While you sleep

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14

Every day Deidre took a nap, and every day Gwen visited her in her dreams. They talked about everything, trying to catch up on their entire lives up until Gwen's death. They laughed, they cried, they held each other through the painful memories. Mother and daughter forgave each other and themselves for every thing that had transpired.

Whenever Hope slept, which was most of the time, Gwen visited with her daughter. Even if Hope didn't understand a word her mother said, Gwen talked to her about everything that was in her heart. They played, they hugged and they giggled together. Mother and daughter loved spending every second with each other.

Gwen visited Andrew while he slept at night, they never talked much. They both found that words were useless, they both knew what was going to happen. They both wanted to spend as much time loving each other, not dwelling on the inevitable. They made love every night, just as when she had been on earth, basking in the happiness they both felt. Husband and wife were content and they shared in their love time after time. Her father kept trying to catch her, but she avoided him with a renewed strength she had found deep within.

Three months came and went, only one thing remained to be done in the house. Andrew called to Deirdre and she appeared with Hope in her arms. Hope reached her arms out for her father, waiting for his embrace. He pinched her plump cheeks, she cooed up at him lovingly and he held her close. Deirdre looked around the master bedroom and decided it was absolutely beautiful. Her daughter would love it, she was certain.
The burgundy fabric used for the bed linens and the curtains was rich and luxurious. The deep mahogany dresser, bed frame and nightstands were exquisitely carved. The room felt so expensive, yet she knew that Andrew just had a knack for making it seem so. She sighed when she thought of what this meant. The house was done, Gwen could leave. Why did it bring Deirdre such sorrow to think about it? She had finally had her closure with her daughter, yet she yearned for more. She wanted her daughter to come back, but she knew it was just a fantasy.

Andrew held Gwen in his arms while she cried unabashedly against him, letting her tears drench his chest. He wiped them away gently and lifted her chin to look into her eyes.
''It's inevitable sweetheart.''
She nodded through her sobs and laid her head back down on his shoulder.
''I feel like my heart is breaking.''
He didn't want her to feel any more pain. Especially if it was because of him. He held onto her tightly, never wanting to let her go. He had to be strong for her, yet he knew in this moment that it didn't matter anymore.
''I hate that our room is in the attic.''
She pulled away slowly, glancing up at him before a huge smile appeared on her face.
''I know Andrew.''
He blushed a little and caressed her cheek softly.
''You never did like tight spaces, but you did it for me.''
He kissed her gently and brought his forehead to rest on hers.
''And I'll do it for the rest of my life, thinking of you every time.''
She sighed, feeling the tears blurring her vision once more. She pulled him close and rested her head on his heart. She fell asleep to the beatings of his heart. Thump. Thump. Thump.

Deirdre, Andrew and Hope sat on the queen sized bed, waiting for Gwen. She wanted to try to appear to them all together before she crossed over. She had been feeling the pull get stronger every day. Her spirit wanted to go towards the light, yet she was now rooted firmly in the spirit world, not wanting to let go. She knew that she couldn't stay forever in between, being chased by an evil spirit. She had to let her father go, she needed them to move on.
Deirdre and Andrew both gasped when they saw her appear, she looked like an ghost, not really flesh and bones. She was so beautiful, wearing a pure white gown, her long hair falling behind her back, a crown of flowers sitting on her head. They both felt that she was finally ready to go. She was already beginning to disappear. Andrew reached out to her, his hand felt like it was touching warm steam. He could barely feel her anymore, she was slipping away. She looked up at his frowning face and she brought her hands to it.
''I feel like I am being pulled away. I can't fight it any longer.''
It was Andrew's time to start crying, he felt the tears rolling down his cheeks, he wiped at them violently. She kissed the tears that fell, leaving him feeling empty. He couldn't feel her at all. She walked to her mother and her daughter, smiled at them both and stood back. She stared at the three loves of her life for a moment, until she began to disappear into the air. She whispered one last thing as she vanished completely.
''I love you.''

40 years later ...

Abigail stared down at her dying grandpa. This isn't fair. She had barely had any time with him. Between classes and work, she had barely any time for herself, let alone her favorite person in the world. She took his hand gently in hers and kissed it. He stirred in the hospital bed and opened his eyes.
''Hope?''
She shook her head, but smiled. She loved being compared to her mom, she sure was a beautiful woman. Even in her forties, all eyes turned to her when she walked into a room. Abigail stood up slowly and walked to the door. She spotted her mom sitting alone, drinking some horrible hospital coffee. She waited for her to turn her head and she waved her down. Her mom almost ran to her, she probably thought something was wrong with her dad. She was out of breath when she reached them.
''Everything is okay mom, he thought I was you. I figured he wanted to talk maybe.''
She nodded and Abigail left them their privacy. Her mom and her grandpa were very close. He was the one that raised her, along with Abigail's great grandmother Deirdre, who they lost a few years back. Abigail decided to wait near the door, leaning down against the wall.

''Dad?''
Hope looked down at the frail man laying on the bed. It looked like it wanted to swallow him up. She felt tears burning her eyes, but she didn't want to let them fall. She had to be strong. He cleared his throat and spoke softly.
''Do you remember the lady that used to visit you in your dreams?''
She nodded, of course she remembered. He told her many times throughout the years that it was her mom. She hadn't truly understood but she had believed him nonetheless. She loved the idea that her mom's spirit had not been able to leave them. Many things she saw during her forty one years confirmed her belief in the supernatural.
''Yes, I remember mom.''
He smiled through the pain she knew he was experiencing.
''She is calling to me. She wants me to join her. Can you let me go Hope?''
She gasped, not wanting his words to be true. She didn't want him to stop fighting, yet she could see the peace his exchange had brought him. She could feel that he wanted to be with his departed wife more than anything. Hope took hold of his hand and squeezed lightly. She kissed him gently on the forehead and whispered,
''Say hello to mom for me.''
With her last word, she felt his hand go limp and she began sobbing uncontrollably. She felt Abigail's arms embrace her and she knew everything would be okay.

Gwen and Andrew stare at each other. They are standing side by side, next to two massive white doors. Andrew is wearing a long pure white gown, just as Gwen is. Neither of them speak. Andrew takes Gwen's hand in his and smiles. The doors open and they walk hand in hand into the blinding light.
THE END

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