FIVE MONTHS LATER
“I’m sorry I didn’t do this sooner,” I tell the three graves in front of me as emotion chokes my voice.
I close my eyes as the Arizona sun beats down on me.
“A part of me will always be buried here with you.” A tear tracks down my cheek. For them. For me. For everything I’ve done. “I’m not the same man you knew.”
I’m not the same.
But I became who I had to be.
“It’s still hard for me to believe it’s over. That this battle is done. But it is.” I bow my head. “It is.”
A gentle gust of wind passes over me. And it feels like the world is taking a breath with me.
Lifting my head, I look over at Cassandra standing near our car, stomach round with twins, a boy and a girl. And I picture the smile my mother would give her. I picture the way she’d hug my children and shower them with love. I think of Freya as an aunt. How she would spoil the kids. How she would love to tell embarrassing stories about me to Cassandra.
A little more lightness fills my chest.
“I think you’d like my wife,” I tell my family. “She’s… She’s my second chance. My new beginning.”
I step forward to Freya’s headstone and press the Post-it to the top.
This one is in my handwriting.
This isn’t goodbye.