Chapter 26: A Different Kind Of Goodbye (Epilogue)
Lacey and I sat on the front porch waiting. Soon the police would be there. Already one of the neighbors had come outside to see what the commotion was. Deacon’s choked screams could be heard loud and clear, even out here on the porch.
“Well,” I said, “I guess it’s finally over now.”
Lacey looked at me sadly. “Yes. I can feel it. I’ll be going soon.”
“Where did you go that last time? You know, when I drove you away again. I thought maybe you had gone forever.”
She smiled. “I went to go see our daughter.”
“Yes.” She looked at me and there was a mix of joy and sorrow in her eyes. “She saw me, Cole. Jessica really saw me. She said, bye mama.” A tear fell and glistening on her cheek. “I think she has your gift.”
I wanted to cry with her. Just knowing that she had some sort of closure with our baby was enough to make everything easier for her to let go.
“Now I have to say goodbye to you,” she said.
“I know.” I pulled her wedding ring out of my pocket. “Here.”
“I don’t need that to remember you, my love. Everything is right here.” She placed her hand over her heart. “The body may be gone, but the heart, that which we are inside, always remains.”
I couldn’t do anything, except smile. “I love you Lacey. I wish you didn’t have to go.”
“I know. Me too, but this isn’t forever. This is..”
And she leaned forward, kissing me. It wasn’t a physical kiss, for she was spirit, and wasn’t trying to pull me back into that plane at the hour of her leaving, but I felt it just the same. I tried to fight back the tears. But they wouldn’t stay put, and instead ran down my face.
“Don’t cry, Cole. We’ll be together again one day. You can give me the ring then.”
“Deal.” I turned back to look at Deacon’s front door. I knew he wouldn’t be coming through there again. Except maybe in a body bag. I wondered what the police would think when they showed up and found him choked to death on colored beads of plastic. I returned my attention to Lacey. “So what am I supposed to do now? How am I to go on without you?”
“Cole, you are special. For whatever reason, the spirit world has chosen you. To help the lost. To help make things right again. For some of us, you are the only bridge that shows the way across to where we need to be.”
“But I killed an innocent man, Lace. I made a ghost where there should have been rest. How can the spirit world trust my judgment?”
She smiled. “Darling, spirits trust you more than you know. After all, you are our advocate.”
“But I can’t do this without you.”
“Sure you can. I know every man needs a woman by his side to keep him on the straight, but it’s time for me to turn the reigns over to someone else now.”
She flashed me a wink. “Just think about it.”
Before I could put much thought into what she said, I heard sirens in the distance. She stood up. “Here they come,” she whispered.
At first I thought she meant the police, but that wasn’t what she was talking about. She was talking about the people in white. They seemed to melt out of the landscape, some from behind trees, others seeming to materialize out of thin air. I saw one come up from the earth itself, while another just seemed to fade in from the corner of the house. Their faces glowed in such a way I couldn’t make out any distinguishing features, but I knew who they were. They were spirits of those who had gone on before. Not disoriented, confused specters, but new creations of peace and light.
Lacey smiled at me. “I have to go now.”
I bit my lip, trying not to let the tears start again. “I’ll see you,” I whispered bravely..
She put her hand on her heart. “Always.”
I put my hand on my own breast. “Forever.”
The figures in white waited out in the yard, and as she stepped off the porch towards them, I saw her body changing. It was as if she were shimmering, like light playing across water. An ethereal glow came over her, enveloping her until she didn’t have a female form but was just a pulsating shade of light. As the figures came to her, all their dazzling shadows blended and came together as one, before fading away back the way they had come.
I stood there watching the beautiful spectacle. I had seen spirits leave this world in peace before, but not in such a display of light or community. It was as if she was getting a big welcome home.
As the last of the spirits faded and I was left alone in the world of the living, I wondered if I’d get a welcome like that one day. Probably not, but as long as Lacey was there to greet me, that was just fine by me.
“Advocate For The Dead ” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.