Summary: Ruth Tracy's talking to her husband Grant.

Author's Note: The song 'To Where You Are' belongs to Josh Groban, to whom I give my humble thanks for inspiring me in so many ways - this is just one of them. No infringement intended. Just homage to Mr. Groban and my main love Thunderbirds. This story has been archived at the Tracy Island Chronicles for a good five years now, I think.


TO WHERE YOU ARE


I can't show the emotion. Not to Jeff, to Lucy...not to our grandsons. I just wasn't ready for you to leave us. To leave me. No, can't show them how much it's torn me up because it's not how you'd want me to be. I know you, Grant Tracy. I know you better than I know myself. "Pull yourself up," you always said to Jeff. "Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and never let 'em see what's really going on inside."

"Let it go, Mother," you'd say to me. "Just let it go, it was meant to happen." Of course, that was when my mother died and I was devastated. My mother had always been my best friend, my most trusted confidante. But you told me, "All things die, Mother, it's the way of this world we live in." And you wouldn't want me to grieve so much.

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here

I feel you all around me
Your memory's so clear

You know something, it's funny...I can almost hear you saying these words to me now. As though you're standing right next to me here in our bedroom. You've only been buried a week now. I keep expecting you to come walking through that door with your clomping boots. I half expect you to plop down on the end of the bed and get them off and to smell those feet of yours as you peel your sweaty socks away and toss them across the room into the hamper. Somehow you always made it and you knew you'd better, too, because you knew I wouldn't pick those things up for anything in the world. I swear there's nothing worse than the smell of a man's socks and boots after a hard day's work.

"Ruthie, that kitchen smells awful good," you'd say. That was my compliment on dinner that night and I always knew it. You appreciated me, you appreciated our son. You loved us both so much. Much more than you let on, but we knew. Both of us. "You cooked my favorite tonight, didn't you, Mother?" And I'd laugh and say, "Well, of course, Grant, it's Tuesday night, that's always pot roast night." We had a schedule and hell and damnation if it was put out in any way.

Why, you'd even come in from a harvest to have dinner and dessert on time and then you'd be right back out there in the combine until all hours, but you'd sure enough be back before dawn for your coffee and then off to milk the cows. I lie here now, it's our bedtime, yours and mine. We'd fall into bed exhausted after a long day and time would pass and then your snores would fill the air and I'd drift off. And sometimes in the middle of the night I'd hear you whisper it when you thought I was asleep.

"I love you, Ruth."

Deep in the stillness I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration, can it be

That you are my forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

You overcame a lot to build this farm. To make it what it is. Make it turn a profit and support your family. We even got big enough for farmhands and thank God for that because without you I couldn't keep this place going. It's just too damn big for one woman though I do well at keeping those farmhands in line. You wouldn't believe the other day young Bart Jones there tried telling me he'd fixed that back fence. Sure enough when I rode out there to check it he hadn't and I called him on it. "Sorry, ma'am, I'll fix it right away, ma'am." I told him, "You'd better or you'll be out of a job!"

I think you're proud of me. I know you're proud of Jeff even though you would never have admitted it. Just because he didn't want to be a farmer, oh, boy, did you two have some rows about it. I stayed neutral, though, supporting you as my husband and Jeff as my son and you had the sense not to try and put me in the middle of a fight I had no business being part of.

The window's open, there's a soft breeze blowing in and I can see the stars tonight. It's the kind of night you and I might have gone walking if we had any energy left after our day and if those youngsters were finally asleep. We knew what Jeff and Lucy would be doing in that room during their visits and so we'd go out and walk through the fields, around the yard, up to the road and back. You would hold my hand. You always held my hand. Silently proclaiming to the world or just to animal night life that you were mine and I was yours.

I can't help but wonder looking up at that night sky now if you're really up there. If Heaven really exists but just can't be seen and if you're floating somewhere up in space looking down here now. Jeff and Lucy are asleep, they stayed up with me for a while but I just wanted to be alone. They're heading back to Florida, Jeff can't be away for too long. They're worried about me, especially Jeff. He's so overprotective, but he's got his own family and his own life to tend to and I told him he needs to return to it and not neglect it for my sake. I really wish you'd stayed around longer, for those little boys to get to know you better. You came alive when Scotty and Virgie ran into your arms. You loved like I'd never seen and sometimes it brought tears to my eyes.

You loved us all, but with those little angels...you showed it. And I'll be damned if I didn't see a tear in Jeff's eyes a time or two over it, anyway. You always made me proud. Made me happy. You still do. Hell, I miss you so much.

Fly me up to where you are beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight to see you smile

If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far to where you are

You know, one thing I think I liked the most about watching you with our grandsons was seeing you smile. You didn't smile much, I guess, now that I think about it, but when those kids ran up yelling, "Grandpa!" at the top of their lungs, or when you were showing them how to drive those tractors or pushing them on that tire swing you rigged up or letting them help you fix Jeff's old tree house...you smiled a lot.

What I wouldn't give to see that just one more time. Neither one of us were as young as we used to be, but you were the most striking man I'd ever laid eyes on and Jeff's proof of those genes. I find myself thinking here tonight alone in this big, wide bed that I almost wish I could join you. We were together a long, long time, you and I. We went through hell and back more times than I care to count. More blizzards, more hailstorms, more thunder and lightning, more times with mere pennies to our name than I care to remember. But we did it together. Side by side and hand in hand. Wasn't a force in nature or otherwise that could tear us apart, by God. No force, that is, but death.

Even if I could visit you, somehow just sort of go up the elevator long enough to hear you tell me you're okay, you're happy and that you've got a spot right next to you for when my time comes. I feel like if I just closed my eyes and concentrated hard enough you might appear before me. I don't think I'd want to see you as a ghost, that'd probably scare the knickers off me, but I do want to see you. I guess everyone who loses someone thinks that way and it sure sounds silly coming from your Ruthie, doesn't it?

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream

And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

I'm drifting off to sleep now. Maybe this is the place I'll find you. I remember when Daddy died my sister told me she had a dream and in that dream she'd talked to Daddy and he'd told her he was all right and not to be sad anymore. And then he'd lain down next to her in bed and gone to sleep. When she woke up the next morning he wasn't there, of course, but she could've sworn as she was waking up, he was.

So is that where you are? Will I see you when I sleep? I have to believe you've gone to a better place. I have to believe that life doesn't just end and you turn back into dust and that's it. I have to believe there's more to this cycle than that sort of end. I don't mind telling you that my heart hurts, Grant. If it hurts anymore it'll break in two but I can't let that happen. You wouldn't want it. I have to keep the faith. I have to keep telling myself there's a heaven or maybe someplace where all the souls go when they leave their bodies, like reincarnation, that you're waiting to come back in another life sometime down the road.

Even if I can't see you any longer with my eyes, I have to believe that one day, I will see you again.

As my heart holds you just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday

It's the middle of the night, probably the sixth time I've awakened wondering where you are only to realize you're not ever coming back. Your side of the bed will forever be empty even though I feel like I could reach out and feel you there solid and strong like you've always been. I have to smile as I think of all our years together. I have to smile as I thank God for you, for the gift of having had you in my life. For the gift you gave me in Jeff. For the gift of your love, your time, your hard work. You provided for me, sure, but you gave me a hell of a lot more than that.

I found the letters in your desk. The ones you wrote me every day in that gruff writing style you had. You wrote me every day for the last ten years but never gave me the letters. I wasn't able to get through two without having to lock myself in the bathroom for an hour to compose myself. Lucy thought for sure I'd hit the bottom of something or other but what I'd realized was they were love letters. Hundreds and hundreds of them stuffed into every drawer, every nook, every cranny. Usually only half a page, sometimes less, sometimes maybe just a little more.

I always knew you felt that way.

'Cause you are my forever love
Watching me from up above

I couldn't believe it when I read the words in that second letter. "Dear Ruthie," you wrote. "Dear Ruthie, my forever love." I think that's what did me in. I remember we used to joke about being soulmates, I don't know that either one of us believed in that kind of stuff. Well, maybe not until the day Jeff met Lucy. Even you were convinced he'd grow up and marry that girl and sure enough, he did just that. So I guess if you love someone that much, that strongly...well, there can't be anything else to think than that you've gone somewhere that you can still watch over me.

And that's why I'm trying so hard to hold it in. We don't cry, us Tracys, it's untoward. We don't show weakness, no sir, not to anyone. But you know, Grant, I've just lost the other half of myself. So now at one-thirty in the morning as I stand at our window looking up at the gathering clouds, I have to think you're watching me. I must. Because that's the only way I can go on without you.

You're there. I can feel you. And all my life, I'll always know you're close. Because I loved you more than life itself, Grant. But you knew that, didn't you?

Fly me up to where you are beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight to see you smile

If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far to where you are

I go back to bed and pull the covers up to my chin, still smelling you in the linens. And even though you're gone...you never will be.

I know you're there
A breath away's not far to where you are