Three months later, after Kathryn's death
Olivia stood at the top of the bluff gazing out at the ocean. Behind her, two headstones glistened in the rain, one for each of her parents. The wind swirled and caught the long cape she wore, tossing it in the air like a flag. On the path behind her, her husband and two children made their way to the apartment building where her mother had lived, alone, for the last two decades of her life.
She was there to say goodbye.
She turned and gazed at the markers and then knelt down between them, putting one hand on her father's marker, the other on her mother's.
"Side by side," she murmured, "together, but apart."
A gust of wind caught her, pushing the hood of her cape back so that she could see the golden sun breaking through the clouds and lining their edges with gold.
"What seems dull and grey, lifeless and dead, can be a shining glory just outside our sight," she said, repeating the words her mother had written just days before her death.
"Mom and Dad, I hope there is an afterlife, so that you two can finally be together in every way," she said, and then laughed. "Who am I kidding?"
She stood and turned toward the wind, opening the cape to the rain-freshened air, thrilling to the power of the life—and the love—that her parents had given her.
"You were always together."