Chapter 53 - Forever

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Jason's POV

"If I should die and leave you

Be not like the others, quick undone

Who keep long vigils by the silent

dust and weep.

"For my sake turn to life and smile

Nerving thy heart and trembling

hand to comfort weaker souls than thee.

Complete these unfinished tasks of mine

And I perchance may therein comfort thee."

Reverend Gray gently closes the sermon book in his hand, looking out over the church.

"Now, let us end the service with the Lord's Prayer." He bows his head and begins praying, "Our Father, who art in heaven..."

I stare at the coffin on its stand behind where Reverend Gray is reciting the prayer.

There's heaviness in my heart. A sadness in my soul.

It hurts.

I let my eyes down, my head bowing, as I join in the prayer.

Then, I feel a hand curl around mine, and it soothes the sadness away.

My eyes lift, meeting with a set of beautiful blue eyes.

The only eyes I ever want to look into.

Samaya smiles softly at me. Her eyes mirror my sadness. Her precious head is covered with a black headscarf to hide the hair loss that bothers her so much. It doesn't bother me because that gone hair means that she's still here. Solid and breathing.

She fought that brain tumor like a motherfucker. Sorry, God. But she did, and she won.

We got the all-clear two weeks ago. We're not out of the woods completely. She has another checkup in another six months, but for now, the tumor is gone, and my girl is on the mend.

Months of radiation therapy, watching it wreck her body while healing her brain...was hard. But she did it, and she's here.

I just hate that we're here now. That we've lost someone else whom we love.

Bert suddenly passed away a week to the day after we had gotten the all-clear on Sam. He'd had a stroke. It had come out of nowhere and taken him with it.

"For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen," Reverend Gray ends the prayer.

I gently squeeze Sam's hand, and then I turn to my grandpa, who is standing beside me. He's been affected by Berts's passing the most.

Bert might have been his employee for the better part of twenty-five years, but he was my grandpa's friend more.

I press my hand to his shoulder. "You doing okay, Grandpa?" I ask quietly.

He meets my eyes and nods.

The service over, we exit the church. Grandpa is the first to leave. We were the only family Bert had. He was married many years ago, but he lost his wife young, like Grandpa did with my grandma. Bert didn't have any children. So, we were his family.

As I hold Samaya's hand, we follow behind my grandpa, walking down the aisle.

"I'm just going to thank Reverend Gray for the service," Grandpa tells me, stopping by the door.

"We'll wait in the car for you."

Sam and I walk out into the warm sunshine.

"Thanks for coming with me today," I say to her as we leave the churchyard, heading for the car.

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