Since I Lost You by LaraMee

Main Character: Chris

Warnings: Deals with the death of a child. High angst alert.

Notes: This is a songfic, based on the song “Since I Lost You” – words by Phil Collins. I claim no rights to this material.

Webmaster Note: This story was previously hosted at another website and was moved to blackraptor in July 2012.

It seems in a moment, your whole world can shatter
Like morning dreams they just disappear
Like dust in your hand falling to the floor
How can life ever be the same.

He walked with heavy steps through the dried fall grass, moving toward his destination reluctantly. He should have visited a week earlier, and guilt weighed heavy on his heart. The fact that he had been half way across the country, delivering testimony before a federal grand jury made little difference to him. he hadn’t missed visiting on that date in five years, and couldn’t bring himself to seek forgiveness for not being on time this year.

Reaching his destination, he eased tiredly to the ground, the recent sleepless nights causing a bone-deep ache throughout his body. Leaning wearily against the cool stone, he sighed, letting his mind wander as he watched the autumn leaves dance across the broad lawn before him. The golds and reds caught the sunshine and they shone with a mocking beauty.

Scrubbing his hand across tired eyes and scraping over a two day growth of beard, he studied the inscription that condensed his agony into a few words. With a trembling voice he whispered hoarsely, “Hi, Adam.”

'Cause my heart is broken in pieces
Yes my heart is broken in pieces
Since you’ve been gone.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get here last week.” He sighed, his words sounding as hollow as his heart felt.

Shifting slightly, he looked out across the peaceful cemetery, the other markers blending and fading from view as his minds eye presented him with the view he prayed for every night. He watched as Adam stood before him, smiling and whole once more. He reached out to touch his son, his smile fading as he realized what he was doing. Letting his hand drop, he moaned softly as a single tear escaped his pain-filled eyes.

It’s all too easy to take so much for granted
Oh but it’s so hard to find the words to say
Like a castle in the sand the water takes away
But how can life ever be the same

“I miss you, little man,” he called to the vision. “I can’t tell you how much… I don’t have the words… I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this past week… had nothing but time on my hands… I was remembering that… that last time we went riding. You looked so little up there on Pony’s back. Your mom was about to skin me alive for letting you ride alone. But me and you… we knew you were ready, didn’t we buddy?”

He stopped, taking a deep breath as the pain of loss threatened to overwhelm him. Blinking back the flood of tears, he folded his arms across his chest, hugging himself against the chill that was more from within than without.

“I didn’t always know the right thing though, that’s for sure. You asked me to let you spend the weekend with your friend, Charlie. But I said no… said you had to go to Uncle Buck’s with me and your mom… that you were too young for overnights… oh, God!” His voice broke and a single, heart-wrenching sob tore from his soul.

“If I had only known, baby boy. If I’d let you stay at Charlie’s, you’d… you’d still be here.”

'Cause my heart is broken in pieces
Yes my heart is broken in pieces
Since I’ve lost you.

The tears continued, the soft sounds of a father’s grief broke the silence for several minutes. Finally he quieted, leaning back against the marble headstone. He sat propped against the single empty heart that would one day bear his name, and tenderly traced the letters that formed his son’s. Then, taking a deep breath, he straightened, running his sleeve across his face to dry the last tears.

Oh now you’ll never see
Oh you’ll never know
All the things I planned for you
Things for you and me.

“I wasn’t sure what to get you… I wanted to make it special, especially since… since I missed your birthday last week. I wandered around the toy store for about two hours, looking for just the right thing. I kept remembering the times I took you there. You’d get so excited, I expected to see you bounce all the way to the ceiling. You’d run all the way to the end of the aisle, laughing when I’d chase after you. You had to check over everything it seemed like. If I could have those times back, I wouldn’t hurry you so we could leave. We’d spend the whole day in there… looking… looking over every toy in the place.”

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the meticulously wrapped gift box and set it carefully on the grass before the pale gray stone. With a tremulous smile, he whispered, “Happy birthday, Adam. I remembered you wanted one… the last time… last time we were in the store. I’m sorry it’s late.”

Held your hand so tightly
That I couldn’t let it go
Now how can life ever be the same.

Chris looked up, into the smiling face that he knew wasn’t really there. He reached out, not quite touching the tiny hand that reached out to him. Once more he felt his heart break, and wondered for a moment how many times a heart could shatter before there was no hope of repairing it. And once more he prayed to be allowed to actually touch his child. And knew that, once more, his prayer wouldn’t be answered.

'Cause my heart is broken in pieces
Yes my heart is broken in pieces
Since you’ve been gone.

Wearily he pushed himself to his feet, looking down at the spot where his child rested. For eternity. Running his hand gently across the top of the headstone, he turned once more to search for his son. Larabee sighed in disappointment to find the smiling face had disappeared from sight.

'Cause my heart is broken in pieces
Yes my heart is broken in pieces
Since I’ve lost you.

“Happy birthday,” he repeated as he began the long walk back to his truck. His shoulders slumped, head down, steps slow and plodding, he moved once more across the lawn, the soft crunch of his footfall the only sound.

'Cause my heart is broken in pieces
Yes my heart is broken in pieces
Since you’ve been gone.

Reaching his truck, Chris turned once more, looking toward the wide marble headstone adorned with a trio of hearts. The setting sun caught the bright colors of the racing car wrapping paper, the wind tugging at the long strands of the curling ribbon atop the box.

Raising a hand, the blond waved, not caring how absurd it looked. Brushing away a final tear, he managed a smile that slowly reached his eyes.

The End

November 24, 2002