Chapter 15: It Comes in Threes…

I’ve been sitting here, staring down at this book for close to an hour now.  The paper is beginning to rip from where I’ve scratched out what I’ve written so many times.  I know I’m supposed to record this.  My mother would want me to.  But I’m… numb.  There just seems to be… nothing inside of me right now.  Is that normal?  Whether it is or it isn’t, it’s what I’m experiencing right now.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.  Maybe I’ll find some kind of perspective on all of this.  At the least, I hope to finally feel SOMETHING.

It didn’t start out bad.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  The day started out with my wife’s birthday.  She was a little apprehensive about leaving her youth behind, though I told her she was being silly.  She would still be beautiful and I couldn’t possibly love her anymore.  She had a beautiful and talented teenage daughter and our marriage couldn’t be happier… well, except maybe for me working less days, though it was getting better.

We all gathered around: Mom, Dad, Falkor, and Aurora.  Faye had gone home the night before, but we would get a call from her later on.  But that’s later.   Anyway, we all gathered around the cake and Dad lit the candles.  Sophia seemed to think for a moment as she leaned over the cake.  The rest of us cheered and blew noisemakers for the occasion.

After the sparkles hit, my wife stood there for a moment, biting her lip.  “How do I look?” she asked.  “I’m sure the wrinkles are awful, aren’t they?”  In answer, I went to her and pulled her close, kissing her soundly.

“Does that answer your question?” I whispered into her ear before putting her at arms’ length and grinning at her.  She seemed to forget about her wrinkles.  Though, she did want to change her hair.  Her curls, apparently, are a pain to take care of.  So she, Aurora, and my mother went to the bathroom to help her cut it and straighten it to within an inch of its life.

She’s beautiful… but then, she always has been.  And if it makes her happy, then I’m all for it.  Her birthday also happened to fall on our year anniversary.  It seems a little unreal that we’ve been married a year, though we’ve been together quite a bit longer.  Contrary to popular belief, I did NOT forget about our anniversary.  In fact, I even took a few days off work and told them don’t bother to page me;  I wouldn’t answer.

We decided to actually head to Varg’s Tavern, grab a drink.  We don’t get out much, her and I, so this was a nice interlude together.  We talked of silly things, of life in general, about music and even had a spirited discussion on who was going to win the high school football tournament.  That’s one thing about Sophia; I’ve always been able to talk to her about anything and everything.  Even when there’s silence, it’s a comfortable silence and we can speak without saying a word.

After our drinks and a bit more conversation, we headed to Venice Beach.  It was early summer, but still, the water was fairly cold.  That didn’t stop us, though.

After a brisk swim and some fooling around and splashing one another, we decided to head home.  The hot tub beckoned to us; I swear, it was calling our names, even.  It was nice, just the two of us.  The balmy summer night air, the warmth of the water, and having my wife next to me made it all perfect.

But… while my wife and I enjoyed ourselves… all was not well.  From what my mother had told me, Dad had gotten up, rubbing at his chest.  He’d been uncomfortable since they’d gone to lie down and his sleep had been troubled.  She asked him if he was ok.  He’d smiled at her, like he always did.  Then something passed over his face.  “I’m sorry my love.  My Queen…”  He fell to the ground.  There… was nothing my mom could do, though she tried.  Her screams brought Aurora and Falkor running.  But they could only watch as my father’s spirit began to drift to the dark shape that waited for him on the deck outside my parents’ room.

I had no idea… no clue what was happening, still too wrapped up in my wife.  Why didn’t I know?  H-how could I not know what was going on?  Why couldn’t I feel it?  I still don’t have any answers to that… other than I wasn’t meant to.

Aurora told me later that my dad looked back at them all through the doors.  He wore his normal smile.  “Don’t be sad for too long, my loves.  We’ll see each other again.  I love you all.”  Then he looked at my mother.  “My Queen.  Thank you.  Thank you for everything.  I love you.  I’ll be waiting.”

Sophia and I had come inside by this time and I was still oblivious.  Until I heard my mother’s wail of agony.

And then I knew.  Something ran through me then.  It was like a lance through my heart and that’s when I realized that I couldn’t feel my father anymore.  Always before, there was an… awareness of those around me, particularly those I shared blood with.  It wasn’t very overt, but it was always there.  But now… that awareness of my father was simply… gone.

None of us handled it well.  My brother and I did our best to comfort mom.

But I’m afraid that there is so little we can do…  Not when it feels like we’re missing a piece of ourselves.  I can’t imagine how mom feels.  When she isn’t sobbing uncontrollably, she just stands there, looking lost.  I don’t know what to do for her.  And then there’s my daughter.  Poor Aurora.  She was so close to her grandfather.  And with all the grief around her… she’s just being bombarded.

It didn’t end there.  Grim had barely left us, taking away my father, before he returned.  This time for our dear Gabe.  The old fella had been close with my father and I think watching him die had been too much for the poor dog.

Hasn’t Grim done enough?  He took dad… and I never got to say goodbye.  Now Gabe.  Could it get any worse?  It can… it really can.  I can’t help but think that we get so complacent, that we can’t help but take things for granted.  We go through life, getting used to something.  For me, it was my parents.  Death happens, I knew that.   But they just seemed so… eternal, I guess.  I never thought that I’d lose them.  It just… never entered my mind.

I’d just gotten Aurora to lie down when I heard a whisper in my mind, <”Take care of them, Draco.  You are my heir, my first born.  I love you, my son.  We’ll meet again.”>  I tore out of my daughter’s room and took the spiral stairs two at a time.  I got to my mother’s room.  But it was too late.  <”Goodbye everyone.”>

Losing Dad had been too much for her.  She died of a broken heart.  A part of me wants to rage… weren’t we enough to keep her here?  Didn’t we matter?  But another part understands all too well.  The thought of losing Sophia, after living a lifetime together… and my dad was really what made her.  If not for him, I’m not sure how her time here would have played out.  He gave her something no one else could.  Losing that, losing him… it broke her spirit.  She was never a normal Sim to begin with.  I don’t know what my aunt’s game was in what she did to my mother.  But my mother made the most of her situation here.  I don’t doubt that she loved us.  But she couldn’t stay.  Not without my father.

While it angers me and it saddens me… I understand.  I’m no longer numb now.  But I can’t succumb to what I’m filled with now.  I have a family to take care of.

The last few days have been more than hard.  Before, I felt numb.  Now… there are so many emotions, I don’t know what to do with all of it.  I’m trying to be strong, trying to keep it together for the family.  My parents would want that.  But it’s hard.  It’s so very hard.  We lay mom and dad to rest a couple days ago.  We didn’t have a service; mom and dad wouldn’t want that.  They would have wanted us to celebrate their life.

Monte Vista is an old village.  On our property, we found what had probably been an old wine cellar or maybe even a crypt.  We had it dug out and finished off.  This will be where our family is laid to rest.  Above ground, a mausoleum was also built, a place to show life, as my parents would have wanted.  As I said, we lay mom and dad to rest, side by side as it should be.

In the mausoleum, they each have a corner.  Dad’s holds the easel, with the last painting he had been working on as well as one of our favorite paintings of his.  Mom’s corner holds her potions and her spell books and components.  It seems like so little, but I can’t help but feel that they’d appreciate this.

As much as this hurts, there is another who feels it more.  My daughter.  Poor Aurora… I don’t know what to do for her.  Losing her grandparents has been devastating to her.  She was so close with both of them.

Art club, which she had been going to since elementary school, had a ceremony for her.  She had won a painting competition she had been in.  During her speech… she’d lost it.  Bursting into tears, she’d run out, sobbing.  I found her outside the school, bent over, trying to stop the tears.

With everything going on, we did have a good bit of news.  Amidst all the grief and sadness, there is life.  There is always life.  Falkor ran off to the hospital to be with Faye.  She gave birth to their second child, a little girl they called Katherine Elise Wyvern.

After the “services” were over and things had begun to settle down just a little bit, we got another surprise.  A gentleman called.  He called himself Gerome Giacomo.  He was a lawyer, he was dad’s lawyer.  Apparently, he and mom had left a letter with him.  Could be called a will, I suppose.  In it, they left the house and the land to me, Sophia, and Aurora.  But they didn’t forget Falkor and his family.

Falkor, the letter read, we know you wanted a home of your own, a place to raise your family.  We’re sorry that we couldn’t be here for you more, to see your children grow up.  I know it isn’t much, but I hope you will accept this; Sophia’s mother and father left her their home, but she has no need of it and placed it in our care.  We want you to have it.  It will be your and Faye’s home and should give you plenty of room for you and your children.  I’m sorry we aren’t there for you, my boys.  Your mother and I love you both very much.  Give our love to your families.  We’ll meet again, someday.

Love, forever and always,

David Michael Haynes and Celestia Wyvern-Haynes

Falkor had been a big help to us.  But he was right.  He and I talked about it.  “Draco, it’s time,” he told me softly.  “Mom and Dad are-are gone.  I miss them too.  But it’s time to move on.  You have a family of your own now.  I do, too.  Little Katherine’s a toddler now, Rickie’s in elementary already.  It’s time.  I want to live with my family.”

I gave him a hug and hung on a little bit.  “Take care of yourself, little brother,” I murmured.  “You know you’re always welcome.”

He grinned a little.  “Same goes for you, ya know.  Come and visit.  The kids would love to see you, you and Sophia and Aurora.”  He frowned.  “How’s she doing, by the way?”

“She’s… withdrawn.  Her mother and I can’t get her to open up.  When she’s ready…”  I shrugged.  “I can’t force her to talk about it.  I can only hope that she’ll talk to us when she’s ready.”  I slapped him on the back and then waved at him and his family as they loaded the last of their things up and then left.

The house is quieter without my brother and Faye running around.  I still wake up, expecting to see my dad in the kitchen, mixing up pancake batter or see my mom playing with one of the dogs.  It hits me hard at times.  I finally let loose.  My wife just held me to her, letting me get it out.  She had known this is what I needed since we lost them both.

It felt… good, surprisingly.  I’m always going to miss them and while I’m fully prepared for it to sneak up on me every now and again, life moves on.  I’m going to live life, like they would have wanted.  I’m going to keep doing what I need to, concentrating on my family and on my career.  It’s because of them that I can.  They gave me everything in life.  I can only return that favor by being what they would have expected of me.

Good bye mom and dad.  You will never be forgotten.  We had a plaque made from old photos of mom and dad, then hung it up.  I think it looks good.

In memorium of David Haynes and his beloved wife, Celestia Wyvern-Haynes.  May you watch over us always.



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