She drifted slowly out of sleep, unsure what exactly had awakened her. After so long, the ever present hum and occasional beeping from the medical machinery surrounding her hardly even registered, let alone disturbed her slumber.
A sudden rustling in the corner caught her attention. Someone was sitting there, cast in shadows by the moonlight slanting through the room's one small window. "Hello?" she asked softly, not wanting to disturb the nurses at their station down the hall. And then, because she could just make out a cascade of hair falling across unseen shoulders, she continued, "River, is that you?"
The woman in the shadows leaned forward, letting the light fall across her features. "No, Grandmother, it's me."
"You shouldn't be here, child."
"I know. But there's somebody I wanted you to meet." Her grandaughter stood up and, moving forward, placed the small bundle she'd held into Amelia's lap. "Your great-grandson."
She gazed down at the infant in her arms. Two small perfect fists punched the air, bright blue eyes gazing up at her from beneath a patch of moss brown hair. She marveled at the feel of the baby's skin, his cheek so soft and smooth and new against her own aged finger. Without lifting her eyes, she asked, "What's he called, then?"
"We've named him Rory, Nana."
This time she did look up, tears rolling freely down her cheeks as she smiled up at the younger woman briefly before turning her attention back to the infant in her arms.
And as she peered down into his face – into that shadowed reflection of all the faces she'd ever held dear and that which was uniquely him – the rest of the world faded away. Became somehow unimportant. Even the alarms sounding loudly now from the walls around her.
"Isn't there anyone else to call?" Abigail asked, glancing down the hall towards the room where orderlies were clearing out the last of Amelia William's belongings.
Justin looked up from where he sat at the nurses station. "No. Apparently, she hadn't any family left."
Abigail sighed and shook her head. "What a shame. No one should die alone like that. And such a nice old lady, too." Then, shaking her head again, she repeated, "What a shame."