Pulling up to Carlee's dad house, I let out a deep breath. We had just got in town and I know this is about to be the hardest week ever. Both of Carlee's parents are gone, I don't know what I would do if this was me. I was worried about my mom being sick and this entire time it was Carlee's dad.
The kids quickly got out the car as soon as I parked but Carlee sat there, just zoned out. I grabbed her hand and kissed it. "You ready to go inside baby?"
She shook her head. "Chris I can't do this. The whole flight here I tried to convince myself to be strong and I know that my dad wasn't young and not in his best health but I still can't accept this or be okay with it."
"And you don't have to be baby. I know death is something that's guaranteed but you don't have to be strong, right now you don't have to accept it, just know that I'm here to help you along the way. When you're ready to wipe your last tear, I'll be right there, I got you."
She cracked a smile then deeply inhaled. "Okay, let's go."
Climbing out the truck I walked around to the passenger side door and helped her out.
When we got inside, I saw everybody out on the deck. I grabbed Carlee's hand and led her outside. A bunch of his family was here, most of them I've met some I haven't. Once Carlee saw her siblings she rushed over to them and they all hugged. I headed over to Claire who looked like she was barely holding on.
"Hey Claire." I pulled her into a tight hug.
"Hi sweetheart, how are you?"
"No the question is how are you?"
"I'm........shocked. I knew he was sick, but this was unexpected. I didn't know he was that ill. The day before it happened he was so different. All he kept saying was I'm satisfied with everything that has happened in my life and I told him that he had so much more to experience. He looked at me and smiled. I should've known him being sick was more than I led on, he began to look different but I brushed it off and Chris maybe if I wasn't trying to be so in denial my husband would still be here." Tears flowed down her face, I just held her tighter. "But I'm glad you all are here and I'm certainly glad that you're by Carlee's side. How is she?"
"Trying to be strong. The first day she was out of it but she's doing a little better."
"You keep an eye on her."
"Now back to my question, how are you?"
"I'm okay. Curtis talked to me about him being sick, and I thought you at least knew because he told me to not let Carlee find out only."
"Nobody knew but you I guess."
"And that makes me feel bad because I wish he would've said something to at least you. But maybe it was already too late." I sighed. "I'm going to miss him. Even after all the mess I put his daughter through he still wanted me with her. I even broke promises I made to him about her." I bit down on my bottom lip and tried to blink away my tears.
Claire rubbed my back. "Well you're getting another try at keeping those promises, don't mess that up."
"I won't." I looked over at Carlee who was being held by her brother. "I'm making sure of that."