The sunlight crept in through the window, washing over Jocelyne’s sleeping face. Her eyes fluttered open, but she did not move. Instead, she laid there silently for a few minutes, lost in thought. The house was so still and silent, but her mind was abuzz with a thousand thoughts, racing around all at once.
The memories from the night before were already so foggy and unclear – walking down the stairs, talking to Luc, hearing his voice… Was it all a dream? What could it mean? There were so many questions Jocelyne wanted answered, but she couldn’t be sure of any of them.
But then, did it really matter anyway?
Real or not, everything felt different now. Lighter. Happier. Better. Thank you, Luc. Jocelyne thought as she finally pulled herself out of bed.
She headed straight for her desk, eager to get all of her thoughts down while they were fresh in her mind. Jocelyne opened her journal to a blank page and began to write, describing everything from the night before in as much detail as she could manage.
She didn’t make it very far before she was interrupted by the sound of tiny footsteps and soft sniffling from the hall. That can’t be good…
Jocelyne rose to her feet with a soft sigh and headed out into the hall to investigate. She discovered the source of the sound almost instantly.
Little Zayne stood in the entry way, weeping softly as he looked at his parents’ urns. His aunt felt her heart sink at the sight. She knew he still had bad days every now and then… And today was looking to be yet another one.
“Zayne?” She said softly as she reached the bottom of the stairs.
The little boy sniffled, wiping away a few tears. “Hi, Tante Joce.”
Jocelyne hesitated for a moment, trying to decide what to say. In the end, she settled on a distraction. “I was just about to go start some pancakes for everyone. And I sure could use some help…”
Zayne shook his head. “I don’ feel like it.” He mumbled. “I’m too sad… I had a real sad dream las’ night. About Papa.”
“Y-you did?” The woman tried to hide her surprise.
“Uh-huh. I’ve had lotsa dreams ‘bout Papa. I like to preten’ he’s singing to me at nighttime.” He explained. “Jus’ like he used to. But las’ night when he was done singing…” Zayne paused for a moment, his lip trembling. “He tol’ me he loves me. An’ then he said goodbye. He never said goodbye before.” Tears began slowly streaming down his cheeks. “I know it’s just preten’, like Bruce. I know Papa wasn’t really there… But I’m still sad! I don’t want him to go away.”
Jocelyne said nothing. Zayne had mentioned imagining he could hear Lucas singing to him before, but she’d never really given it much thought until now. She couldn’t help but think about her father too. Back when things were bad, Tobi had mentioned feeling like he was being haunted by Lucas while he slept… And then there were her own nightmares, and the strange dream from last night.
But was it a dream…? Jocelyne would never know for sure. But she decided it did not matter.
“Can I tell you a secret?” She asked at last.
Her nephew nodded eagerly.
“I had a dream about Papa too.”
“You did?” His eyes lit up.
“I did. And I think maybe it was… Like a message.”
Zayne raised an eyebrow at her. “What kinda message?”
“A good one.” Jocelyne smiled softly. “I think Papa wanted to make sure we’re okay, one last time. And now that he knows we are, he can go be with Mama in heaven.”
He appeared thoughtful for a moment as he considered his aunt’s words. “I think so too.” He agreed at last. “An’ even though I didn’t want Papa to go away… I guess he belongs in heaven with Mama.”
Jocelyne nodded. “He does.”
“But… If that’s really the truth, I have another question…”
“If Mama and Papa are in heaven, how come we’re still keepin’ ‘em in these funny jars?” Zayne gestured toward the urns. “Grandpa says these are just Mama and Papa’s ashes. He said their spirits went away to heaven… But shouldn’t the ashes be with the rest of ‘em too? Don’t they need them?”
Jocelyne could not help but laugh softly at her nephew’s innocence. She shook her head. “They don’t need their bodies anymore, Zayne. They’re… free.” She wasn’t really sure how else to explain it.
“Well I think their ashes should be free too.” He insisted. “It’s not fair to keep ‘em all cooped up like this. I don’t think they like it.”
He does have a point, doesn’t he? Jocelyne thought to herself. They’d been holding on to Lucas and Hazel’s remains for so long… But if they ever wanted to move forward with their lives, they needed to let go. Not the love or the memories, of course. They would hold on to those forever.
And wouldn’t that be enough?
“Know what? I think you’re right.” Jocelyne agreed. “I think we’ve had them here with us long enough… I think it’s time to set them free.”
“’Zactly!” Zayne’s face lit up. “Do you think we can really send their ashes all the way up to heaven? Do you think Mama and Papa will find ‘em okay? How are we gonna do it? Should we get some balloons again?”
She smiled warmly. “We’ll talk to Oma and Opa and Grandpa about it. I’m sure we can figure out a way.”
“Thanks, Tante Joce. You’re the bestest ever!”
“Anytime, kiddo.” Jocelyne whispered. “I love you.”
Today marks one year since I first started this legacy. I seriously can’t even believe it!
I never dreamed I would get the level of support I’ve gotten for this story, and I appreciate every single one of you, especially those of you who have been reading since the beginning!
My Rosebrooks have definitely been on a frustrating rollercoaster this past year, but I know (very deep down for some of you 😛 ) you love this family and these characters just as much as I do, and that means so much to me!
Thank you again. You’re all wonderful. 🙂