Milly was cold, so cold. Her daughters were fussing around her room, pulling up her blankets, arranging flowers, tidying the nightstand. They were such good girls, all three of them. They’d fought like cats and dogs as children, but they loved each other just as fiercely.
And they loved her fiercely as well, she suddenly realised. She was blessed to have this time with them, not everyone had the chance to say goodbye. Her own sweet Harold had missed out, he had slipped away during the night, his heart failing without warning. It had torn them apart, all four of them, but they had leaned on each other and come back together.
It had been the hardest on Milly. She and Harold were together for just over 50 years, together, side-by-side, always side-by-side. The girls had their own grief and Milly was strong for them. But they also had their own partners and their own lives. She didn’t begrudge them that, but she had felt left behind. After death, life goes on, but for the one left behind, it’s so hard to go on.
Her girls had realised, of course they would, they were good girls. They rallied around her and kept her busy, helped her come back to her life. It had been seven years since her Harold had passed and he had missed out on so much. Four grandbabies – four! What a joy they were to her. Those babies completed her family, she treasured each of them just as much as she treasured her own girls.
She looked at her girls now, the afternoon sunlight spilling through the window glass, bathing them in golden light. They were all so different and yet she saw her sweet Harold in each of them – from Rebecca’s serious nature to Ella’s dark hair and blue eyes, and Maggies’s crooked smile. As if they knew what she was thinking, they came to her bedside.
“Mama, you ok?”
“I’m alright honey, just cold and so tired.” As she closed her eyes, she caught the girls exchanging worried glances, Becca’s eyes welling with tears. “Hush my girls, it’s ok. It’s time for me. I love you all so much.”
They talked a while longer, the girls holding her hands and brushing back her hair. They spoke of the children and Milly told them stories from when they were children. The girls were soon giggling as they remembered some of their antics and quietly took over the story-telling. Milly drifted in and out, at ease with the voices of her girls surrounding her. She felt some warmth in the sunlight and could smell the fresh cut flowers they had brought from her garden.
She soon felt a lightness and a sudden clarity and quiet as a familiar weight settled at her waist. She looked down and saw that she was standing, inside a warm embrace. She inhaled deeply and turned to face her beautiful husband. “You’re here,” she said. And he was, he was really here. He leaned in, as he had always done, and kissed her forehead, his lips resting there for a few moments.
She leaned against him as he straightened and turned to face the light ahead. “This way, my love. This is where we go now. Together. We’ve been apart long enough…”
This post was going to be for Andy’s Dark Side Thursday. Albert from Trigger Happy took this photo and asked me to write a story to accompany it. I wanted horror and I’m sure that he wanted horror too, but this is what came out. I used paper and pencil and I wrote this in my hotel room in Melbourne. At least I’ve stuck with the theme of death, but I wanted horror 😦
LOL – thank you Albert for providing this inspirational photograph, I can’t wait to hear what the actual context of the photo is. We will pop on over to your blog to find out! In fact, while you’re there check out Albert’s photographs, they are wonderful.