“I am so sorry Mrs. Gonzalez, but the injuries your husband suffered were to severe and despite our best efforts he died during surgery at five thirty-two this morning. I am very sorry for your loss,” Doctor Clarke Blake sympathetically told her patient’s wife.
“B…but it’s his birthday. He…he ju…just turned twenty-eight; we…we got married at eighteen, we..we were high school sweethearts and our anniversary was last week. H…how ca…can he be go…gone when he’s on…only twenty-eight,” Mrs. Gonzalez asked.
Sitting down next to Mrs. Gonzalez, Clarke comfortingly placed her hand atop the crying woman’s and offered her a sad smile.
“I know, this is hard, Mrs. Gonzalez; I’ve been in your shoes. Sometimes, there are no explanations for why things happen. Your husband did nothing wrong; he was obeying a traffic signal that allowed him to cross the street when a drunk and reckless driver ignored the traffic light and hit your husband. It’s not fair, but, your husband saved the life of a four year old little girl and her mother when he saw the car coming and threw the mother and daughter out of the car’s path. Mrs. Gonzalez, your husband died a hero and I only wish we had been able to be his heroes.”
“Y…you lost someone too? May…may I ask who?”
“I lost my wife and son,” Clarke said as she got choked up thinking about her wife and son who were killed seven months earlier in a tragic fire.
“Yo…you do understand then,” Mrs. Gonzalez said clearly not having expected her husband’s surgeon to have actually understood how she felt.
“I do, and I am so very sorry that you now have to know what it feels like to lose your spouse at a young age,” Clarke said as she comfortingly squeezed the woman’s hand.
“Th…thank you. C…can I see him, please,” Mrs. Gonzalez asked.
“Yes. If you’ll follow me, I can take you to him,” Clarke said before leading Mrs. Gonzalez to the room where she could say her goodbyes to her husband of ten years.
An hour later, Clarke was found to be crying in her office, clinging to a picture of her, her wife and their son from only a few days before her wife and son died.
“Clarke? Sweetheart, its Mom, can I come in?”
After not receiving a reply but being able to hear her daughter’s sobs, Clarke’s mother entered the office and immediately went to her daughter who was on the floor with the picture clutched against her chest.
“Clarke, sweetie, it’s okay, it’s all going to be okay,” her mother soothed her as she got onto the floor and hugged her daughter close.
“N…nothing wi…will ever be o…ok…okay again, not wi…without them,” Clarke sobbed into her mother’s chest.
“Clarke, what brought all of this up?”
“I…I lost a patient,” Clarke said before taking a deep breath, wiping her tears and composing herself. “It was his birthday, and he had been married to his wife since they were eighteen; they were high school sweethearts, just like…just like…”
“Just like you were,” her mother said as she found herself looking at the picture now too.
“Yeah…I miss them, Mom. She’s the love of my life and he’s my baby boy and now they’re gone…they’re both gone and I still feel like I’m only a shell of myself. How am I supposed to live the rest of my life without them?”
“You live every day for them; you make sure to live the best life you can because that is what they would want for you.”
“I just miss them so much. It’s been seven months and every morning when I wake up I say good morning to her, forgetting for a minute that when I open my eyes she won’t be lying cuddled into me. I thought I was getting better, slowly, but then I lost my patient and met his wife and our stories are so similar and it brought everything back. Today would have been her twenty-eighth birthday too…”
“And it’s the anniversary of when you met, I remember. I could never forget that day. You were twelve and had only just come to live with your dad, siblings and I when her family moved into the house next door on her birthday no less. Your sister had been following you around like a puppy, God she was so happy when we told her you were coming to live with us, but you liked your space from her sometimes so you decided to ask our new neighbor if she wanted to hangout so you could get a break from your sister. You ended up spending the entire day with her and you even destroyed our kitchen just to make her a birthday cake,” Clarke’s mother said as she smiled fondly remembering that day. “Then that night when you came home after walking her back to her house, your sister was still holed up in her room and pouting because you chose the new neighbor over her, but you looked like a lovesick puppy as you fell against the door and declared that you were in love and were going to marry that girl one day. Your dad and I thought it was just a school girl crush but you stayed together, got married and had a beautiful baby boy. I know today especially is hard for you, but she’d want you to be happy, Clarke, and so would your son. Why don’t you come over for dinner tonight?”
“I don’t know, Mom. It’s…it’s hard to see her right now. I know it’s not her fault but seeing my baby sister pregnant and planning her wedding, it just…it just…,” Clarke began before breaking down into tears again.
“It reminds you of what you lost because you were planning your wedding, or at the wedding we all were able to attend, while the love of your life was pregnant with your child, I know. But don’t worry, they won’t be there tonight. They’re house hunting today and I’ll make sure they don’t return until after you’ve gone home, unless you want to spend the night of course.”
“No, I…I…want to stay at my house. I know they never saw it, Mom, but I had started building it before the fire as a surprise and it’s the dream house we designed together so I want to sleep there tonight. I know it sounds weird but we planned that house together, right down to the last detail, so I feel closer to them when I’m there.”
“I understand, Clarke. Will you at least come for dinner then? It’ll just be us and your dad, I promise.”
“Okay, I can do that,” Clarke said softly, giving in to her mother’s will, as thoughts of her late wife and son were still on her mind.
“Good. Now, go home and Dad and I will expect you at six o’clock sharp, got it,” her mother asked with an arched brow that made it clear there was no room for discussion.
Sighing loudly, Clarke looked at her mother and opened her mouth to begin to speak when her hospital issued iPhone began blaring the ringtone that indicated she was be being paged. Looking at her phone, Clarke’s eyes instantly grew wide.
“What is it, honey,” her mother asked worriedly.
“There’s been a mass casualty situation. The L train has derailed where the line passes over Tower Drive. All but two train cars have plummeted onto Tower Drive and the two that haven’t plummeted are hanging down from the tracks. Vehicles traveling along Tower Drive have been completely crushed under the train cars. They’re asking for the Surgical Response Team to respond,” Clarke explained before taking a nervous breath. “I know you want me to go home, Mom, but I’ve got to go. SRT is my team, and I may not have been able to save my wife and son, but maybe I can save someone else’s. I’ll try my best to be there for dinner. I love you, Mom,” Clarke said before placing a kiss to her mother’s cheek and setting the picture back on her desk before rushing from her office to meet with her team and get to the crash site.
“I love you too,” her mother called after her, but Clarke was already gone, running towards where her team was to meet in the event they needed to respond to a scene.
A couple of minutes after Clarke left her office, her mother was still there looking at all the pictures of her daughter, daughter-in-law and grandson. She missed her grandson and daughter-in-law every day and couldn’t imagine how she would go on if she lost her husband or any of her children. Within seconds, she found herself lost in her thoughts. She was so lost in her thoughts in fact, that she didn’t even notice Clarke’s office door open and a figure enter the room.
“Aurora, where’s Clarke? I just heard about her patient and I know today of all days she’s going to feel that loss more than she would any other day.”
“Oh! Jake, sweetheart you startled me, I didn’t hear you come in,” Aurora said as she allowed herself to wrapped up in her husband’s embrace.
“You seemed pretty lost in your thoughts, love. Were you able to talk to our girl,” Jake asked as he placed a kiss to his wife’s forehead.
“I was. Jake, she was on the floor sobbing while she clutched that picture of the three of them together to her chest. It was her patient’s birthday and he and his wife were high school sweethearts who got married at eighteen, sound familiar?”
“Fuck and on today of all days. No wonder you found her in tears. Where is she now? I’m sure you comforted her but I want to see her for myself.”
“I tried to send her home. I know, I know, I’m not her boss but I thought she needed it but then the SRT got called to a scene. She’s coming over for dinner though, I just need to call Octavia and ask her and Lincoln to be elsewhere. I may have lied and told Clarke they had other plans; it’s just too hard for her to be around them right now,” Aurora said a little sheepishly.
“I know it’s hard for her to be around Octavia and Lincoln but Octavia called me this morning asking if we could do a family dinner tonight. She feels like Clarke is avoiding her because they haven’t spoken since she and Lincoln told Clarke about the pregnancy and she mentioned that Bellamy wanted to come too and he wanted to bring his new boyfriend. I thought it was a good idea because I thought Clarke would want to be with her family today of all days and it’s not like her egg donor or older sister are going to reach out to her,” Jake scoffed.
“Jake, I know you and Octavia mean well but Clarke only agreed to come if it’s just us and her. Please call them and cancel.”
“Okay, but I do want us to have a proper family dinner sometime, it’s been too long.”
“Jake, we will never have a proper family again and it’s going to be a long time before Clarke is able to be around her sister without feeling like she’s being stabbed through the heart. Octavia has everything Clarke had until seven months ago. Just, be patient, sweetheart,” Aurora told her husband gently.
“Okay, love, you do know best,” he said with a loving twinkle in his eyes.
“About time you admitted that,” Aurora said with a playful smile.
“Mmhmm, not to change topics but do I need to call someone in to replace Clarke on the SRT call?”
“No. I know you’re the Chief of Surgery, Jake, so you have to ask that but as the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, I am telling you that your Chief of Trauma Surgery is fit to lead her team on this call. She needs this, Jake. She said she couldn’t save her wife and son but maybe she could save someone else’s. We’ll check in on her tonight, as long as she is able to still come tonight, and we both know Meredith, Lexie, Alex and Murphy will keep an eye on her, Meredith especially; she knows the pain Clarke is feeling better than anyone.”
“I know, but, I’m not just her boss, I’m her father and I worry, today of all days.”
“I know you do honey, but our daughter is strong and she will be okay, eventually.”
“Clarke’s lucky to have you, Aurora. I will never be able to thank you enough for giving me Octavia, allowing me to be a father to Bellamy and for loving Clarke like she was your own flesh and blood from the day we found out she was coming to live with us; I only wish her sister would have come with her.”
“Jake, I have been telling you this for years, you never have to thank me for loving Clarke. The happiest days of my life are the day Bellamy was born, the day Octavia was born, the day you adopted Bellamy, the day Clarke came to live with us and the day Abby’s parental rights were officially terminated and I was able to adopt Clarke. As for Raven, I can only hope that one day she seeks us out. I know Clarke misses her and Octavia wants to meet the sister she’s only ever seen photos of. But, until that day comes, we can’t focus on the past or how Abby was able to convince Raven to stay with her or how she managed to win custody in the first place when you split, we have to focus on the now and right now our daughter needs her parents tonight.”
“You’re right. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I love you Aurora,” Jake said as he kissed his wife sweetly.
“I love you too. Now come on, we both have jobs to do just like Clarke is doing hers right now.”
“Okay. I hope being at the scene doesn’t make things worse for Clarke though.”
“Me too, but I have faith in our girl. If anyone can limit the number of deaths at that scene, it’s our little girl.”
“Yeah, she gets that from her Mom,” Jake said cheekily but seriously.
“No, she gets that from Lexa. Her drive to command death and laugh in its face comes from Lexa. They were unstoppable together, especially when they were at the same scene,” Aurora said as she grew emotional thinking about her daughter-in-law. “I miss them, Jake; I miss Lexa and Aden so much,” she said as a few tears began to fall.
“Me too, love, me too,” Jake said as he and his wife both shed tears thinking about their beloved daughter-in-law and grandson they lost to a fire, the very thing Lexa had been trained to combat as a firefighter.