Turning into the car park Bull Ryan looks over at his sister sitting in the passenger seat beside him and says "Are you ready George?"
Inhaling deeply she replies "No are you?"
With a heavy heart he shakes his head and replies "No it's going to be a hard day."
"Do you think he'll remember us today?" She asks.
"Your guess is as good as mine. Come on let's find out." Bull says smiling at her.
Entering the facility they are greeted by several staff members and residents.
As they near the office Lyn Phillips opens the door and greets them.
"Good morning Georgia, Good Morning Bull. Please accept my condolences on your loss. I'm going to miss your Mum she was so much fun to have around."
"Thank you Lyn" Bull replies.
"How's Dad today?" Georgia asks.
Sue smiles at them and replies. "He's pretty good all things considered. The girls are just helping him to get his suit on."
Bull offers. "When we told him the other day we weren't sure if he understood.'
She smiles at him and says "He's been very sad, and talked about her a lot more than usual so I'm sure on some level he knows."
Bull and Georgia wind their way through the facility to their Fathers room.
Alex's smile is broad when he spots them and he says to the young nurse beside him. "Here's my Cowgirl now! Isn't she beautiful?"
Bull speaks first." Good morning Old man."
The fog that is Alex's mind clears enough for him to say "Your names Bull isn't it?"
Bull nods and hugs his father and says "Yeah that's right.'
Stepping back he asks "Dad do you remember Georgia?"
Alex looks at her intently and says "Kitten I thought you were my Cowgirl."
She steps forward close to tears and says "Hello Dad."
He wraps his arms around her tightly and as he's about to let her go he says "You look like your Mother that's nice."
A large group has gathered around the grave site.
While the service is read.
Alex sits with Tess and Jodie they are all that remains of their generation.
Every now and again he strikes up a conversation with one of them.
"Hey old woman! Do you know where Nick is?' He asks looking at Tess.
Tess looks at him and he notices her eyes are wet, but she smiles at him and says "Enough with the old woman Alex ! Don't you remember, Nick passed away last year?"
Alex looks at her but she can see in his eyes that he doesn't remember and she wonders if he remembers who she is .
Softly she offers. " I'm Tess , Alex do you remember me?"
He smiles at her and says " My sister-in -laws names Tess but she 's much prettier than you and a lot younger too."
Tess smiles and thinks to herself, silly old duffer.
Looking at Jodie he asks. "When did you get so old?"
Jodie has tears in her eyes but smiles at him and replies
"You need to take a look in the mirror Alex. You're no spring chicken yourself."
Placing his hand on his chest he quips. "Now that hurt Jodes."
She reaches over and holds his hand and says "Sorry Alex."
Music floats across the area and evokes memories for all those gathered.
Bull and Jake help Alex stand and they guide him to the grave site.
"Where's my Cowgirl Bull?" He asks.
Bull feels his heart tear as he replies. "She's gone Dad."
Before Bull finishes his sentence Alex quips "Well you should have hidden the keys to her Ute mate she can't run then."
Bull struggles as his tears flow freely down his cheeks.
Rose her husband Jack and their two adult children Cody and Sally Rose walk up to Alex and they all hug him but he doesn't quite register what's happening.
As they about to walk away he offers. "You look like Stevie's Rose."
Rose turns back and kisses his cheek and says "That's who I am Dad, Stevie's Rose."
He hugs her tightly and says "Am I your Dad?"
She nods and says "Yes you are."
He smiles and says "I'm a Dad. I always wanted to be a Dad."
She smiles through her tears and says. "There are four of us Dad. Me, Bull, Jake and Georgia."
Alex looks at Cody and asks" Am I your Dad too."
Cody smiles at him and says " No you're my Grandad and Sally Roses' too."
Alex nods and says softly to himself " I must be getting old I'm a Grandad too."
Jake hugs his Father and stepping back smiles at him.
Alex studies his face and says " You smile like her."
He tries not too but he can't help it.
There is no comfort that could heal the pain in his heart they've lost their Mother and to some extent they've lost their Father.
Every now and again the fog clears and he comes back to them.
Alex looks at him and tears form in his eyes, touching his son's face he says " Don't cry Jakey you make Daddy feel sad."
Jake tries to smile but his Fathers words cut deep and he feels all the love from his childhood.
Definate advantages to having a Father in Alex's situation.
Jake is a grandfather himself and yet today Alex sees him as a little boy.
All the district have turned out and offer their condolences' to the family.
It's a huge family now Stevie and Alex have great grand children.
They're all here together children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Except for the fact that it's a sad occasion it's also lovely to have everyone together.
Thats the thing about funerals everyone says they should get together when it's not a funeral but that rarely happens.
They'll go back to the homestead and have food and drinks and reminisce.
They'll laugh and share stories.
Rose, Georgia, Jake , Bull and his wife Jo are standing together with Charlotte and Harrison.
"Dad seems to be doing ok." Jake offers.
Bull looks over at his Father and says "Yes it's actually better that he doesn't remember much today. I wonder when he'll register she's passed away though."
Jo offers. "I hope I'm not around when he does."
They all agree.
Charlotte says "Uncle Alex knew who I was today, and it was so lovely because last time I saw him he had no idea who I was. "
Harrison smiles and says " He thought I was Dad. He was so excited to see me."
Harrison's voice cracks when he offers" He hugged me so tightly and told me he'd missed me."
Everyone there feels sad for Harrison and themselves, they all miss Uncle Nick.
Georgia hugs him and says " Sometimes it's so sweet when he remembers things but other times it cuts like a knife and hurts so much."
Later that night Pam Reid is helping Alex get ready for bed.
He's still very good looking and such a sweet old man and in moments of clarity a very funny and charismatic character.
He's been to his wife's funeral today and is so very tired.
"I'll take your suit with me Alex and we'll send it out to the dry cleaners."Pam states.
"Yes that's a good idea I'll need it for the next funeral." He says.
Looking at him she wonders if he realizes it was Stevie's funeral he'd attended.
She smiles thinking about the two of them together.
Stevie had been here every day for months to sit with him and chat.
They'd walk up and down the halls together and he'd always hold her hand.
Sometimes he knew who she was and other times he didn't.
Pam and Stevie had laughed many times about the people Stevie would pretend to be just to make him happy.
Pam felt a great sadness wash over her.
She wouldn't see Stevie again.
They'd become friends and Pam loved her wicked sense of humour.
"Ok Alex stand still and I'll help to do your buttons up." Pam offers.
Pulling back the covers she helps him into bed.
"Good night Alex. Sweet Dreams. I'll see you in the morning." Pam tells him.
He smiles and says "No you won't be seeing me Pam. I'm going to see my Cowgirl."
She smiles and runs her hand across his face and replies. "Oh how lovely for you. Tell her Pam says Hello."
He nods and closes his eyes.
His dreams are of Stevie.
They're young and in love.
His mind is clear.
Like a movie he sees important times and events in their lives roll by.
They age, have children and grandchildren and grow old and grey.
He smiles at her, she's beautiful still.
"Alex I have to go." She tells him.
He leans to kiss her.
She touches his face and says "I'll come back for you."
Bull hears the phone ringing and rises to answer it.
"Hello Bull Ryan. Oh Hi Pam what's up?..." He listens and tears begin to roll down his cheeks.
Jo has joined him.
Placing her hand on his arm her eyes prick with tears even before she knows what's wrong.
Bull doesn't cry much and it breaks her heart seeing him so sad.
Hanging up the phone he whispers " Dads gone."
His voice breaking.
He sobs, she cries with him.
Gaining his composure he softly says "That was Pam Reid from Greenhill Lodge. They went to do their morning check on Dad and he'd passed away in his sleep."
Again they cry and Jo says "Oh Bull I'm so sorry . That's so sad and yet so beautiful . They're together again."
As Pam Reid and her assistant walk back to the office.
They don't see the figures walking through the halls.
A tall man and a smaller women hand in hand.
"Time to go home Cowboy." She says smiling.
"I've been waiting. I missed you." He says.
"I've missed you too." She replies.
"I love you Stevie." He says smiling.
She giggles and says "I know."
He grins and says " You're supposed to say I love you too!"
Smiling at him she reaches up to kiss him and says " I love you Alex."
He chuckles and says "Of course you do!"
Please review...Is it a good ending to Stevie and Alex?