The snow was finally melting and the birds had returned from their winter in a warmer climate. The last thing Kiera Colby wanted to hear were the melodic tones of a bird sitting on her window sill. She had hoped the snow would last forever, just as it was the last time she said goodbye to her husband, Brady.
Kiera had only ever loved one man. She and Brady had been married less than a week after she turned eighteen. While they had their ups and downs just as any couple does, their passion didn’t fade over time. When he would walk into the bar where she worked, her eyes looked like ice blue diamonds. Every night, he would stop by just to tell her how much he loved her.
The spark was gone from her eyes, they had turned to an ashy gray after he had been killed by a drunk driver two weeks before Christmas. Every morning, she rolled away from the window, praying that if she didn’t acknowledge the sun, it wouldn’t rise. This morning, she cursed that blasted bird peering in at her. “Singing is for happy times, I’m in no mood for happy.” She sneered at the bird as she threw a pillow at the window to scare him away.
She rolled out of bed and staggered to the bathroom. Once, she had been consumed with keeping her long, chocolate brown hair perfectly styled. Now, it was all she could do to pull it into a ponytail as she ran out the door. She missed having Brady there to help her get their daughter off to school. “Mommy, is today the day daddy comes home?” Ashley would ask every single morning as Kiera combed her hair.
“No honey, daddy isn’t coming home. He’s in heaven now, with Jesus and Grandpa Joe.” Kiera fought back tears as she tried to help her five year old understand that daddy wasn’t on a business trip. “Why did you have to leave us?” she silently pleaded as she dressed Ashley and made breakfast.
It was the first warm day since November and Kiera decided it was time for a break. She called the school and told them Ashley wasn’t feeling well, called the bar and told them she wouldn’t be in. The only person who knew their plans was Kiera’s mom. “Hi mom, it’s me. You won’t have to watch Ashley tonight. I called in and I think we’re going to go for a drive today.” Her mom didn’t answer, but she would understand when she heard the message.
Kiera packed the truck with snacks, drinks, and the picnic blanket Brady bought when they first started dating. She was going to take Ashley to the lake that held so many great memories for their family. While Ashley napped, Kiera was going to spread Brady’s ashes where she knew he’d want to spend eternity.
It was at Lake Como that Brady had proposed to Kiera. Brady had rented a beautiful log cabin for the weekend. When Kiera woke up on Sunday morning, Brady was nowhere to be found. She peered through the trees and saw a silhouette sitting at the end of the pier. The silence was deafening as she sat next to him, her long legs dangling into the water.
“Kiera,” he barely turned to her as he spoke, “Things have been so crazy lately. You’re getting ready to start college, I just got a new job, and we’ve both been trying to figure out how to make this work.” He stared into the distance as if he was trying to see the first sign of the sun rising over the horizon. Kiera was nervous, fearful that he had decided they weren’t going to be able to manage a long distance relationship. “Brady, don’t –“
He turned to her, startled. “Kiera Elizabeth Ashby, I love you with all of my heart. I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, midnight blue box, “There’s only one way that I see us moving on, and that’s together. Will you spend the rest of your life with me?”
Kiera was too shocked to respond. She stared at the quarter carat solitaire, sobbing. Finally, after what seemed like an hour to Brady, she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. “Yes, yes!”
As they pulled into the driveway of the log cabin, Kiera wiped away her tears. Ashley was sound asleep in her booster seat. She rolled down the window, turned off the engine, and silently exited the vehicle. No one would be renting the cabin for another month, so she felt safe leaving Ashley to sleep. When she woke, Kiera planned to show her the cabin and tell her what an amazing, romantic man her father was.
Kiera grabbed the urn and tried to enjoy one last walk down to the lake with her husband. As she removed the lid, she gently tipped the urn allowing the breeze to begin to scatter Brady’s ashes along the shore. “I love you. I will always love you. I’m not saying goodbye to you, just making sure that you’ll always be in a happy place.” She fell to the muddy shoreline, uncontrollably wailing, as the last of the ashes were emptied. “This will forever be our place.”