After Aragorn left, Mom was understandably sad. She wanted him to live his life - she just would have preferred a goodbye I think. He called though, it's not like he disappeared into the cosmos, never to be heard from again.
Given the track record with birthdays and the fact the Eowyn was leaving for Bridgeport the next week, Theodin's birthday was almost passed over but knew Mom would never forgive herself if he didn't get a birthday party like everyone else. So I made all the plans - I even called Aragorn and convinced him to come home for the party and to stay for a bit.
I wish I could say that the party was a huge success but it was like a trial of errors. Theodin was in a bad mood about something - come to think of it, he's been in a bad mood about "something" for awhile. Mom fell or got bumped into the pool at least twice because she wasn't really paying attention to how close to the edge she was. And then, as night fell, Grandpa went outside to take the trash out and we heard a shriek from Aunt Annika!
Grandpa Scotty had passed away...
Grandma was heartbroken of course but a calmness seemed to pass over her after awhile. She told me later that she felt him touch her. She was sure he'd whispered in her ear sweet reassurances that they would never really be apart.
Eowyn's departure for Bridgeport was delayed for a week for the services but soon she and everyone else left the house. It felt empty compared to normal without Aragorn, Eowyn or Grandpa. But we fell into a new sense of normal.
In the two years since, I'd learned a lot from my grandma. She was getting older and slowing down but she refused to stop working in her garden everyday. She said the fresh air was good for her. She liked to tell me stories about when they'd first moved to Barnacle Bay and my mom was just a toddler.
Eowyn had a big symphony for her school at the time of her birthday so she wasn't able to come home but she called and emailed a current picture of her after the small early birthday her friends hosted. She looks like she's up to something...but then I think she's looked that way since we were just kids.
My own birthday was a small affair, by Taffity standards anyway. I didn't want anything grand but I couldn't deny my mom and grandma the chance to make a cake. "It's a tradition" Grandma said, Mom frowned at that - no doubt thinking about Aragorn. I put my arm around her shoulders and smiled. "Bake away. I look forward to it." I said.
I had planned on going away to college after graduation but Grandma's health started failing that summer. She went out into the garden less and I knew that soon she would be joining Grandpa. "Faromir...help me out to the garden please..." she asked me most days. Often we only made it to the porch but I would help her sit in the lounge so she could watch me tend to her plants. "No no! Not like that!" she'd call out with a great deal of vigor considering her state.
Then, as much as I'd protest, she'd join me in the garden to make sure I was doing things just right. We'd work side by side for twenty or thirty minutes before I had to help her back to the lounge usually but it was enough for her I think.
It was during one of those occasions - those precious thirty minutes a day she spent in the garden - that her time came. As sad as I was to see her go, I knew she was in the one place, doing the one thing she loved more than anything else.
I tried to keep up with her garden after she was gone. She'd planted many exotic plants in her lifetime on this small plot of land and the idea of watching them all wither away in her absence was almost as heartbreaking as her being gone.
Mom and Theodin both seemed to feel the same way because they started helping out in the garden as well. We did end up pruning back a few of the plants to make it more manageable but I felt sure that Grandma would be happy with the little garden legacy she would leave behind on the earth.
As the summer came to a close and the garden was thriving under the hands of Mom and my brother - I knew I could go ahead with my plans to leave home. Mom wasn't thrilled - she hadn't taken any of her kids leaving particularly well - but she'd become more practiced at this particular act and put on a brave face.
I packed up my suitcases and grabbed Aragorn's first book - well second if you consider the book he'd written for Dad - and put it on top of the stack. With one last look around the room, I checked to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. Coming home wouldn't exactly be feasible...
Because I wasn't going off to college after all...
I joined the Sim Corps and was going to spend three years in a remote village in a jungle several thousand miles from home.
Mayhaps I should stop following naked Isaiah around? ;)
Never mind the fact that she's half standing on water...
Paparazzi who witnessed Scotty's passing...I think he was excited for a scoop