Gen 1 Epilogue
This chapter is Rated PG
Author’s note: Finally. Sorry it took me longer then I thought. This Epilogue turned out longer then I thought it would, but I think at long last I’m reasonably happy with it and think that I tied up all the loose ends. (I hope) After the chapter there is a small ‘Where are they now’ segment set many years down the road after the kids have grown. There is also a link to the generation 1 heir poll. 😀
The past year had been hard on us all. Most of all my grandmother who took my mother’s death the hardest. I watched her shut down day by day, the light that had once been in her eyes, so full of hope, had been extinguished like a candle on a birthday cake.
She had always been there for me, and now it was my turn to be there for her. I’d do anything just to see her smile again. My grandmother blamed herself, despite both Melody and I’s attempts at telling her there was nothing she could have done to stop Melissa’s suicide. She’d just look at us with those empty sad eyes and smile softly. She’d nod and pretend like she was fine, but she wasn’t, and I wasn’t sure if she’d ever be again…
For the longest time, I felt like I had a scream lodged in my throat, but I had to be strong. I couldn’t break down, I was the one that had to keep the family together…what was left of it.
I found myself at the cemetery, at Melissa’s grave. It was the first time I’d been here, as I skipped the funeral, too angry with Melissa to bring myself to attend. She was selfish and I hated her for it. How could she do that to her own mother? To Mason? If Mason was a shy and timid child before, he was much worse now, and therapy could only help so much.
I stared down at the grave squeezing my fists tightly. I felt my nails dig into my palms leaving marks shaped like crescent moons on my palms. It was quiet here. Peaceful. The sounds of the willows rustling in the wind was as comforting as a gentle hug.
I felt wetness slide down my cheek. I looked up at the sky, over cast and cloudy. Was it raining? I flicked away a tear at my cheek disgusted with my display of emotion.
I stared at the grave with narrowed eyes, before my face crumpled and I began to sob…
I wanted to scream and to yell. To punch the unyielding stone until my knuckles bled, anything was better than the huge wall of grief, threatening to rise up and knock down the defensive walls I had put up this past year.
Suddenly, I realised that I just couldn’t hold onto the hate anymore, I needed to forgive her, If I was truly going to move on…
“I’m sorry.” I began, my voice breaking. I remembered my wedding day, and how she came to me to tell me about my father. I thought back to my reaction, and how I told her that I would never forgive her. Deep down I couldn’t help think that I was the one responsible for her suicide. If only I was able to let go of the anger I had felt towards my mother then, would she still be alive today?
Tears slid down my face like a fast-moving river. There was so much I wanted to say….
“I can’t imagine the pain and hurt you must have felt after my father was killed. I of all people should under stand how it feels. I thought I lost Mika once, but I was lucky. I should have remembered that. I’m so sorry for what I said to you. You made a lot of mistakes, and hurt a lot of people, but I know deep down that it came from a place in your heart so broken and damaged beyond repair, and I’m so sorry that I couldn’t see that.”
I looked up at the angry clouds above me. It looked like a storm was coming. I took a deep cleansing breath and closed my eyes and sighed, the sound echoing in the empty cemetery.
“I forgive you…”
Footsteps approached me from behind, but I didn’t look up. I could smell my sisters perfume a mile away.
“Hey.” Melody said quietly behind me.
“Hey.” I answered quietly.
“You ok?” She questioned.
“Define ok.” I sighed. I looked up over my shoulder and smiled, even though It didn’t quite reach my eyes. “Yeah I’m fine. In fact, I feel better having came here. You were right. I should have done this sooner.” I turned back and fixed my gaze on the headstone once again.
Melody said nothing, and I was happy for that, glad she didn’t tell me ‘I told you so’. Melody and I hadn’t been as close as we used to be this past year following Melissa’s death. I was so full of anger, that I couldn’t see past it, to see what really mattered.
“How did you know I was here?” I asked.
“Mika. He called me and asked me to check up on you. Bailey is being fussy, or otherwise he would have come himself.” Melody admitted.
I felt a momentary pang of guilt for leaving Mika home alone with all three of our children. The twins were now walking, and were a handful at best, and Bailey our youngest daughter who was two months old suffered from colic.
Melody bent down and placed a vase of beautiful long-stemmed red roses in front of the headstone. Their beautiful scent did little to settle my heart. I blinked back my tears and gave my sister a half-smile.
“I better get going.” I mumbled, quickly standing and brushing off the dirt off my jeans. Melody stood too, blocking my direct exit. I looked up and her blue eyes gazed into mine. Her expression was soft, eyes shiny with unshed tears. “I better get home and help Mika with the kids.”
“I’ve missed you.” Melody sighed, her hands falling to her sides. I watched as a tear made its slow journey down her cheek.
I wasn’t good at awkward moments like this, I felt frozen, like a deer caught in the headlights. I felt some of my unease chipping away, and I realized suddenly like a bolt out of the blue, that if I could forgive my mother, then I needed to let my sister in. We needed each other.
“Me too.” My voice cracked, and I laughed as I too began to cry.
Melody stepped forward, breaching the invisible bubble I had erected around myself this past year and wrapped her arms around me. Her hair smelled like her vanilla shampoo. I closed my eyes and finally relaxed and hugged her back.
“So how are you really doing?” Melody asked. She always had an uncanny knack for seeing right through my bullshit.
“I’m a mess.” I finally admitted, feeling some of the burden lift from my heart. It felt good to talk to my sister again, this past year had been so awkward between us. “But it will get better. I have to believe that.” I said firmly.
“I’m sorry, for everything.” Melody whispered. “I should have understood what you were going through, and realize that we all deal with grief differently. I should have never gotten angry with you for skipping the funeral.”
“No, you are right. I should have went, I was being selfish and only thinking of myself. I wont lie and pretend that half of me isn’t furious with Melissa for what she did to our family. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fully move past this, but I do forgive her. For everything. That’s all I can do…”
I had been so angry at Melissa the past year, that I had projected that anger onto Melody who was trying to be strong for everyone. She mourned in a very different way then I. She mourned for the mother she lost, and I mourned for the mother I had truly never gotten to know, and now never would…
“Let’s go home.” I said finally, following Melody and Matthew toward the cemetery gates. I turned and looked at the headstone once more.
“Rest in peace Melissa…” I whispered.
“Mommy home!” Addison and Aidan squealed in unison as I opened the front door.
I couldn’t help but notice the expression of pure exhaustion on Mika’s face. His dark eyes were red rimmed, and his dark hair was sticking up in odd little tufts as if he had been literally pulling his hair out.
I dropped to the floor and held out my arms as the twins rocketed themselves across the room and into my waiting arms. I hugged them tightly to my chest breathing in their scent. God, I loved them.
Addison clung to my leg as I lifted Aidan up into the air and tickled his belly making him squeal and wiggle in my arms. “Were you a good boy today Aidan?” I asked him.
His hazel eyes so much like my own blinked up at me. “Yup, but sissy wasn’t. Addison flushed one of my toy cars down the potty.” He tattled.
I picked up Addison who looked away guilty. “Addison, is that true?” I asked.
“Yes, mama.” She said solemnly. “Aidan told Bailey to shut up and that he wished she wasn’t born.”
Addison was very protective of her younger sister, and treated her as if she was her own living doll. While Aidan couldn’t stand the constant crying, Addison had the patience of a saint and loved her baby sister more than anything.
“Aidan, that wasn’t very nice.” I said. “Bailey can’t talk yet like you can. The only way she can communicate is by crying.”
“But she always cries…” Aidan pouted, putting his fingers over his ears.
I set Addison and Aidan down upon the floor and watched as Aidan ripped the stuffed animal Addison was playing with right out of her hands. Now I could see why Mika looked so stressed out. I was starting to wish I had never left the cemetery.
“Hey Bailey…” I cooed staring down at my two month old daughter. Her dark eyes gazed into mine, as if comforted by my presence. Her small hands wrapped around my index finger, and her eyes drifted closed, a small smile upon her lips.
“Oh you’re a miracle worker.” Mika yawned. “All she needed was her mama I guess.”
I kissed his stubbled cheek comforted as I always was by his presence.
Quietly, Mika gently lowered Bailey down into the bassinet, and we both held our breath, worried she would wake up and instantly start screaming. Even the twins looked concerned there eyes following our every move.
Mika grinned and gave me a double thumbs up, his dark eyes twinkling as they looked into mine. He stepped closer and rested his forehead against mine his breath mingling with my own.
“You ok?” He finally asked looking slightly worried. This year had been hard on him as well, watching my downward spiral and doing his best to keep our family going. What would I do without him?
“Yes.” I said truthfully, looking into his eyes. “I’m glad I went. I feel….lighter somehow, and for the first time in a long time I don’t hate her anymore.”
Mika lifted my chin gently and lowered his lips upon mine in the sweetest and most gentle of kisses. When he finally pulled back his eyes looked slightly troubled. “Your grand mother is here.”
“Oh?” I asked still breathless from our kiss.
“She’s out back on the dock. She’s been sitting there for a good hour or two.”
Frowning, I looked down. I knew this day was going to be rough. The one year anniversary of Melissa’s suicide, and also my one year wedding anniversary, forever shadowed by my mothers tragic passing.
The front door swung open and Mason strode though looking sad. His eyes brightened a little at the sight of the twins. As good as he was with them, I would give more than anything for him to take an interest in the kids around his own age. Our mothers suicide had shook him to the very core, and he had never really been the same since…
“Hey Mase.” I smiled down at my little brother and ruffled his hair. “You know that I’m here if you want to talk. We both know what today is.” My little brother was such a serious child, and him and I were very much alike. We didn’t like things sugar-coated, and I wasn’t going to pretend that today was just any other ordinary day.
“Did you go to the cemetery?” Mason asked.
“I did.” I said truthfully.
“Will you take me some time?” He asked.
“You know I will.” I smiled. “How is grandma doing?”
Mason looked down at his shoes, when he looked up at me again his eyes were shimmering with tears. “I just wish everything could go back to the way it was before–before….” He stuttered unable to say the words.
“I know, Mase. Me too. And they will. It’s ok to feel sad, and it’s ok to feel angry. I know that it’s confusing to feel that way. How can you feel sad when you feel so angry? Like your heart is full of anger, but you are so sad on the inside you could cry. I know how it feels, because I feel that way too.”
“I hate to see grandma so sad.” Mason stiffened as if he wanted to cry, but he always tried to be strong. My stoic little brother, holding the weight of the world squarely on his shoulders.
“I do too.” I whispered. “We just need to be there for her as much as we can, and also be there for each other. In time, our hearts will heart less, but the pain will never fully go away.”
He nodded looking solemn.
Mason hugged me tightly around the waist as if holding on to me for dear life. I could feel the tears that he tried so hard to hide soak the front of my sweater. I kneeled and hugged him tightly in return and felt my own tears slide down my face. It was like a dam had busted, opening the flood gates to my heart.
After Mason went off to play with Addison and Aidan I walked out onto the back porch and saw my grand mother sitting there on the bench like a statue. For one brief moment I resisted the urge to run, anything would be easier than to face her. What did you say to a woman whose daughter killed herself? As a mother myself I couldn’t imagine the pain she must be feeling on this day, one year after her daughter’s death.
But she had been there for me, and I was going to be there for her, no matter how hard it was…
She didn’t bat an eye lash as I sat down beside her, and for a long moment, I said nothing, just listened to the waves lap against the sand gently, and the trees rustle in the wind. I closed my eyes enjoying the way the breeze felt upon my face.
Her hair was fully grey now, and it broke my heart. I never once saw her as an old woman until this very instant. She had always been so vigilant about dying her hair. She had never been vain woman, but she was proud and liked to look her best. The day Melissa had passed away it was like she had just given up, and I got to watch her age instantly before my very eyes.
Finally she turned toward me acknowledging my presence.
“It’s unnatural for a child to go before their parents.” She finally said. Her eyes were dry as if she was all cried out. “You would think that I should have been prepared for this. I had thought long ago my daughter was dead, but it’s different actually knowing.” She whispered turning away once again to face the ocean staring out over the water blankly. “I should have been there for her. What kind of mother am I?” She questioned bitterly. I watched her fists clench in her lap.
“A great one.” I said honestly. “You can’t blame yourself for Melissa’s actions.”
“How can you say that? I wasn’t there for her like I should have been.” Her eyes squeezed shut as if holding back tears.
“But you tried, and that’s all you could do. Melissa wasn’t ready to face you. She was ashamed I think, and didn’t want you to see her that way. She was hurting more than any of us really knew…” I whispered. “Mason needs you. We all need you. It kills me to see you this way.”
She wiped the corners of her eyes and faced me once again.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to move past this.” My grandmother admitted.
“But you will. It may not seem like it now, but we are all hurting, each in our own ways, and we need each other. I need you.” I turned to face my grandmother tears streaming down my face.
She scooted closer to me on the bench and I felt her arm go around my shoulders. I lowered my head upon her shoulder, just like when I was a little girl, and as always, I seemed to draw from her strength.
“You are right.” Meredith Drake whispered, her lips gently touching the top of my head. “I need to let my baby go, for its her children that need me now.” I felt her thin frail body rack with silent sobs.
“I love you Melissa. I pray that you find the peace you couldn’t in life…” She closed her eyes as if drained.
Suddenly the sun broke through the dark haze of clouds, and the birds began to sing…
“I think that’s my Melissa telling me that she’s happy now. She’s at peace.” My grandmother smiled through her tears. I felt my heart swell at the expression of pure joy on her face and felt for the first time in a long time that things were going to be alright. This family had been through hell and back, but we were strong, and we were healthy. We would survive, and we would thrive, because we had each other, and in the end–family was all that mattered…
Where are they now….
The years flew by for Mika and Madeline. Their lives were full of happiness together, watching their children grow and become adults.
Madeline finally finished her first novel, and is now working on her second due to popular demand. Mika’s dream of owning and operating his own bar finally became a reality, and now as a business owner has much more time to spend with his wife. They are happy beyond words, and can’t wait for the day they become grand parents.
Melody and Matthew got married after two years of dating, becoming pregnant almost right away, giving birth to their son Elliot in the fall. Matthew graduated medical school, and went to work at a local doctors office, finally opening his own practice. Melody much enjoyed being a successful doctors wife and enjoyed a life of leisure. They purchased the house next door to Madeline and Mika, and they are still a close-knit family to this day…
Elliot Dimarzo was Melody and Matthew’s only child. Sadly, Melody had a difficult pregnancy leaving her unable to bear any more children. Elliot now lives with Aidan in Melody and Matthews old apartment with Aidan his cousin.
Mason struggled through the teen years before finally hitting rock bottom with drugs and alcohol before becoming an adult. He finally turned his life around with the help of his older sisters Melody and Madeline. He went back to school and graduated with honors becoming a therapist. He spends his time volunteering at the suicide hot line. He’s currently single, but looking. His demanding career doesn’t leave him a lot of time for dating, but he’s happy making a difference in the lives of others.
Sadly, Meredith Drake wasn’t around to watch her youngest grand child turn his life around. After a brief bout of pneumonia Meredith passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family.
Janice and her husband finally divorced amicably. They both share joint custody of their three rambunctious boys. Madeline and Janice are still extremely close, and Janice finally made the move to Maine so they could be closer.
Zoe and Riley got married after only dating for little over three months. They are still together but are extremely unhappy. Zoe never changed her party girl ways despite Riley’s attempts at converting her to christianity, which has put a strain on their relationship. They never had children, which was probably for the best. Zoe was on birth control pills so she wouldn’t conceive, all the while lying to Riley saying she would give him a child.
As for our second generation heirs….please click HERE to place your vote for the 2nd generation.