‹ Prequel: God Please
Status: Will try to post once a week or more. Alot going on. If this story is up, it is active.

Second Chance

Letting Go

The day had come. It was something the couple looked forward to and dreaded at the same time. Grey’s celebration of life, as they had decided to call it. It just seemed to have a better tone than a memorial. Really, the decision came upon further reflection of what Mac had said to Brian. They had been living each day as a memorial, and it was time to make a change. It was time to acknowledge that their son had been born, and he had been here, even if only for a short time.

Their friends and family gathered under the beautiful, cloudless sky, at The Haners’ home. Though the others were initially against it, Emily swayed them with her reasoning. This was Grey’s home. It was where he was supposed to have been born, and supposed to have grown up. It was fitting.

People milled about the backyard, talking quietly amongst themselves as the last guests filed in. This included the Martinez family, who had been quite surprised to get an invitation to such a special and deeply personal event. Being that they had a sleeping baby, they went ahead and took a seat at a table in the back while everyone else made their rounds greeting friends and family they had not seen in a while.

Having been alerted that everything was in place now, Emily and Brian stepped out onto their patio. Crystal blue eyes didn’t have to see every detail that had been put into the decorations and setup to begin tearing up. The fact that so many of those closest to them had come out to celebrate their fallen angel was enough to bring a lump into her throat.

“I don’t know if I can do this without crying all the way through,” she whispered in a voice so small, her husband barely heard her.

A strong hand came to wrap around hers and he gave it a little squeeze, “You don’t have to.”

They each took in a few deep breaths to steady themselves before they made their way out of the lanai and into the midst of the people they held dear. Waves, nods, small smiles, squeezes to arms and shoulders served as greeting by most of them, and a handful offered words of encouragement. It was heartwarming.

Chocolate brown eyes had to shed a few tears when he took in all the work that had been done to transform their backyard. It was the largest out of all of their friends, and a great space for entertaining to begin with, but it had been given such an elegant touch. Hanging lights, flowers dotted around the seating area, a mix of several kinds of petals accenting each of the tables, different center pieces on every surface, and, the most unexpected touch was a gift table that was stacked with presents and cards.

“What’s that?” he had to ask twice, as the first time the words didn’t seem to come out as audibly as he had expected.

“What’s what?” the nearby singer echoed, and made his way over to the couple to see if he could help.

“That table with all of the note cards on it?” the guitarist answered with a point.

“That’s something Lacey worked on.” a small smile lightly graced his features now. “Later on, everyone that wants to can write something they want to tell Grey on one of those little cards. Then we’ll tie them onto a set of balloons and release them into the sunset.”

Large droplets of both appreciation and sadness escaped the unlined eyes of the Haner wife and she let out a quiet nervous laugh. Lifting a hand to wipe them away, she said, “I knew I wouldn’t make it long without crying like a fool. There was no point in putting make up on.”

“Hey, it’s okay. No one expected you to dress to the nines and show out this afternoon,” Matt assured. “We love you guys and just wanted to make this day special for you.”

“We love you too.” She leaned forward to hug him briefly before her husband did the same.

“If there’s anything you guys need, you know I’m here.”

“Thanks, man. You guys have done plenty. We didn’t expect all this.” Brian told him with a hefty breath out in an attempt to control his own emotions.

“Actually, there’s one thing I need you to do for me.” Emily said with a tug on his arm now. “If you can get everyone’s attention, there’s something I want to say.”

“No problem.” The hazel eyed man turned and went to a better spot to do as he had been asked, and it wasn’t five seconds before everyone was looking at the lightly weeping woman.

“I didn’t know you were going to say anything.” Her husband whispered to her as she began to walk over to where Matt was.

“I’ve gone back and forth on it, but I didn’t know I was until just now.” With a step back to kiss his lips, she let out her own breath of anxiety, "I can't hold it in any longer."

Brightly colored flip flop clad feet moved one after the other to carry her to the front of the crowd. It felt as if she was watching a movie of it all, instead of it actually happening. That was a common occurrence for her in this grieving process, and she desperately hoped that today would finally put that aspect to rest.

“I didn’t write anything, didn’t plan this. In fact, I can’t believe I’m standing here now.” She began gingerly, and found she was unable to look anywhere but her feet. Seeing the faces of all who loved and cared about them, and what happened, was just too much in that moment. “But I need to say this. Greyson was….”

It took him a minute, but Brian was finally able to pull himself out of that same movie-scene mode and he went to stand by his wife. His hand laced with her hand, and he pressed a kiss to her cheek. His eyes couldn’t bring themselves to look anywhere but the ground, either, but at least he had made it that far.

“Greyson is my son. Our son. We didn’t have quite forty weeks with him, but he was definitely here. He made his presence known, starting at about sixteen weeks. I wasn’t even sure what I felt was a kick that first few times, but by twenty weeks it felt like we had a future Jimmy on our hands. That little boy just kicked and punched and went to town on my insides, and despite the fact that it definitely wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, it was the most amazing thing I’d ever felt before.”

The lead couldn’t hold himself together anymore and his head buried itself into her shoulder. Tears of stress, anger, pain, grief, and regret began dripping into her neck and shirt and he just let them go. He needed that release.

“I don’t know why me, why us, why Grey, but that’s something I can’t get stuck on. What I have to focus on now is picking up the pieces. I still have a husband, we still have a life, and someday, we will have more children. And they’re going to know that they have an older brother. When they ask me why he isn’t with us, I’m going to tell them that Uncle Jimmy needed someone to help keep an eye on him so he doesn’t get into too much trouble in heaven.”

If there had been a dry eye before, there definitely wasn’t one now. Even the Martinez family had to shed some tears at the pain of this couple. It caused Nicoletta to hug little Mateo closer to her, and James gathered the other two against his sides in the moment.

“I have told myself so many times I just can’t let go, and that I won’t. But the truth is, I have to. I can’t live my life as half a person, half a wife, and half a friend, and that’s what I’ve been doing, because the other half of me was trying to hold onto my son. So…Grey, I just want you to know, Mommy is so sad you couldn’t stay.” Her eyes dropped closed as emotions ran ramped, and tears of anguish sprang from her eyes both rapidly and freely. “I love you so much, and I hope one day I’ll get to see you again. But I have to let you go. Do me a favor, baby. Tell Uncle Jimmy Mommy says hi and also that she wins.” A flash of a pained smile crossed her features now as she finished saying what had been on her heart for thirty of the worst days of her life. “Because up until the day you went to be with him, he had always given the best gifts of all time.”

The sorrow-tipped words of love further broke the hearts of those gathered around, and several more people came up to pull the couple into a tight embrace. Up until that point, Brian had wanted to say something about their little boy. The desire completely left when his wife said her peace, because he couldn’t have put it better himself. It was every single one of his wide-range of emotions, all tied together, sealed with a bow, and elegantly put into word form; which was something he had yet to be able to do. The amazing thing about it was, he didn’t have to now. The release he had been desperately seeking in that search to find the words to lay him to rest came with hers.

It took quite a bit of time for them to get their tears under control. Almost everyone took turns coming up to offer encouragement and love as well, which delayed that process. It felt good to hear, though, even as overwhelming as it was. It was what they needed.

+

Lacey, Val, Brian Sr., and Suzy were busy finishing up covering the leftover food to be put away while everyone else gathered around the medium sized round table to write their letters to send off into the sky. They also signed a guest book with similar statements and words of encouragement, so the couple would have a keepsake from the afternoon. Brian stood by the gift table taking in the scene. Such a perfect day. He imagined that people were out in the park, walking their dogs along the beach, taking advantage of the waves, soaking up the sun, and spending time with their loved ones; none the wiser that a little angel named Greyson wasn’t there to enjoy the day amongst them. As painful as that reality was, it felt okay now. It was okay that others didn’t know. They knew. And they knew where he was now. Warm. Safe. Soaking up the sunshine just like everyone else, just from the other side with his Uncle Jimmy. And that was okay, too. It felt right, though he wished things had been different. He was letting go.

Dark brown eyes glanced up to see their new friends relaxing in different parts of the yard. The older children were giggling under one of the large shady trees off to the side, while their parents talked amongst themselves at one of the tables. With all of the other guests milling about, he nor Emily had previously had time to say much to them thus far and he decided he had better make time before the family needed to leave.

“For such a somber occasion, it has been lovely,” Nicoletta said with a saddened smile when the younger man walked over to them.

“I am sure it’s a bit awkward being around so many people you don’t know, but we really appreciate you guys coming.”

“You have been with us during painful times. We wanted you to know that we care about your family as well,” James replied gently, and raised a hand to give his shoulder a supportive squeeze.

“Thank you. It means a lot to us, it really does.” Glancing down now, he watched as the little guy began to squirm in his mother’s arms. “He’s been good today. I would have thought he would get tired being around so many people for so long.”

“He is a good boy. He adapts pretty well to just about anything.” She smiled and began bouncing him lightly in her arms as they spoke.

“I’m starting to see that. He’s strong to go through what all he’s been through at such a young age.” As he looked at him, his heart began to beat a little faster. “He’s precious.”

“Thank you.”

“Thank you, Brian.”

Before he could register what he was saying, the words just fell out of his mouth. “Do you mind if I hold him?”

“I was actually getting ready to feed him. Would you like to do that?” his mother asked with a small smile up at him.

“I can, yes.” He wasn’t sure where the request or volunteer came from, but the next thing he knew, he was sitting down in Nicoletta’s place and she was placing the bundle of joy in his arms.

He froze in that moment. What was he doing? Here he was surrounded by friends and family at his son’s celebration of life, and he was holding someone else’s baby. A baby he and his wife had been asked to adopt. Wasn’t that wrong?

“Hey, Brian.” The Hispanic woman’s voice accompanied a gentle touch on his arm to get his attention. “It’s okay. Are you okay?”

It was okay? Was it really okay? What would Emily say? What would Grey say if he saw?

His mind was on overdrive. Too many questions swirled around in his mind and he didn’t have answers to any of them. He was rapidly on his way to full on panic mode when his eyes darted to the little boy. As he began to suckle at the bottle being offered, his little eyes opened. It was only for a moment, and the brightness of the sun kept them from really being able to focus, but it was long enough to capture Brian’s. Something happened in those handful of seconds. A range of emotions began to stripe through his chest.

“Brian.”

The second call of his name barely cut through the sound of his own heart beating in his ears. His mouth opened and though it took him a second, he was able to push out the one word answer. “Yes.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes,” he breathed softly. “I think so, anyway.”

His heart rate began to fall back to normal, the anxiety level started to drop. His mind cleared all of the questions out of the way, and the apprehension he previously had found its way out as well. Though he wasn’t exactly sure what was happening, he was confident that it was okay. He was consciously making an effort to take a step forward, and for the first time in a long time, he knew it truly was okay. He was not going to go through life feeling guilty for the smiles, laughs, and for the prospect that he held in his arms now. What would be, would be. And it was going to be okay.

“Hey Brian. Sorry to interrupt, but they’re wanting you and Em to write your note. We’re going to release the balloons soon. Are you ready?” his sister asked with an apologetic smile to the family he sat with.

“Yeah. I think I am.” He glanced up at her now and a soft smile creased his features briefly. “Just as soon as he’s done eating. Which, at this rate, won’t take too long.”

“Yes, he is a little piggy!” the boy’s mother agreed with a quiet laugh.

“I’m noticing that.”

“I’m Mac, by the way,” the purple and magenta haired woman announced suddenly with an airy laugh.

“Yes, this is my sister. I’m sorry. James, Nicoletta.” The guitarist said with a nod to the older couple. “They’re becoming good friends of ours.”

“Well any friend of my brother’s is a friend of mine. I will be back in a minute; my dad is calling me. Like a weirdo. From fifty feet away.” She giggled with a shake of her head and a poke of the ignore button on her phone. Turning to head over to him, she belted, “Dad! I’m RIGHT here!!”

"I know that! I didn't want to be rude and yell across the yard to interrupt you!" their dad shouted boisterously anyway, which drew several laughs from those between them.

“I apologize for my family. They’re strange,” he said with an awkward chuckle.

“Your family is wonderful, Brian.” Nicoletta responded with a bright smile.

“You are blessed.”

“Yes I am.”
♠ ♠ ♠
First chapter posted from my new laptop. I have been so sidetracked being able to play all my favorite games again that even though this chapter has been written for probably a week or so (was finished before I posted the last one), I am just getting around to posting. Sorry about that. I am getting all that out of my system and am starting to function half way normally again, (you know, remembering there is a world offline lol).

What a strange chapter to post this on, but I guess it's fitting in a way. Most of you know I miscarried not long after I started writing this story. I am cautiously going to announce that I may be pregnant again. I am 3 weeks late. I have connections at a clinic and they are willing to just get me in for an ultrasound this Tuesday to see. With all I went through last time they said not to worry about testing before hand or anything. Most accurate thing is to see it to get confirmation of whether I am or not. I am not bouncing off the walls with joy or excitement, nor with anxiety. I have come a long way since then. My husband can't even come with me that day, unfortunately. So I am just going to go with the mindset that if I am, I can proceed to get super excited, and if I'm not, then I can book an appointment to check to see why I am 3 weeks late and to be sure all is okay. If that was a little TMI, I apologize. I believe a lot of you are old enough to handle that kind of statement, and I know a lot of you have kids lol.

So anyway, if any of you are praying kind of people, I'd appreciate one or two sent up for me that everything is okay, despite the outcome Tuesday. Thanks so much!!!