Rehab was hard. But living was harder. Those first few weeks were the hardest she had ever lived. Every breath was something she had to think about. The amount of nights she cried herself into exhaustion, when her body just gave up and succumbed to sleep vastly outnumbered the nights when she stared at the ceiling of her hospital room, counting tiles, waiting for morning. Her heart was healing, but it wasn't fast enough.
Mia knew she wanted to stay. It wouldn't do her family any justice to die. Not now. She had to live for them. She wanted to live for them. She'd let them live on in her. They would stay in her heart and she would flourish. But not yet. Right now she just remembered. And wallowed. God how she wallowed. She knew her mother would be poking her, like she did when Mia was little, light jabs to her side forcing a giggle out of her, but just the thought made her sob anew. Teddy would be pestering her, to go outside and play, to listen to this album he dug out of Dad's collection. And Dad. Her dad would just be sitting beside her, safe in the knowledge that she would get up when she was ready.
And it was that sobering thought that got her up. It was two in the morning. Tears were staining her face. And she got up, got dressed and went outside. She smirked at how proud her mom would be for finally being a rebel and breaking the rules. The hospital didn't even notice she had left. She left.
Mia walked. Not too far, she'd been in a coma for a week, been out of it for two, and she was still not the same as she had been yet. But she could do this. She found a tree, one that had cast all of its leaves on the ground and there, there was where she sat. Teddy would have loved this tree. He loved fall. They all did. Fall was the Hall Season. That's what her dad said.
They spent many hours outside, but it was Teddy who loved it the most. He would gather leaves and just pile them up and up until he had a bed and fall into it and stare up at the sky. A smile on his face.
The tears were falling again. She would miss Teddy's smile. It was infectious and brighter than the sun and god, the world would be dim without it. But she would smile for him.
And she would dance for her mother. Her mother danced all the time. She wasn't even good at it, but she would sway while doing anything, and if anyone walked by her when she had a song in her head they would get caught up in her arms and swung around. Carefree and laughing.
She would read for her father, read everything. Because even though he had left his music for them, she knew that he loved teaching English just as much as his music. He would leave books for her, a post-it note on the first page telling her something. 'This one has a heart like yours.' 'Leaves you thinking of the glory of summer.' 'For when you just need to cry.'
She would live for them. She would heal for them. Because if she gave up now, it wouldn't mean anything. Their life wouldn't have meant anything and that just couldn't be the way the world was made. They had to have meant something. And so she would make her life strong enough to resonate for all of them. They would be with her and she would be with them.
Through everything they would be there. And she would be alright. Even though they had to leave. And she had to stay.