"Good night, Charlie. Thank you very much for your help with Lori a few days ago. I couldn't have done it without you." Clare said to her best friend Charles O'Malley.
"You would've done fine without me Clare, you're smarter than me remember? But you're welcome none the less." Charlie said with a chuckle.
Caiden, who had been unfortunately witnessed this affectionate show of friendship mumbled grumpily and went back inside the house before he said something rude. Was it so bad that he wanted to O'Malley boy to keep his pesky little hands off his baby sister? Why couldn't Clare's best friend be a girl? Wasn't that usually the case anyways. Clare was unusual for a girl.
"You've been cooking a lot lately, Grandma. Are you trying to stock up?" Caiden asked his grandmother the following day.
"Well, I am the best cook around, if I do say so myself, though your mother is very close to catching up with me. Stocking up on meals is a good thing, as you know I tend to go fishing sometimes and I'm gone the whole day. This way, I don't have to worry about cooking, it's all done beforehand." Anne said happily.
In truth, Anne and Alexander had reached a point in their elder days where everyday was to be treasured for it could very well be their last. Anne knew her death would be very difficult on her family, Blythe and Alex in particular. Blythe wouldn't be in any condition to cook, and while Anne had no way of knowing when Death would come for her, she did intend to at least try to leave her family as prepared as possible.
Alex had the same idea, where his wife was the one that took care of the family at home, cooking, cleaning and any domestic chores, he had dedicated his life to art and that art had made his family a very healthy fortune. It had allowed them to buy their current house and still have quite a bit saved up. They could buy or build a bigger house right now, but there was currently no need for it. All the savings would go to his daughter and her family. If and when the family needed to expand, money would not be as heavy a burden.
But Alex knew his days were numbered, and there was no way of knowing when his time was up. He wanted to keep painting to save up as much as possible for his family until then.
Ironically, the very next day while Anne was in one of her cleaning sprees, Death came calling. It was the best way for a neat freak like Anne to go, even if she wished she'd had a little more time with her family.
Anne died in the bathroom on the first floor, it was small and crammed. That however, did not discourage death one bit.
Blythe was absolutely devastated. She knew her parents were elders, but she had refused to accept that either of them would be taken from her so soon. She had expected to have them for a while longer, and now her mother was gone forever and Blythe had barely left Young Adulthood but a couple of days ago.
At least Ben was there to comfort her, though he was pretty upset up himself. He had had to see his own parents' deaths while he was still a teenager, that had been the hardest thing he'd ever had to go through. Still, Anne had always been so full of life and energy. Always busy cooking and cleaning, playing with the kids and telling jokes. Now she was gone and Blythe was heartbroken.
It was Death's first visit to the Montgomery House...well, this Montgomery House. They were by no means the first Montgomery to be claimed by death of course. So Death hung around for a short while, he could tell Blythe was having an especially difficult time accepting her mother's departure.
"Could you not given her more time? Let her live longer?" Blythe asked death quietly.
Death sighed heavily, "Perhaps, but you know... she was not immortal, she would have died and it was her time to go, child. You must learn to accept that, it is the natural order of things. You are born, your grow, you live and you die. I understand you love your mother dearly and her passing is difficult for you. I'm sorry for your pain."
Blythe was too sad to try and talk any more, she walked away to be alone with her pain.
Blythe spent the rest of the day in her room, crying for the loss of her mother and remembering all the good times they had had together. She had been the best mother a person could ever ask for. Unflinchingly devoted to her family. Blythe was still young, barely aged into a full fledged adult and she had already lost her mother, it seemed so unfair.
As much pain as Blythe was going through, Alex was even more devastated when he came home to learn his soul mate had died while he was at work. The selfish part of him had wished it had been him the first to die. The less selfish part of him was glad she had not lived to suffer the pain of losing him. He wished he had at least been home when she had died, that he had been near her, that he had been the last thing she saw before departing this life. How was he supposed to go on without the love of his life?
Alex was depressed. He could not imagine life without Anne. She had always been there, right next to him. They had built themselves a good life, they had a great and talented daughter, they had four grandchildren to be proud of. Theirs had been a good life, a loving life, a full life. Still, her loss cut him deeply.
Alex wished to sleep away what little life he may have left. But alas, sleep did not come, thus he did what any artist in his position would do: Paint. He put on canvas his grief and pain and loss. Through it all he could not entirely give in to his grief, he had to stay strong for his daughter Blythe, who was taking this all very harshly.
"I don't know what else we can do to help mom." Said Camren to Caiden the morning after Anne's death.
"I'm not sure there is anything else we can do. All we can do is try to be supportive, while giving her the space she needs. Mom was an only child, and she has always been very close with Grandma and Grandpa, we just have to wait it out..." Said Caiden quietly.
Meanwhile, Alex was trying to help little Clare make sense of it all. Clare was deeply worried about her mother, and with her grandmother having just passed away, she worried she would lose her own mother to grief.
"Your mom will be ok, little one. We just need to give her time." Alex said comfortingly.
Clare frowned, "Will mom die too? If she doesn't get better soon?" she asked worried.
Alex smiled warmly, "No Clare, your mom won't die of grief. Clare, I know you're worried about your mom, but I promise you, princess... she will overcome this. Blythe....your mother, she loves very deeply and so her pain is very deep."
"You're sad too grandpa...you loved grandma more than anyone else, but you're trying to to be sad so you can help mom." Clare said quietly.
Alex looked at his youngest grandchild with a mixture of admiration and concern. For one so young, Clare was very perceptive.
"I love you Clare, I love all of you. You're all very special to me." Alex said tiredly.
Before heading to work, Blythe remembered it was Clare's birthday. She had rushed to the kitchen to bake a cake. Unfortunately, halfway through baking the cake Clare turned into a teenager. A very sad one at that. Clare understood the family was in mourning, but it still hurt that her birthday had not been remembered on time.
Fortunately though, Clare could always count on her best friend Charlie. Charlie remembered it was Clare's birthday, and he knew she'd been going through a rough time and so he had payed her a visit in hopes to cheer her up.
Charlie's birthday, sadly had been the day before... the day Anne had died. He decided not to bring that up if at all possible. "Happy Birthday Clare. I brought you a rose, if you smile just a little, you can have it." he said trying to cheer her up. "You always did have such a beautiful smile."
Clare smiled a little then gave him a hug. "Thank you, Charlie. Thank you for always being there when I need you most."
"That's what friends are for, right?" Charlie said with a chuckle.
Blythe felt awful. She had been so consumed by her grief she had remembered too late about her daughter's birthday. She felt like she was a failure of a mother. How could she had forgotten about her little girl's birthday?
As depressed as she was, Blythe knew life must go on, and so even though she didn't feel like it, she dragged herself to work that day, feeling truly wretched.
Sadly, sometimes things get worse before they get better. And for Blythe, things got much worse. Two days after she had lost her mother, Death came calling for her father. Blythe didn't even know what to do with herself, it was all just too much. Too much loss, too much pain, in her despair she actually thought of asking Death to take her too.
Death seemed to know what she was thinking, or could sense her despair, she wasn't sure which. "No, child. It isn't yet your turn. I'm truly sorry for your pain. Blythe, your parents have loved you dearly, as dearly as you have loved them. Cry for them, mourn their loss, briefly little one and then, move on. Do not forget to live. Life for mortals is a fleeting thing, live Blythe. Honor the life your parents have given you." He said gently. "Until next time Blythe Montgomery." And with that, Death was gone.
Blythe's one and only comfort was that her parents were now again reunited and they had not been separated long. It still hurt very much to have lost them, but she had to move on. She would lay them to rest, mourn them, cry for them, and soon she would pull herself together and do what was expected of her: take responsibility for her family and ensure their well being.
"I will let go of you, for I must. But I will never forget you. Thank you for taking such good care of me. I will endeavor to carry on your legacy and make you proud. I will always love you." Blythe said quietly.