Authors: Kathryn Perez
“Someone sent more flowers. This room looks like a botanical garden,” Brisban says, bringing in a huge vase of mixed flowers. He places them on the table near the window and pulls the card out of the little envelope.
“Who sent them?”
His expression is stoic and he’s reading intently when he looks up and walks over, handing it to me.
Congratulations on the birth of your son. As hard as it may be for you to believe this, I am happy for you and your new husband. When I heard you remarried it was painful, yet it was the reality check I needed. I’m sure you heard I quit the force and moved back home to be near family. I’m taking some time for myself to try and get my life back on track.
I wish you and your new family well. I know how much you’ve always wanted a child and, even though it wasn’t with me, I’m happy you found your happy ending.
I look up at Brisban and back to the card. “I don’t know what to say. I never expected this from him.”
“Everyone has their bad side, Candace, and everyone has their good side. He had to get through his bad stuff on his own and now he’s moving on. He loves you in his own way, just like I love Dawn in my own way. And it’s okay that you still love him, too.”
He comes over and sits down on the bed beside me while reaching down and holding my hand. “Lots of people have more than one love in their lives. You had James and I had Dawn, but
Candace…you’re my only home. You’re my best friend, my confidant, my partner, and my forever love. The way I love you has no end. When I breathe my last breaths on this earth you and our family will be the only love I take with me.”
WE’VE NEVER VISITED HERE BECAUSE Brisban wasn’t ready. The breeze is blowing and it’s a beautiful summer day. I squeeze his hand as we walk across the green grass. As we near the gravesite my heart rate picks up. Now that I’m a mother this has such a heavier feeling for me than it already did.
When we reach the headstone, my nerves are all over the place. I look up at Brisban; he’s holding William on his hip. He’s a year old now and getting so big.
“You want me to take him?” I ask, concerned that he needs to gather himself some.
“No, it’s okay.” He lets go of my hand and kneels down in front of the stone still holding William.
“Hey, baby girl. It’s Daddy.”
I bring my hand up and cover my mouth while gritting my teeth. Tears fill my eyes and tightness sets up shop in my gut.
“I’m sorry it took me so long to come.” He looks at William. “This is your baby brother. His name is William. We named him after you.”
His voice is shaky and I’m doing all I can to be strong for him. I step up and place my hand on his shoulder for support but stay quiet.
“I would’ve come sooner but I couldn’t. I’m sorry, Willow. I’m sorry I lost you. I’ll always miss you and I’ll always love you. I promise to keep your memory alive and William will grow knowing what an amazing sister he had.”
He sniffs and stands up. I put my arm around him. He looks up into sky. “That’s where she is.” Then he nods back toward her grave. “She’s not there. Willow was always an angel. Now she’s an angel in the sky.”
“Yes, she is,” I whisper. One tear trickles down my cheek. I don’t wipe it away, I just let it fall. He’s not hiding his feelings and neither am I. This is a part of his life which means it’s part of me too. His tears, his pain, and all of his happiness and love are ours.
Our story isn’t typical and neither is our love. I’m okay with that because love can’t ever be defined.
It can only be felt.
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