Sitting under the umbrella, Sarah watched her husband help Wyatt build a sand castle. Wyatt had Henry’s bright blue eyes and Sarah’s blond hair. She loved watching her son’s wispy curls sway in the wind as she heard him giggle. Her eyes lit up with love at the sound of her son’s giggle. He turned two years old a month ago and Sarah loved every moment, milestone, and hiccup that motherhood brought. Henry and Sarah had a sweet life and they both were enamored with Wyatt. Sarah loved watching Henry and Wyatt together. Wyatt loved his daddy and he would follow Henry everywhere. Giggling and telling him stories which no one could understand but Henry had conversations with Wyatt and they understood each other perfectly. It was the sweetest thing to watch. Henry picked up Wyatt and brought him back under the umbrella. Wyatt hugged his mom and Sarah cuddled him in her arms. Henry watched them together and thought he couldn’t love any two people on this earth more than he loved his wife and son. Wyatt fell asleep in Sarah’s arms and she gently laid him down on the blanket under the umbrella. She nestled next to Henry as they lay next to each other feeling the sun, wind, and love surround them. Sarah kissed Henry and gently played with his hair. “Guess what?” she whispered into his ear. He leaned into her, kissing her, and letting his hands explore her body. “What?” he laughed as she swatted at his hand as he tried to untie her bikini top. “Henry, I love our family of three but we are going to now be a family of five.” She looked into his eyes as she watched his reaction to her news. “Two! We are having 2 babies!” He kissed her and they both laughed until they were crying. Then Sarah turned serious as reality and fear hit her at once. “Henry, we are having twins. Am I up for this? Are we up for this? We will need a new house.” She kept talking and Henry wrapped her in his arms. She always felt safe in his arms and he calmed her soul. “Sarah, you are an amazing mother and together we are incredible parents to Wyatt. We are about to embark on a new journey. We have each other. Awww…Sarah! I love our life and you and Wyatt and now our new babies.” Wyatt woke up crying from his nap. Henry picked him up and wrapped both Sarah and Wyatt in his arms. Sarah already loved the two souls in her belly and she knew they would make it through this next chapter in their lives.
Surrounded by wrapping paper, toys, icing in her hair, and their three beautiful children curled up in her lap, Henry laughed as he watched them giggle and play. Sarah laughing and giggling right along with them. Henry imprinted this memory into his heart as he had never seen Sarah look as beautiful as she did sitting there in jeans and a t-shirt celebrating the twins third birthday. He laughed as he picked up Elizabeth and James and hugged them tight. Sarah watched as the twins hugged their daddy and then squirmed to get down to play. Henry put them down and watch them run off to play with Wyatt and all the new toys. Thankfully, all of them got along with each other and Wyatt was an excellent big brother. Sarah stood up and giggled as she saw she was covered in icing from head to toe. Sarah looked at Henry’s mischievous grin and smacked him playfully on the behind as she went into the kitchen. Her phone vibrated in her pocket. She picked it up and looked at the message.
Sarah, you look so beautiful. Let’s make a date on the beach tonight after the kids are in bed. Mom can watch them.
She grinned and replied back to him.
Sounds wonderful. It’s a date.
She put the phone back in her pocket and then felt it vibrate again.
Let’s get naked. Love you. Henry
He could still take her breath away after three children and their busy lives, she loved him more than she ever thought was possible. She replied.
Can’t wait. Let’s get naked. Love you. Sarah
All of Henry’s family came to celebrate the birthday of the twins and to help Sarah and Henry as they moved into their new home. A perfect home complete with 6 bedrooms, a big yard, and a short walk to the beach. Sarah felt so thankful for Henry’s mother and hugged her tight when she offered to bathe the children so Sarah could escape with Henry for a little while. Sarah walked down the short path to meet Henry. He had a blanket, two glasses and a bottle of wine. They held each other as they listened and watched the ocean. Both of them savoring the quiet moment. She stared at her husband’s profile in the moonlight and she gently caressed his face with her fingers. Henry took Sarah’s face into his hands tracing the curve of her face and kissing her lips gently. She moved her body into his and she whispered into his ear. “Let’s get naked” They both laughed as their clothes came off and their bodies melded together in passion and in love.
Their life was busy and full of play dates, sports, dance, juggling schedules for doctor appointments but Sarah loved their life and enjoyed every moment with her family. The diner and The Thursday Morning Breakfast club became a constant in Sarah and Henry’s life. The children always had someone to dote on them and to also offer gentle discipline when needed. Henry had found a publisher and his first book would be published in the spring. He was writing a series of children’s books based on his adventures from when he was a child playing on the beaches of Plemont as well as his adventures as a dad with his own children. Sarah felt such pride as she watched Henry read his stories to their children and they sat mesmerized by the adventure as well as his ability to bring character’s to life by using different voices. They would giggle or cling to each other in the suspenseful parts. Henry was a remarkable dad. He was the perfect combination of love and discipline. Sarah felt blessed as she listened to her husband’s voice saying good night to each one.
Wyatt sprinted to the mailbox every day looking for his acceptance letter to USC in California and he prayed he would receive a scholarship to play football. It was Wyatt’s senior year and he was valedictorian of his class. He worked hard and earned his spot as one of the top quarterbacks in the region. So many colleges had been knocking at his door but USC is where he dreamed to go. He grabbed a Coke, ran out to the mailbox and opened it and shifted through the letters. He saw the postmark from California and his heartbeat quickened. He managed to make it back in the house as he handed the letter to his mom. Sarah looked at the excitement and nervousness in her son’s eyes. My goodness she thought. Where has the time gone? Wyatt is graduating from high school and heading off to college. The twins are freshman in high school. It seems like yesterday when she was changing diapers and wiping noses. Now she was preparing herself to send her first born to college. Henry came in from the family room and they all stared at the letter. Sarah finally took a deep breath and opened it. “It is our honor and pleasure to welcome Wyatt Arnold Shaw to the University of Southern California on a full football scholarship…” “Yes!! Woohoo!!” yelled Wyatt as he picked up his mom and hugged her tight. Then he fist pumped his dad and they hugged each other. Sarah had tears in her eyes and Henry walked over to her and brought her into his arms. Both of them felt such joy and pride for their son had made a dream come true but a twinge of sadness tugged at their hearts as they realized he would be moving across the country. Elizabeth and James walked in from school and joined the celebration. “Group hug” they all cried as they came together as a family.
The twins were enjoying their sophomore year of high school and Wyatt was excelling as a student and as a quarterback for USC. There was talk about Wyatt being good enough to possibly go to the NFL. Sarah and Henry were able to visit Wyatt and see him play. They were impressed with how amazing he was and cheered him on from the stands. On their most recent visit, Wyatt introduced them to his girlfriend, Julie. Sarah and Henry adored her and she fit right into their lovely family. As Sarah and Henry were leaving to go home, Henry took his son in his arms and hugged him tight. He spoke with such pride and love. “Wyatt, I am so proud of the man you have become. Your mom and I love you so much.” “Awww…thanks, dad! I couldn’t have asked for better and cooler parents. Love you both.” They hugged and Wyatt drove his parents to the airport.
The house was silent except for Henry’s snoring and Sarah tossed and turned. She got up and went outside onto the balcony. The sound of the phone ringing startled her. It was late. She looked at the alarm clock and it said 3am. Her heart was beating fast as she grabbed the phone. Henry stirred beside her and sat up as she answered.
“Hello. Yes, this is Sarah Shaw. Yes, my husband is with me. What has happened? Who is this?” Sarah instinctively grabbed Henry’s hand. Henry turned on the light and as he turned he saw Sarah’s face turn white as she dropped the phone on the bed. She screamed. “Sarah, what is it? What is it?” She couldn’t answer. She could only scream. No words. Henry took the phone. He listened on the other end. Dear God. This is not happening. “Mr. Shaw, I am so sorry to have to tell you this. But your son was killed in a motorcycle accident tonight. A drunk driver pulled out in front of your son and killed him instantly.” Henry couldn’t comprehend what the dean of the school was telling him. He heard your son was killed and that was it. He put the phone down and fell to his knees. Sarah crawled to him as they both clung to each other. They stayed that way for a long time. Neither one of them knowing how to comfort the other one. Elizabeth and James came into the room crying from fear because of their mom’s screams and their dad’s crying. As Henry told them the news, they all clung to each other. No one wanting to let go and each one of them wanting time to go back to the way their life had been just a few hours ago.
The day of the funeral for Wyatt had arrived and the church pews were filled with friends, family, the Breakfast club, college roommates, professors, administrators, the football team from college and high school, coaches and it overwhelmed Sarah. But also made her strong and she was comforted by all the love for her son. She wanted to run and hide. She wanted to disappear. How was she going to make it through this day? How was she going to make it from now on with her sweet and dear Wyatt? Henry, Elizabeth and James kept her going and gave her the strength to get up each morning. But today she was saying good bye to her first born. As she prepared herself to go into the church, she held onto Henry’s hand. She saw the hurt and loss in his eyes and in her children’s eyes. She couldn’t take away the pain and her own pain was so overwhelming. She prayed for strength. As they walked through the back doors of the church and Sarah saw the casket with her baby in it, she felt her knees buckle. Henry grabbed her. “Sarah, it is going to be ok. Hold onto me.” She held on for dear life. But she felt herself become angry with Henry as he told her it was going to be ok. She thought to herself. How the hell am I going to be ok? How are we all going to be ok? That’s our baby in that casket. She wanted to scream and to hit something. This anger invaded her body fast and she pushed Henry away with her hand. She steadied herself as the ushers rolled the casket into the church and the family took their places in the front pews. Wyatt’s favorite music played. The pastor spoke. Then it was Sarah’s turn to speak. “Are you ok to do this?” Henry whispered. “Stop asking me if I am ok.” She harshly whispered back. Henry’s face looked shocked and Sarah knew she hurt him but she held onto the anger because it helped her get up to do the hardest thing she would ever do as a mother.
“Wyatt Arnold Shaw. My first born. I already miss you like crazy. I remember your first word. Mama. Your wispy blond curls when you were two. I hated to have to cut those curls. You gave the best hugs and always had a caring heart. Wyatt, so many people are here because you touched so many lives with your generous spirit. I will miss your laugh. You are named after a brave and gentle soul so I know that Arnold is there to greet you. My parents are also there to help you on this next journey. Be brave my sweet Wyatt. Know that we love you and will miss you. Wyatt, I will miss you. Love you.” The tears were flowing and Sarah had no more to give. Henry walked up and helped her back to the pew. Henry went back up to the front to speak about his beautiful son.
“My first born. How excited your mom and I were when you made your way into this world. I didn’t know how much love my heart could hold until my children came into my life. Wyatt, you were an amazing son. I loved you from the very first moment I saw you. I will miss your laughter and playing football with you in the backyard. Our late night talks and your famous chocolate shakes. God, please take care of my son. I love him and miss him very much.” Henry’s eyes filled with tears and he walked back to the pew. Sarah played the part but she still felt such anger. Anger at the drunk driver that took her son, anger at her son for getting on a motorcycle, anger at Henry for telling her it was going to be ok and anger at God for taking her son. She felt guilty for being angry and she felt guilty for wanting to just run and hide. But she also felt comfort from Henry’s strength and from her children’s courage. As the casket was lowered into the ground, she held her family tight as the tears flowed from all of them. They walked back to the church clinging to each other and hoping for relief from this awful pain and loneliness.
A few weeks had passed and life seemed to be returning to normal. The twins were back in school and getting back to dance and soccer. Sarah and Henry delved into work. Henry lost himself in writing his books and Sarah kept busy with the diner. They both kept busy with the twin’s schedule. Neither one of them spending too much time alone with each other and each one not sure how to help the other. Sarah had become distant since Wyatt’s funeral. Henry’s family had come to visit and to help out. Sarah felt herself easily agitated so she stayed away as much as she could so she would not let her anger show. She felt lost and felt guilty if she felt happy. She played the game of pretend really well but she was exhausted. Tired of pretending.
She was in the kitchen preparing dinner with Henry’s mom. Marianne took her hand and told her to sit down.
“I don’t want to sit down. This is my kitchen and I will do what I want. Why don’t you leave me alone so I can make dinner.” Sarah snapped back. Henry walked into the kitchen and witnessed the moment.
“Sarah, mom is trying to help. What is wrong? Are you ok?” Henry walked over to her.
“Why do you keep asking me if I am ok? Are you ok? How can I be ok? Our son is dead. He is not coming back. I just want to cook dinner. I just want to be left alone. I want my son back. I want my beautiful baby to come running through those doors and hug me. I want people to stop asking me if I am ok.” Sarah screamed at Henry. The tears burned her eyes and she ran out of the house.
“Sarah. Mom, I am so sorry. It has been so hard for all of us.” Henry hugged his mom.
“Henry, it is going to be hard for a long time. Go after her. She is hurting. You both are. Your love is strong. Find a way back to each other.”
Henry hugged his mom tight. “Mom, I love you. We will be back in a little while. If the kids get hungry, order a pizza.” Henry took off out the back door and down to the beach. He knew exactly what he needed to do.
He found Sarah sitting in the sand and he walked over to her. She was crying and pounding the sand.
“Don’t try and tell me it is going to be ok. Don’t try and comfort me.” Henry held her as she tried to fight his hold.
“Damn it, Sarah. Stop! Listen to me! I lost him too. I hurt every day! But our love is strong. Think about Wyatt. He would want us to move on and to be happy.” Henry stood up and lifted Sarah up. He led her to the ocean. Her tears were blinding but she continued to fight him. They walked out into the ocean and he turned her so she was facing him.
“Sarah, it is ok to be angry. Let it out. Scream! Shout it out! Let’s both do it! Let’s let it all go!” Both of them shouted to the ocean and to the heavens. Exhaustion finally set in and they clung to each other. They walked back onto the shore. Sarah spoke. “Henry, I am so sorry. Our hearts our broken. Please let’s not lose each other in grief and anger. You are right. Wyatt would want us to love, live and be happy.”
“Sarah, I love you. And I promise we will make it through this. We just need to remember to lean on each other.” They walked back to the house. It was quiet. Marianne left a note on the kitchen counter. She had taken Elizabeth and James out to dinner. Sarah had walked back to the bedroom to change clothes. She heard her phone vibrate.
She went to read the message.
Let’s get naked. Love, Henry
She needed Henry. She needed to feel his skin against hers. She needed to feel him inside of her. She needed his love.
I am here waiting. Love, Sarah
Henry needed to feel her body against his. He needed to be inside of her. He needed her love.
So much love filled the diner as Elizabeth made sure everything was ready for her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. She kissed her husband as she waited for the guests of honor to arrive. “Ben, did you check on Matthew and Anna?” She asked her husband. “Yes, they are waiting at the door with the sign they made.” She smiled. They loved their grandma and grandpa. They worked hard on the sign that said Happy Anniversary. It was decorated with hearts and rainbows. James walked over with his wife and new born baby. Sarah and Henry were devoted grandparents and loved their grandbabies. As Sarah and Henry pulled up in their car, Matthew and Anna squealed with delight. “Mommy and Daddy. They are here.” Sarah and Henry had such love in their eyes as they walked up the sidewalk of the diner. “What an awesome sign, Matthew and Anna!” Both children dropped the sign and ran to them and hugged them. The sidewalk was lit up with twinkling lights. Music was playing inside of the diner. It reminded Sarah of the night Henry proposed. She held her husband’s hand as they entered the diner to thunderous applause and hugs galore. Henry and Sarah felt so loved. Both of them knowing how blessed they were to have an amazing family. They had a group picture taken and as the photographer snapped the picture both Sarah and Henry thought of Wyatt. They held each other a little tighter and smiled through the tears. They danced the night away. They were the last ones to leave and they drove home feeling young and carefree. Both of them so in love with the other. “Happy Anniversary, Sarah. I love you.” He whispered to her. “Happy Anniversary, Henry. I love you too.”
Sarah lifted Matthew onto the stool as he helped her bake cookies. Anna was coloring on the kitchen table and singing along with the radio. Henry walked in and snuck his finger into the bowl for a quick lick of the cookie dough. Sarah playfully patted him on the behind. “Grandpa, you are not supposed to do that.” Matthew said laughing. Henry laughed and hugged his grandson. “Sorry, buddy. It won’t happen again.” He looked at Sarah and winked. He walked back into the family room and sat down to read the paper. He suddenly felt a pain in his heart and he gasped. He called out Sarah’s name. Sarah heard him call out and went to see what was wrong. “Henry!” She cried out. He was on the ground. Henry saw flashes of his life. He remembered the day he first saw Sarah in the diner, the night he saw her dance, the night he proposed to her, Sarah saying her vows to him, their wedding day, the birth of Wyatt, the birth of the twins, and he saw Sarah’s face loving him as his world went black.
Sarah held onto Henry’s urn as she left the loving arms of her children and grandchildren. She needed to be alone to say good bye to the love of her life. Her husband. She walked along the beach. She stopped and looked into the beautiful colors of the dusk. Henry would have loved the beauty of this moment.
“Henry, the love of my life, I was blessed to have you in my life for over 60 years. You taught me how to love myself and then in turn, I learned to love you. You believed in me and encouraged me to dream big and to take chances. We have such a beautiful family. Henry, I miss you. I miss your touch, your smile, your voice and your sexy laugh that made me drop my panties.” She laughed out loud. “I know you would appreciate that. I know you are with Wyatt, Arnold and my parents. And I know your parents greeted you with open arms and hugs.” She walked into the ocean. “Henry, may you walk with the angels. I love you. You will always be with me. I look forward to the time when we will be reunited. I will be ok.” She opened the urn and let his ashes soar into the wind and roll into the waves. As she walked back to their home, she felt Henry’s love surround her. “I love you, Henry” she whispered into the wind.
Sarah died peacefully in her sleep that night. Her room was surrounded with pictures and memories of her beautiful life. Her strength and determination to love and be loved was a testament to her family and the strong bonds that tied them all together were never to be broken. The funeral was a beautiful send off to this amazing woman. Sarah’s children and grandchildren gathered at the house and walked down to the ocean’s edge. Each took a turn saying how much they loved her and then Elizabeth and James walked out into the ocean to scatter her ashes. “Mom, we love you. We will miss your enormous heart and your caring spirit. We will miss your laughter and singing and dancing. Give dad and Wyatt a hug from us. We love you.” As if on cue, a burst of wind swooped Sarah’s ashes up into the sky and the waves carried them out to sea. All of Sarah and Henry’s family walked back to the house and it comforted them to know that Sarah and Henry were reunited. They smiled to know that they would be back in each other’s arms and dancing together forever.