After Tim pulled away, Erik, Lily, and Harry joined Hannah. She was sad that Irma wasn’t able to make it, but she understood that her sister had her hands full with caring for Ross. Lily and Erik embraced Hannah before saying they needed to return home. As Hannah watched her oldest brother go, Harry lingered by her side, his presence comforting and steady.
Fresh tears filled her eyes as her brother pulled her to him. “Oh, Harry.” She sobbed into his shirt while he rubbed circles into her upper back, and when Hannah finally withdrew, she looked up into his wise eyes.
“I won’t lie to you and say the pain ever goes away,” he said softly, “but in time, you’ll find peace. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think of Kathy.”
“And here I thought no one understood, that I was so alone,” Hannah said, half-laughing, half-crying. “How could I have been so selfish to have forgotten? You’ve always been there for me, and I-”
“Shh,” Harry murmured. “Grieve in your own way, in your own time, Hannah. There are no rules for this sort of thing. No one can tell you how to feel, what to say or do. And you forget that I wasn’t always there…”
Hannah shook her head. “That was a lifetime ago, Harry. We were all so young.”
“Sometimes, sis, when I’m low and feeling especially sorry for myself, I still go there. Besides you, Kathy was my rock. Without her, the temptation to have a drink is stronger, but when I think of how it would break her heart, I know she’s alive inside me, and I hold back. Edward will still be your strength and comfort when you don’t even know it.”
Hannah nodded. “Thank you, Harry. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Harry looked like he was about to speak, but he only hugged her and smiled, turning as he went to join his own family. Hannah gazed at the fresh grave one last time.
“Goodbye, Eddy,” she whispered. “We’ll see each other again in Heaven, my love.”
She somehow found the resolve to walk away. She knew Edward wasn’t really in that grave, so as she ambled across the freshly mown grass to join her family, she looked up at the heavens. The sun brushed her cheeks and lips like a feather-light kiss.
Hannah returned often to Edward’s grave. She brought fresh daisies every Sunday after church. Sometimes her family joined her, but she was usually alone. She took to keeping a folding chair in her trunk, and whether rain or sun, she’d sit with Edward for a little while and speak to him. She sometimes read from her book of Psalms, but other times, she’d just sit quietly, listening. Closing her eyes, she didn’t have to think hard to imagine him in the rustling of the leaves, in the birdsong, or in the breeze that embraced her. These days became Hannah’s path to healing.
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