hole in her heart will never ever heal. But her tears do not exist anymore; she has none left to shed. She loves her family, and she loves her baby, and love is all they need to stay connected. Just because someone is not living on this earth with you, and their life has been so cruelly snatched away, love exists between two people anywhere and everywhere.
It took Rob and Karen just two hours to pick their baby's name in the end. Rosamund was after Rob's grandmother, Eloise from a name book, and Karen made sure that her baby kept her daddy's surname. 'Fisher' technically belonged to Charlie, and although they now get on fine, her baby is nothing to do with him. It's just her little girl, so brutally wrenched away from her and Rob's lives.
'Bye Rosie, sleep tight baby,' Karen whispers, a small smile on her lips. She strokes the gravestone once more with her palm, which sounds like a strange thing to do but this is her little girl, and she blows a kiss to the headstone before starting the long trek through the bright and beautiful cemetery. Rosamund Eloise Scotcher – frankly, Karen's never been more proud of anyone in her life.