Author’s note: With the writing of this chapter, my timeline and events that have already occurred in the story will be skewed. This is the price I pay for pre-writing a storyline beyond what I have played in the game. This is the second time in two generations the game has thrown a curveball, and the first time it has happened to an active family. Despite desperate attempts to stop this event from happening in the game, I couldn’t prevent it. Therefore, this chapter was necessary, though heart-wrenching to write.
Reader discretion is advised.
It was a late winter morning, if you could even call it winter in Isla Paradiso. The kids were still sleeping, and Danae was up before dawn. Andy’s alarm went off earlier than usual for a breakfast meeting with Kirby and Aaron. So she got up and started the coffee pot, eager for the first cup. Andy was in the shower and she thought seriously about joining him, but she knew Emmitt would be up soon on his own. That little boy loved school almost as much as he loved swimming with his daddy every afternoon.
She tiptoed into the boys’ bedroom to watch them sleep. My little men, she thought. Eamon was growing up way too fast, and Emmitt was right behind him. He must have felt her presence in the doorway because she heard him giggle softly and those two beautiful caramel brown eyes looked at her. They were just like Andy’s eyes, and she adored them.
“Hi Mama!” he whispered and ran for her. She kneeled down like she did every morning and wrapped him in a mama bear hug.
“Good morning, baby boy,” she whispered in his ear. “Are you ready for breakfast, Emm?”
He smiled so big. “Yeah, I am! Pancakes and milk?”
“Made to order, squirt,” she chirped at him and brushed the hair out of his eyes. She sure loved that little boy.
Emmitt was a mama’s boy through and through, in much the same way that Lysie was a daddy’s girl. Danae loved her children equally. But Emmitt, well, he was her baby. Their miracle. His happy disposition spread warmth and laughter through the Murphy home every morning and every evening. Neither Danae nor Andy could remember a time when he wasn’t part of the family.
Andy walked out of their bedroom looking like a million dollars and he smelled even better. Funny, even after ten years, he still wears the cologne I bought for him for our wedding day, she thought. And like he did every morning, he walked up behind her, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her tenderly. This morning, he added a subtle tease, out of the view of little eyes, and Danae bit her lip.
“You look so handsome, babe,” she said as he poured his usual cup of morning brew.
“Oh, my sweet, what I’d give to be able to stay home with you this morning.” But he couldn’t. The championship was upon them, and the morning meeting was a strategy session for the big game. Danae finished up the pancake batter and tested the griddle. It was sizzling hot, so she poured the first two for Andy. He had to leave first.
“It’s okay, babe. Trixie and I have a house to clean anyway.” She took a sip from her coffee mug and set it on the counter. “Breakfast is almost ready. I know you have to go soon.”
Elyse walked into the living room from her bedroom, rubbing her eyes. “Mama? Do I have ballet after school today?”
She gave the calendar a quick check. “Tomorrow, sweet pea. You and Eamon have after school stuff tomorrow. Come home with your brothers on the bus today.” It meant she didn’t have to pick Emmitt up after school.
She didn’t say anything but a mumble, and Danae chuckled. Elyse’s new alarm clock, which she had to have, had been snoozed at least three times that morning. But it gave Eamon a chance to shower with a little warm water for a change.
Andy was done with breakfast before she got the next two cakes off the griddle. “In a hurry babe?”
“Yeah, Kirby wants us at the restaurant this morning by 8:30 and I’m running a little late.” Another set of cakes came off the griddle, and she poured two more.
Danae walked him to the front door, out of view of the kids. “I love you, Andy,” she whispered in his ear. “And I’ll deal with that tease later, after the munchkins are in bed. You naughty man.” She kissed him passionately.
He gave her his usual impish smile, the one that made her heart flutter. “I love you, baby. I’ll be thinking of you all day.” One last kiss and he was out the door.
The kids finished breakfast right around the time Trixie appeared in the stairwell. “Good morning, twerp!” she said to Eamon and tousled his hair. He loved that nickname. “Hey, Nae.”
“Hi, Trix!” Danae greeted her happily. There was nothing like having your best friend living in the same house, she thought. If things worked out with Aaron, she would miss her morning company. But they were such a cute couple, Danae was really pulling for them. “I’m still cooking pancakes if you’d like to grab a plate.”
“Thanks,” Trixie replied. “I have some errands to run in town today if that’s okay with you?”
Danae nodded. “Not a problem. I only have cleaning on the agenda for the day.”
The school bus was right on time, and she walked them out to the gate like she did every morning. And like he did every morning since he began school a few weeks back, Emmitt waited for her to kneel down to him. He gave her nose kisses, and he gave them in abundance.
His happy giggles rang in her ears as all three of them skipped to the bus. “Have a good day, kids!” she yelled to them. Lysie just turned briefly and waved. Eamon grinned ear to ear, but Emmitt, that boy blew her kisses until she couldn’t make out his face in the back window anymore.
After Trixie left for the morning, Danae settled into her usual cleaning routine, dancing around to her favorite music. By noon, the housework was finished, and she showered and changed her clothes. While she waited for the kids to come home, she relaxed in front of the television.
The bus arrived back home at three-thirty, and she met them like she did every day. Eamon and Elyse ran right past her and into the house, ready to busy themselves with homework, while Emmitt ran to her open arms. “How was school today, squirt?” she asked him as she covered his face in kisses.
“Real good, Mama! We’re going on a field trip tomorrow. Can I go?”
“Where are you going, honey?” she asked him. Lysie and Eamon had just been to the theater, and they loved it.
“We’re going to the stadium. I get to see where Daddy works!” He chirped happily as he tried to squirm from her grasp. “Can I go, Mama?”
“Of course, baby boy.” She planted one last wet kiss on his cheek, which he promptly wiped off and giggled madly as he did.
“Yuck, Mama. That was juicy.” His giggles made her heart sing.
“I know! That’s why I did it.” She hugged him close. “I love you, Emmitt, my sweet baby boy.” She stood up and took his hand, and together, they walked into the house. “Do you have homework, sweetheart?”
“No, Mama. Can I play in the sandbox?”
She nodded her head. “Just stay away from the pool, okay? I’ll be out in a few minutes.” The front door opened and Trixie walked through it. “Hey, Trix. Did you get your errands finished?”
“Yep. By the way, there is a storm coming. The sky is black off to the east.”
Danae looked out the back door at the sky. “Hmm, that’s odd. The sun is out brightly here.” Elyse and Eamon were doing their homework together, working on a joint project. “Are you kids okay in here with your work?”
Eamon nodded and smiled. “Yes. If I need help, I’ll let you know.” He said it so matter-of-factly and seriously, she chuckled.
“I’ll be outside with your brother,” Danae told them.
She walked out onto the patio, but Emmitt wasn’t outside. “Emm?” she called into the breeze that was starting to pick up. She looked around the yard and stuck her head into the garage. “Emmitt?”
She walked back to the house and peeked her head into the door. “Trix, is Emmitt in here?”
“I haven’t seen him.”
“Emmitt!” Danae called him again, with no answer.
She ran back outside and what she saw took her breath away. Emmitt floated at the edge of the pool. “EMMITT!” she screamed and dove in.
Frantically, she grabbed him and surfaced and dragged him from the water. He wasn’t breathing, and his body was limp. She kneeled on the ground, cradling him, sobbing. Trixie came from the house.
“Did you find—” she began, and her heart sank when she saw Danae, Emmitt’s lifeless body in her arms.
“Trix, call emergency!” Danae sobbed. She laid him on the ground and tried to perform CPR on him, but he didn’t respond.
Trixie dialed emergency, and then she dialed Andy’s cell phone. He was surprised to hear her frantic voice.
“Andy!” she cried. “Come home. Danae needs you now!”
“What’s wrong?” Her tone startled him.
“Just… come home. Please, Andy. Bring Aaron with you. You’ll need him.” She hung up the phone and waited out front for the ambulance.
Andy was shaking when he ran to Aaron’s office. “Aaron! Come with me. Something’s happened at home, and I don’t know what.” He quickly ran the fifty or so feet to Kirby’s office and stuck his head in. “Kirby, Aaron and I are leaving. Something’s happened at home, and Danae needs me.”
Kirby saw the panic on Andy’s face and stood, alarmed. “What’s going on, Andy?”
“I don’t know. Trixie didn’t tell me. But I have to go.” Andy’s hands shook and his voice trembled. He feared something had happened to Danae.
“Let me know, Andy.” And he nodded as he joined Aaron in the hallway.
Aaron drove them back to the Murphy house, and they were greeted by emergency vehicles. Ambulance, deputies, fire department. And when they followed the chaos, Andy was slammed by the awful reality.
When Danae saw him, she ran to him. “Andy!” she sobbed. “My baby!” They both watched in horror as paramedics tried to revive him. But it was too late. Emmitt was already gone.
The deputies’ investigation was quick and his death was deemed an accident. Emmitt had been outside by himself for less than five minutes, something that Danae had done many times before. But a couple of bee stings on his arm gave the investigator the impression the boy had panicked trying to get away from them. Emmitt simply got too close to the pool and fell in. Andy had been teaching him to swim, but the water where he fell was much too deep, and he couldn’t reach the ladder a mere two feet from where he fell.
The lead detective gave Andy the paperwork with the case file number and their preliminary findings. But he kneeled on the ground, not really aware of what was going on around him. “We are very sorry,” he told Andy and Danae as they clung to one another. Emmitt’s body was removed from the property as the investigation wrapped up. Within an hour of the accident, the devastated family was alone, minus one little boy.
Elyse and Eamon had been watching the circus from inside the house, not realizing what had happened. Danae and Andy had the unhappy task of telling them their little brother had died, drowned in the pool where they played with their dad almost every day. It was the most difficult thing either of them had ever done. All four of them were shattered beyond words, their lives forever changed.
“Punkin,” the voice called her. “Danae…”
She looked around. No one called her ‘Punkin’ except her daddy. “Who’s there?”
“It’s me, sweetheart,” he said to her. And she rubbed her eyes. Could it really be him?
“Yes, honey, it’s me. Your mama, Tessa, and Emmitt are here, too.”
She looked beyond where Travis stood and saw her mother and in-laws. Travis and Charlotte looked like they did when she was a child, Emmitt was youthful and slender, and Tessa looked just like she did in the photographs that hung in their bedroom. “Mama? I have to be dreaming this…”
Travis nodded. “You are, honey.” A little boy walked out from behind him. Emmitt. “Punkin, I wanted to let you know that your baby boy is here with us, and he’s safe. We all just adore him.”
“C-can I talk to him a second? I need to tell him something,” she begged Travis. “Please, Daddy.”
Emmitt approached her, just out of reach. “Hi Mama,” he smiled at her. “I miss you.”
“Oh my baby boy, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. Daddy and Lysie, and Eamon and I will always love you. And we miss you already.”
“Pop Pop is teaching me to play football, Mama! But he’s silly and calls it something different. And Memaw reads to me all the time.” He held his arms to her, reaching for her. “Mama, I want you, but I can’t reach you…”
“I’m trying, Emm… I can’t get to you! Emmitt…” she cried out for him. “I’m sorry I failed you, baby boy… I’m so sorry…”
A sob choked her awake and it shook her. Andy wasn’t really sleeping, but it startled him. “Baby? Are you okay?” It was 1:17 am.
“It was so real… Andy, he was right there, but I couldn’t reach him.” Danae sobbed in his arms. “Daddy had him, and Mama and your mom and dad were there, too.” The pain was crushing, and it felt like it might kill her.
“Who was there, honey?” He hugged her tightly to him, weeping into her hair.
“Emmitt. I wanted to tell him I was sorry. It’s my fault, Andy. He’s gone because of me.”
“Oh, sweetie, you can’t do this to yourself. It was an accident, baby.” He rocked her in his arms.
She shook her head violently. “No, I was careless. I left him alone. It should have been me, Andy. I should be gone, not my baby boy. I should be dead…” her voice trailed off in ragged, heartbroken sobs.
“I can’t lose you too, honey. Please, don’t talk like that.” Her pain was eating him alive, and he prayed for just a little respite. “Baby, you have two kids that need their mama desperately. You have to hold it together for them.” He kissed her forehead and wiped her tears away.
“No, Danae, you can’t torture yourself like this. The detective said it was an accident. Bees chased him into the water, baby.” Inside, he was numb, almost not recognizing what had happened. But the cruel reality was there. Emmitt had been gone for less than twelve hours, and the pain was raw, and it was real. Andy didn’t have any answers. He was just as broken as Danae, but she needed him.
Elyse heard them talking and walked into their bedroom, crying. “Daddy, I can’t sleep,” she wept. “I’m too sad to sleep.” He patted the spot on the bed near his knees and she climbed into bed with them.
“Lysie, give Mama kisses. She needs you and Eamon right now. She needs to know how much you two love her.”
Elyse crawled over Andy’s legs and snuggled up next to Danae. “I love you, Mama,” she cried. Danae wrapped her daughter in a hug and covered her face in kisses.
“My sweet little girl,” Danae cried. “I love you so much, Lysie.” Eamon peeked his head inside the door and began to cry.
“Daddy,” he sniffled. “I can’t sleep.”
Andy held his arms open for Eamon and called to him. “Join the club, sport.” He ran to Andy and jumped into his arms. “There’s plenty of room for all of us tonight.”
Danae had Elyse, and Andy had Eamon, and the four of them snuggled and cried together until sleep mercifully took them.
Trixie had stayed the night with Aaron in his spare bedroom, wanting to give her friends space and time. But she promised she would be back that morning so Danae and Andy could make arrangements for Emmitt. Instinctively, she checked on the kids before she went to make coffee, but wasn’t surprised to see them not in their beds. Quietly, she opened the master suite door and peeked inside. The family was all wrapped up together, soundly sleeping. Trixie figured it would be the last time today there would be any peace at all.
Eamon shifted and kicked Andy accidentally, and the sharp pain in his knee was not the awakening he needed. He got up anyway, leaving Danae to snuggle with her babies. He shambled into the kitchen and was greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, Trixie sat at the dining room table staring at the newspaper.
“What’s the good word, Trix?” Andy greeted her. He looked awful and felt worse.
“Oh, hi Andy. I wasn’t expecting you up yet.”
“Eamon kicked my bad knee in his sleep. He has a powerful kick. I’m just glad he didn’t kick higher up if you catch me.” Trixie blushed but nodded.
“That would have been terrible,” she agreed. “The press is about seven deep outside the house this morning. I’m not letting the kids near the front gate today.”
Andy groaned. “Just what Danae needs is press and Paparazzi.” He sat down beside Trixie with a hot cup of coffee. “If I have to, I’ll threaten the whole lot of them with my trusty baseball bat. I’ve never seen a press critter think so much of himself that he’d risk a beatdown with a Louisville Slugger.”
Trixie skimmed the cover story on the front page. “At least they are correctly reporting it was an accident, and that no charges are pending.”
Andy shook his head. “They don’t want to try me on that angle, either. Danae is very fragile right now, and I will protect her with my life. She doesn’t need any garbage from anyone, especially the press.”
Trixie looked at him. “How are you holding up?” She rubbed his shoulder.
He sighed deeply. “It depends on the moment. I know I have to be strong for Nae. Mostly, I’m just numb. But she had a dream last night that choked me up. She dreamed our parents had Emmitt…” his voice trailed off. “My dad, my mom… her folks.”
She reached for his hand and patted it. “I know it’s going to take a while, but the pain will lessen. It won’t ever go away, but eventually, breathing won’t hurt as bad.”
“Thanks, Trix. This is way worse than the miscarriage, I can tell you that.”
She nodded. “What you and Nae are enduring right now is a pain no parent should ever feel. And I’m so sorry.” Trixie blinked back tears and got up from the table. “I need more caffeine for this nonsense today, and my only job is to take care of Lysie and Eamon.” But Trixie knew there would be nothing ordinary about this day. “Do you want me to call them in sick, or do you want the honor?”
Andy sighed. Chances were the administration already knew, but it was a formality. “I’ll call. I will do anything so Danae doesn’t have to.” He took his phone from his pocket and dialed the school.
“This is Andy Murphy—” he began when the school secretary cut him off.
“Oh, Mr. Murphy, we are so sorry.” He heard her voice crack with emotion.
“Thank you. Eamon and Lysie won’t be in until further notice. I’m expecting a week or more. Please have their teachers forward their assignments to my stadium email address.”
“I’m pretty sure they’ll be excused from schoolwork, Mr. Murphy. But I’ll let you know if there is any change to that.”
“I appreciate that. Oh, and a quick favor? Please contact me instead of my wife. She is fragile. It’s been a difficult night.”
“I’ll make a note. Again, please extend our condolences to your family.”
Andy wiped tears from his eyes. Yesterday morning, the house was filled with laughter and joy. What a difference a day makes, he thought.
“What time are you headed to the funeral home?” asked Trixie. She poured her third cup of coffee and prepared a new pot.
“Our appointment is at ten. I need to wake Danae, but I want to just let her sleep.”
He walked into the bedroom and smiled weakly. She was resting, Elyse wrapped around one side, and Eamon around the other. He touched her shoulder gently and kissed her cheek. “Baby, it’s time to get up.”
She roused and seeing the kids nearby, she smiled. Danae snuggled Eamon into her arms and he stirred. She just held him as he awakened fully.
“Hi Mama,” he said quietly. “Do we have to go to school today?”
“No, honey, you don’t. Trixie is going to stay with you this morning. Daddy and I have things to do in town.” She kissed his cheek and sighed. “I love you, Eamon Travis. Please don’t ever forget, okay?”
He tried to smile at her. “I won’t forget, Mama.”
She woke Elyse in the same manner, with snuggles and kisses. So far, so good, Andy thought as he watched her with the children. But it was inevitable she would fall apart. The question was when.
At ten o’clock sharp, Andy held the door for his wife as they entered the funeral home in downtown Isla Paradiso. Danae was still holding herself together, though Andy wasn’t sure how long it would last. The director walked to meet them and brought them back to his office.
“First, let me express my condolences,” he told them. “My name is Gorham. Terrance Gorham.” Andy opened his mouth to speak, but Terrance beat him to the punch. “I certainly know your family, Mr. Murphy.” He folded his hands on the desk and looked at them, the silence awkward and uncomfortable. It had been a long time since he had to arrange a child’s funeral, and this one was high profile. Every detail needed to be perfect.
“So,” Andy began, “you have our son Emmitt?” Danae reached for his hand, and he felt her tremble.
“Yes, so here’s what will happen. The medical examiner will perform an autopsy, which is mandatory for this type of accident, and we’ll have him back in a day or two. When are you thinking about having the ceremony?”
“Well, as soon as possible. We have two surviving children who need some closure, not to mention family and close friends. Today is Friday, so when is the earliest we can plan this?” Andy was calm on the outside but in reality, he wanted to hide in a closet and cry. Danae needed him to be strong and collected. She had barely spoken since they left the house.
“I think the earliest would be Tuesday next week, Mr. Murphy. Town ordinance prohibits open casket viewing of a minor child, so that solves one issue. Do you wish to have a service at the chapel? Or just a visitation with a graveside service? The details are up to you.”
Andy hadn’t discussed anything with Danae before their appointment, so he whispered in her ear. “Baby, do you have a preference for this? Or do you want me to just take care of it?”
He saw tears well in her eyes and she swallowed hard, trying to consume the lump of emotion that resided in her throat. “Just take care of it,” she whispered back. “I trust you.” She reached for a tissue from the box that sat on Terrance’s desk and dabbed her eyes.
“Let’s do a visitation at the chapel, and then the graveside service,” Andy confirmed. He picked out everything, from flowers to the headstone. Danae sat silently next to him, weeping. Every once in awhile, he would kiss her forehead and squeeze her hand. He was so proud of her for holding herself together because he knew how heart-wrenchingly difficult it was for her.
Ninety minutes later, Andy stood and shook Terrance’s hand and thanked him, wrapped an arm around Danae and together they left the funeral home. Every detail had been planned. It was the first time he had truly done anything like it.
He held the car door for Danae, and she got inside. Any minute now, he thought. Andy got into the seat next to hers and leaned to his right to kiss her. “Are you okay, my sweet?”
She shook her head and sighed, a tear rolled down her cheek as she buckled her seatbelt.
“No, I’m not okay, but I need to be strong for those babies. They need me, and I need them.”
“It’s okay to cry, honey. You don’t have to be strong for me. I know you’re hurting, because I am, too.” He kissed her hand tenderly.
“Andy, tell me that wasn’t real in there. Tell me our sweet little miracle baby is home safe, and this is only a nightmare. Please, tell me.” Her bottom lip quivered, the grief gnawed at her soul.
“I want so badly to tell you that, my beautiful princess.” A sob built up in his chest, and it escaped his body loudly, “He’s gone, baby,” Andy cried shamelessly.
“No… no…” she wept and clung to him. “He can’t be gone, Andy. It’s not fair…”
They sat in the parking lot of the funeral home for an hour and sobbed in each others’ arms.
Four Days Later…
Danae stood in front of the mirror in their bathroom fussing with her hair. She had a small hat with a flower and black veil that would cover her face, and her usual hairstyle didn’t work with it. She stood back and admired the finished product. “Does this look okay, my Andy?”
“You look beautiful,” he told her. He finished tying his tie and straightened out his slacks. “I think I’m ready. I’ll check on Eamon.”
She continued to pin her hair until she was satisfied. “I guess this will have to do,” she said, though Andy had already left the room. She smoothed the fabric of her dress beneath her hands. It was nothing fancy, but she hated this style in black. It looked frumpy, she told Andy when they bought it. But it was appropriate for the occasion. She sincerely hoped she would never have to wear it again.
Andy helped Eamon with his tie and fastened a flower to his lapel. “You look so grown up, sport,” he complimented his son. Andy ran a comb through Eamon’s short hair. “What a handsome little man you are.”
“Thanks, Daddy. I’m ready.” Together, father and son walked to the living room. Trixie was a nervous wreck, flitting about the house doing nothing of importance. But when she saw Eamon, she smiled.
“You’re looking good, twerp,” she said with a smile. “You need a hug?”
Eamon nodded and walked to her. She kissed his cheek, being careful not to leave a lip print on his skin. “I love you, Trixie,” he said softly.
She rocked him in her arms and hugged him tightly. “Ooh, I love you too, twerp.”
Danae was helping Elyse with her hair. She looked adorable in a jumper with a white blouse under it. Danae couldn’t believe how grown she was and hoped that this tragedy wouldn’t age her too quickly. “Are you doing okay, sweet pea?” she asked Elyse.
She shook her head, but said, “Yeah, I’m okay Mama. For now.”
Danae hugged her daughter. “I’m so proud of you, Lysie. You’re acting so grown up and being such a good big sister to Eamon.” She kissed Elyse’s cheek. “I love you Elyse Charlotte.”
Elyse hugged her mother tightly. “I love you, Mama. I’m ready.” Danae took her hand and they walked into the living room together.
They were going to meet Aaron at the chapel, along with Darcey and Clint and their closest friends. Neither Noel nor Shan wanted to go to the funeral, so Darcey sent them to school for the day, figuring the distraction might be welcomed.
Andy took Danae’s hand as they climbed the steps that led to the chapel’s front door, Elyse and Eamon right behind them. He held the door and they let the kids walk in first, then Danae and Andy brought up the rear. The last time they were in the chapel it was a happy occasion, and it was less than four months earlier. It all still seemed so unreal to Danae. But the moment of reckoning was upon all four of them.
In the front of the chapel sat a dark wood coffin. On top was Emmitt’s most recent photo and two floral arrangements. The Murphys were the first ones there, and when Andy opened the door to the sanctuary, everything got very real, very quickly. He took a deep breath and held his hand for Danae, and together they walked down to the front of the room.
Five paces from the coffin, Danae collapsed on the floor of the sanctuary, completely overwhelmed.
Pain engulfed her as the reality of the situation hit her and she sobbed, her face contorted in emotional agony. Andy kneeled down and wrapped himself around her, comforting her the best he could.
“I’m sorry, Emm, my baby boy. I’m so sorry,” she sobbed.
Andy kissed her face repeatedly. “Baby, this wasn’t your fault. Please don’t blame yourself anymore.”
Elyse and Eamon approached the casket together, hand in hand. She began to cry, and Eamon hugged her. “Don’t cry, Lysie,” he whispered into her ear. “I love you…”
“I love you, Eamon,” she replied. He held tightly to her, and they both wept. And when Danae saw her children in their tender embrace, she cried harder. This was something they shouldn’t have to endure, and she hated it for them.
Darcey and Clint were the first ones to the visitation, and her heart broke when she saw Danae crumpled in a heap on the floor. She walked to her sister and placed a hand on her shoulder. Danae looked up to see her, and she wanted to get up, so Andy helped her.
“Oh Nae,” Darcey said, weeping. “We’re just devastated for you guys.” She took her sister into a hug. “Emmitt was such a little love, every time we watched him, he just laughed all the time.”
“I still can’t believe it, Darce. One minute he’s alive and excited about a field trip, and the next…” she couldn’t finish the sentence. “It was my fault…”
“I saw the reports, Nae. It was accidental. Don’t you blame yourself for this, sweetie.” Darcey kissed her cheek. Clint joined her as she approached the casket.
It was all a little too surreal for her, too. He held her as she cried, wishing she had a magic wand that would bring him back and into her sister’s loving arms.
Aaron was next into the chapel with Trixie on his arm. Danae was sitting down, still shaky with emotion. Andy approached them. “How is she?” Aaron asked.
“Not good today,” he replied. “You missed the breakdown. I’m sure she isn’t through, either. This is just too horrible to comprehend.”
“How are you holding up, buddy?” Aaron asked.
“I know I have to hold it together for Danae. But inside, I feel like a part of me died with him. I can’t wait until the ceremony is over and our poor baby boy to be laid to rest. Then there won’t be any more acting, no more pretending that we’re okay. Because Aaron, we are broken.” Andy wiped a tear from his cheek.
“How are the kids?”
“Lysie has been a trooper, watching out for Eamon constantly. Neither one of them wants to go back into the pool. Eamon is afraid of the water now, and I suspect Lysie might be, too. And to be honest, I might have it filled in and just put a playground in for the kids instead. I should have done that years ago…” His thoughts drifted off. The kids loved the pool. It was the highlight of their day and precious bonding time with him.
“Well, I understand the fear. But don’t do anything rash. You and the kids might change your minds on it.”
“How can I swim there again, Aaron? My baby died in that pool. Danae doesn’t even want to stay in the house. Too many memories of Emmitt there for her.”
Aaron hugged his best friend. “I’m so sorry Andy. I wish I knew how to make it better. You don’t deserve this agony.” Trixie hugged Andy, and together, she and Aaron approached the casket. Trixie adored the Murphy children, and Emmitt’s sudden, tragic death was affecting her, too. Aaron held her tightly as she wept.
Kirby and Rae, Avery and Dina and Wyatt and Raisa all showed up to support their friends. Rae Kemp adored Danae and Andy’s kids, and she was devastated by the tragedy. For almost the entire time the Kemps knew Danae and Andy, Emmitt was a part of the family. Raisa wept bitterly and clung to Wyatt as they both mourned the loss. Dina sat with Danae and hugged her.
At the end of the two-hour visitation, the Murphy family approached the casket together as a family.
Danae laid her hand on the wood box and gazed at Emmitt’s photograph. Tears ran down her face as she traced the carving on the side of the casket with her fingers.
“Andy, I don’t feel so…” she said before she passed out cold. Andy picked her up and carried her to the car, the children still standing at the casket.
“Kids, come on. We need to go,” he called to them. They both ran to catch up and followed him closely. One half of the day was done. The hardest part remained.
By the time they arrived at the cemetery, Danae was feeling a little better. Andy was impressed that the children were on their best behavior, but he figured they were too upset to misbehave. As they pulled up at the cemetery, Danae sighed deeply, trying to stay strong for her little ones.
“It’s almost over, baby,” Andy said softly, reaching to caress her cheek. “We can grieve at our own pace after this is done.” He hugged her and kissed her tenderly. “I love you, Danae.”
“You and those babies are the only thing making me want to hang on right now. Please don’t leave my side, Andy. I need you so desperately.” She sniffled and dabbed her eyes with a tissue. “I’m not ready for this.”
“None of us are ready, honey. We just have to say goodbye today. We can come back here as often as you want.”
“I’m sorry I got sick at the chapel. I should be doing better than this.”
He lifted her face to his and looked into her eyes. “Nae, no one is expecting you to be at your best today. We have suffered a tremendous loss, and everyone understands that. They feel it with us. They love you, honey. They love all of us, and that is why they are here today. Our friends, not just mine.”
She forced a smile and kissed him. “I love you, Andy. If you’re nearby, I will be okay.”
He smiled and caressed her cheek again. “That’s my girl.”
The service would begin as soon as the casket was brought and set up under the canopy. There were chairs set up on either side, and the flowers were brought from the chapel and set up around the gravesite.
A larger photograph of Emmitt was displayed instead of the small portrait that sat in the chapel. Aaron, Wyatt, Kirby, and Avery carried the casket from the hearse as the women followed the family. Everyone was in attendance, and the pastor started with some words of encouragement for the family.
Eamon sat on Darcey’s lap, and Elyse stood with Trixie and Aaron. Andy held tightly onto Danae as she cried.
He had ordered two red roses, one for Elyse and one for Eamon, for them to lay on Emmitt’s casket. Elyse approached it first and she gently placed the flower on the casket. With tears in her eyes, she whispered, “I love you, Emmitt.” She walked back to Trixie and got a hug.
“You’re a good kid, Lysie,” Trixie said to her. “I love you.” Elyse just sniffled and wrapped her arms around Trixie’s waist.
Eamon got up from Darcey’s lap, took his rose and placed it on the casket. “I miss you,” he said and tried hard not to cry. Darcey picked him up and sat him in her lap, snuggled up with him and kissed his head.
“It’s okay to cry, Eamon,” she whispered into his ear. He wrapped himself around his aunt Darcey and cried in her arms.
The rest of the service was short. Emotions ran high as the pastor blessed the grieving parents. And without much other ceremony, it was over. Danae and Andy watched as Emmitt’s body was laid to rest, and she turned around in his arms, buried her face into his chest and sobbed. One by one, their friends comforted her and Andy, giving them hugs and offers of help whenever they needed it. And one by one, everyone left the cemetery, leaving the family there. Only Aaron and Trixie remained with them.
“Andy, are you okay to drive home, bud?” Aaron asked him. Andy shook his head.
“I’m truly not,” he replied. “I hate to ask—”
“Hey, it’s why I’m here.” He held out his hand for Andy’s keys.
“Kids, Nae, Aaron is going to take us home.” Trixie would drive Aaron’s car and follow them. “Are you ready, my sweet?”
Danae was sitting graveside just looking at the hole in the ground. Andy touched her shoulder, and she reached for his hand. “I think so,” she said. She took his hand and he helped her up, the four of them walked to Andy’s car for the last time that day. Danae sat in the back with the kids, Andy rode shotgun up in front while Aaron drove the short distance back to the Murphy home, Trixie right behind them.
Andy held to Danae as they walked to the house together, Eamon and Elyse right behind them. “Are you staying here tonight, Trix?” Aaron asked her.
She nodded. “I need to be here for them. Danae will need help with the kids for a while.”
Aaron gave her a hug and a kiss. “If you need me, Beanie, you know where I am. I love you.”
“I love you too, Coach,” she said. “Pray for them, Aaron. I’m worried about Danae.”
“We all are, my heart,” Aaron answered. “I’ll drop by tomorrow after work.” Aaron gave Trixie one last hug and a tender kiss. “Remember, I’m five minutes away if you guys need me.”
She nodded her head and walked into the house.
After the kids were in bed, Danae sat in the backyard, the first time she had been out since the accident. Andy walked to her, their customary glasses of wine in his hands. He handed her one and took the lounge chair beside hers.
“Do you think he can see us, babe?” she asked out of the blue.
“Emmitt. There hasn’t been a minute today that I haven’t missed him. That I haven’t thought of him. Andy, he should be here, sleeping in the bottom bunk of Eamon’s bed. Our family doesn’t feel whole anymore.” She sniffled and wiped tears away.
“I haven’t thought of much else today, my love. But you know, baby, I think of the dream you had the night he died. And in some ways, it brings me comfort.”
“How so?” she asked, sipping her glass of wine.
“Your dad said Emmitt was there with them, and he’s safe. My dad and mom were with him, too. She finally got to meet one of her grandkids, in the dream anyway.” He sighed and reached for her hand to hold. “Do you think they really are together, Nae? I mean, wherever they are.”
“I think so,” she sniffled. “If they are, Emmitt will keep them smiling. He was very good at that.”
“That he was, baby. That he was.” He took her hand and squeezed it gently.
“Andy, I’m exhausted, and this wine just doesn’t taste very good tonight.”
“I’m tired too, honey. Let’s go snuggle in bed and talk until we fall asleep,” he suggested.
“Do you mind if we get the kids and put them in our bed tonight? It will make me feel better to know they’re close.”
Andy smiled. Whatever made her happy, he was willing to do. “I’ll get Eamon.” He kissed her tenderly. “Please never forget, Danae, how much we all love you. We’re going to get through this if we stick together as a family. I promise you that.”
She snuggled into his embrace. “I love you, Andy, and I need you now more than ever. You and our babies are my lifeline.”
“Let’s go get them and snuggle together,” Andy said as he walked to Eamon’s room and Danae to Elyse’s room. Neither of the kids had fallen asleep. It was inevitable they would both end up in bed with Danae and Andy by morning anyway. The four of them snuggled and cried together, and by the time sleep finally overtook them, they had made it through the worst day of their lives.
Up Next: Chapter Thirty-Two, Generation Five
Poses By Bee
- First Day of School
- Comfort Poses
- Body Language
- Meeting At The Cafe
- Couples Poses
- I’m Dizzy
- Family Photo 1-14, and 19-21
- Child’s Play 3
- Emotion Poses
- Wedding Poses
- Meeting At The Park
Zhippidy’s Custom Poses
Forever Hailey – Welcome Home
Heaven – Pomp and Circumstance
Sea – Warm Hugs
Eun – Funeral Poses
Clover – Best Friends Forever
Bangsain – Funeral Mourning Time
Skylar Arden – Zutara 2 – Broken
Kiddo’s Dreams – Wedding Part 2
Around The Sims 3
The Sims Resource
- Rover Office Set
- File Folder Holder
- Sara Office Mixed Books
- Danae & Darcey’s Necklaces
- Elyse & Eamon’s Rose
- Danae’s Hair – Peggy July ‘12 Special Gift retexture
Mod The Sims
The Sims 3 Store
A huge thank you to every artist that made this chapter come alive for me and helped to make my screenshots a huge part of it. I know there are items I have left out, but it’s getting almost as long as my story to credit everyone! So my blanket disclaimer: I have produced none (except Emmitt’s portraits) of the CC used in this chapter. If someone has gone uncredited, it was not intentional, and I am truly sorry! I take no credit for any CC used, except where noted.