Something About You – Part 53 and Epilogue by ShellyLynn

Michelle awoke and tried to stop her husband and brother from rushing her to be checked out. She didn’t want to go anywhere until she knew what was happening with her mother, but she no longer had a choice. Her baby was on its way and there wasn’t anything she could do about it now. At first, she was upset. She had wanted so badly to stay with her mother, but then her feelings changed to those of hope. Maybe her baby would be enough to pull her mother through, maybe…. she held back tears as another contraction hit. A more realistic and terrifying thought entered her mind as they sat her in a wheelchair… maybe the baby was coming early so that her mother would have a chance to see her granddaughter before she passed away.

Danny watched in horror for a moment as Rick helped her into her chair. His mind flooded with thoughts about the safety of his wife, his child, and what it would do to them if these were indeed his mother-in-law’s final moments. He pushed those thoughts aside and stepped in to help his wife. He had vowed to protect her, and right now, his most direct concern was for her safety. He had to get her to calm down and let herself be checked out. It looked like today would be the day that their child entered the world, he only hoped that there would still be a grandmother around to help them welcome the new addition.

They took Michelle down to the Maternity Ward and asked to see her doctor. Danny watched the seconds tick by on his watch as they paged her physician. Her contractions were strong, and definitely real, but as he feared they were still five minutes apart. Their baby would not be arriving for a while yet and he would be spending the next few hours trying to keep her calm and in her room. He knew how obstinate his wife could be and he knew even better how determined she was to see her mother.

It had been a little over four hours since Rick and Danny took his daughter away, and he was still in the same place he’d been when they left, pacing between the same two sections of chairs, the mind numbing repetition the only thing keeping him from breaking down. He wanted to go check on his daughter, to find out if he was now a grandfather, but his heart wouldn’t let him leave Maureen. He wondered what kind of sick sense of humor fate must have to take her from him now, so soon after they finally were able to openly be together.

“Mr. Marler?” a voice called out, causing him to stop and turn back. At the sight of Maureen’s doctor, he hurriedly crossed the waiting room floor.

“How is she? What’s wrong? Can I see her?” the slew of questions left his mouth before the doctor had a chance to open his mouth.

“I think you should sit down, sir,” the doctor said, leading the distressed man to the nearby set of chairs. “Mrs. Bauer,” the man said the name the name in a way that made sure Mr. Marler knew that he wondered why it was not her husband waiting for her prognosis, “had a stroke. It was not what we would normally label as severe, but with her other condition, and her weakened immune system, it has caused more damage than even we originally anticipated. She is still unconscious, so we are unsure of the total damage caused, but judging by the part of the brain affected by the stroke, we are not expecting that she will have control of any of the muscles on her left side.” He paused, waiting for the information to sink in before continuing.

“So we wait for her to wake up and then she can rehabilitate to regain her strength. I’ve heard about people that get most of the movement back, it will take some work, but you don’t know how tough she is. She’s already been through so much and I’m sure she’ll pull through this,” Ross responded, not wanting to admit even to himself the seriousness of her condition.

“Unfortunately, there’s more. We are waiting on further test results, but it seems as though her cancer has spread through her chest and into her lungs. She is on a ventilator for the time being, and to be perfectly honest, she may never breathe on her own again. I’m sorry.”

The doctor stood from his seat at Ross’ side and headed toward the desk. Ross placed his head in his hands, willing himself to be strong. He had to, she’d always been strong and now it was his turn to be there for their family. Rick walked up, knowing by the reaction he’d just seen from the man he’d always thought of as an uncle that the news was not good. He had come down, not able to do anything for Michelle for the time being other than to find out the condition of their mother. Unfortunately, the news wasn’t good and he knew that was only going to make her pain and struggle worse.

“Remember to breathe,” Danny said, trying to loosen her grip on his fingers. “Sweetie, I’m going to need those later.”

“Where the hell is Rick?” she groaned, struggling as another contraction subsided. “He should be back by now.”

“Maybe he’s visiting with her,” Danny said, hoping she would take it at that and concentrate on herself for a little while.

“I hope so,” she mumbled, tears sliding down her cheeks. “I’m so worried about her. I want her to meet our baby.”

“What a beautiful little girl,” Rick cooed as he held his niece for the first time. “She looks just like her mother.”

“Oh come on Rick,” Michelle smiled, taking her daughter back into her arms. “She looks just like her father, admit it.”

“What do you think Mikey? Who does she look like?”

“I don’t think she looks like any of us. She’s all wed and winkly,” he added for clarification. “She can’t even talk. How am I supposed to play with her?”

“Give her a little time,” Danny said, rubbing his nephews curls. “She’ll be a lot more fun when she gets older.”

“Hey, doesn’t her grandfather get to hold her?” Ross asked, making his way into the room. “I was able to convince them to let you go down to see your mother, as long as you stay in a wheelchair.”

“What about the baby?” Michelle asked. “I want her to meet her granddaughter.”

“She’s not even conscious, sweetie,” her father told her. “They’re worried about having the baby down in the ICU.”

“Please,” Michelle pleaded. “You said yourself that they don’t think she’ll last much longer.” She nearly choked on her words and Danny sat back down on the bed next to her and kissed the crown of her head. “I just want her to get the chance to see her granddaughter one time.”

“Alright, they said if you really insisted, it would be okay, but no more than 5 minutes. Both your mother and daughter need their rest.”

“I don’t know if you can hear me mom,” Michelle said, wiping the never ending flow of tears from her eyes with the hand not cradling her baby. “I want you to meet your granddaughter. We’re naming her after you. Maureen Grace Santos. I just want you to see how beautiful she is and to know how much we all love you and need you. I can’t do this without you.”

She looked down at her little girl when she was met with nothing but silence. “I love you, Mom,” she whispered, reaching out to squeeze her mother’s hand.

She waited for another few moments before Danny entered to take her back to her room. Just as he started to turn her chair, Michelle heard Maureen make a noise and turned back. “Michelle,” she whispered, her voice hoarse. At the look of pleading in his wife’s eyes, Danny made his way back to the corridor. “She’s beautiful,” Maureen said, looking at the tiny baby in her daughter’s arms.

“You’re back,” Michelle said, eagerly leaning forward. “You’re going to be fine.”

“No,” her mother said, “It’s my time. I’m ready. I don’t want you to be sad. These last few months spent with my family have been some of the best of my life. I know you’ll all miss me, as I will you. But, I’m ready for it to be over. I want you to know how much I love you and how much I wish I could go back and fix all the time I spent apart from you, but I can’t. You have your own life now, you don’t need me anymore.”

“Of course I need you. I’ll always need you…”

“Not in the same way,” Maureen stopped her, grimacing from the effort of the slight raise in her voice. “I’ll always watch over you and that beautiful family of yours,” her voice trailed off and despite her desire to stay with her mother for her last moments, she knew that her mother would want to speak with someone else before she passed away.

“I love you, Mom and I’ll miss you so much,” she cried, standing up to give her mother one last kiss on the cheek. “I’ll go get Dad.”

Epilogue

“Gracie,” Michelle scolded lightly. “Come here, sweetie. You need to give grandma the flowers we brought.”

“Okay Mommy,” the little girl with the long dark curls and chocolate eyes came to her mother’s side and set her flowers on the grave. “Can grandma really see the pretty flowers we brought her?”

“Of course, honey,” Michelle said, letting her daughter sit in her lap. “She always watches over us and sees what we do. She’s our guardian angel. If we talk to her, she can hear us. Is there anything you want to tell her?”

The little girl smiled and looked hard at the headstone. “I just turned 4,” she smiled, proudly holding her fingers in the air. “I am getting ready to start preschool. I don’t wanna go, but mommy and daddy say that I’ll like it. Momma says I met you once. I don’t remember it, but she says that I’d love you a whole bunch if you were still here. I know grandpa and mommy miss you a lot. You’re our angel.”

Michelle turned her attention to the grave, wiping away the fresh tears that her daughter’s speech brought to her eyes. “Why don’t you go wait with Daddy now?” she requested, watching as her little girl ran to the edge of the cemetery where her father was waiting.

“I wanted to tell you how much I miss you. Danny and I got some news and we wanted to share it with you first. We’re having another baby. I just found out yesterday. It’s so exciting, and yet I’m sad because this time I won’t have you here to share it with. I know Dad is going to be thrilled. You should see how he spoils Michael and Gracie. He’s a wonderful grandfather. Everything is going so well. Rick and Abby are enjoying their little Andrew, although I’m sure they’re ready to start getting a little more sleep. Danny and Dad are starting their own practice. It’s been tough work, but they are enjoying it and getting along great. Who knew that they’d end up being such great friends? I guess that’s what I wanted to tell you. I miss you. I know that you’re watching over us and I hope you’re proud of us. I love you, Mom.”

She stood up and walked over to her husband and daughter. “You ready to go, baby?” he asked, kissing her softly on the lips. She nodded and laid her head on the shoulder opposite the one that her daughter leaned on.

“Let’s go home.”

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