1.12 Smile, Even Though Your Heart Is Aching

Credits: The poses used in this chapter are the Depression pose pack by Chan, 5 Simple Male Poses by andhisrabbits, Male Pose Pack no. 19 by Blakc, and Don’t Be Sad, Baby by IMHO.

Finally, the end has come to generation one! I would’ve had this to you all a lot sooner, but my game went on the fritz again for a bit, but I managed to resolve all the problems I been having all along this generation. Although, I did lose a lot of my CC because it was corrupted, so the house will look a little different this time. Anywho, this chapter is really long. It has plenty of pictures and a lot of words. I hope you all enjoy this chapter and are excited to begin the next generation! 🙂

Warning: Slight nudity and profanity in this chapter.

..::Declan’s POV::..

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Nothing in life could never prepare me for the things that happened these past couple of years. The expectancy of my children growing up and moving on with their lives were inevitable, but I thought I would at least have a lifetime of happiness. I just want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions, and a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever. But that wasn’t going to happen now. Not without her.

It wasn’t until after she gave birth prematurely when we found out she was sick. So sick that her body couldn’t sustain the baby’s life. His name was going to be Ezra…but that didn’t seem to matter much to me anymore. Nothing mattered to me anymore. All I wanted was for my wife to get better. But instead, all she could do was spend her days laying on the couch and stare off into an oblivion. Depression slowly overtaking her well-being, thus making her even more sick as time continued onward. Nothing I did helped either. It was as if I wasn’t even there.
After a few months of being home after the death of our son, it wasn’t long before Corrina was back at the hospital again.  She was always weak, tired, and dizzy; but the moment she collapsed in the kitchen was the final straw. Now here I was, alone with two devastated teenagers whose perpetual silence from their own grieving pain made the house seem even more unpleasant than the hospital itself.
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I felt hot as I woke up and I placed a hand on my forehead to wipe off little beads of sweat. I tossed the heavy blanket aside and sat up, planting both feet firmly to the ground. Feeling the coolness beneath my feet, I sat in silence; taking in the early morning light as it shone in through the abundance of windows that cascaded alongside our main wall. I always hated that, but Corrina always loved waking up to sunlight, so I forcefully swallowed my ill feelings towards the brilliance of the sun and endured it for her. One of the many sacrifices of being married, I guess.

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After rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I arose from my bed and headed into the bathroom to take a shower. I pulled my clothes off and dropped them to the floor as I turned on the shower and the water sprayed vigorously through the shower head. I decided to take a cold shower to cool off and let the water hit against my chest. The strains of the previous months had taken its toll on me–not only mentally, but physically too–and I could feel my muscles relaxing as I let the water hit the back of my neck and shoulders.

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Walking through the hallway, I could hear the kids in Max’s bedroom. I knocked on the door and waited for the invitation to come inside. “What’s up guys?” I asked sympathetically. Max stood next to his sister as she continued to look through Max’s telescope.

“Nothing much,” said Max nonchalantly with a shrug of his shoulders.

I smiled at my two kids and I walked further into the room. “I need to talk with you two,” I said nervously as I gestured for them to have a seat. Max propped himself up onto his bed and leaned against the wall and Aubrey reluctantly followed suit. knowing where this conversation was going. “You both know that your mother is not getting any better…and it looks like she’s not going to get any better.” I stopped briefly to watch their reactions. Max and Aubrey bowed their heads in silence, allowing me to continue. “We need to start making arrangements. With Max graduating high school in a month, eventually it will just be you and me, Aubrey.” Aubrey frowned, but kept her head bowed. “My job is pretty demanding as you both know, so I won’t be around as much. So I’ve asked my sister to come and stay with us for awhile. At least until you graduate from high school, Aubrey.”

Aubrey looked up at me and quickly nodded before looking back down again. She held onto her leg as she propped it onto the side board of the bed. Max propped his chin on his bended knee and sighed. “How much longer do you think she has, dad?” he asked.

I furrowed my brow and massaged the tension out of my forehead. “Well son…The doctor said it can be any day now. I’m headed over there right now. Do you guys want to come?”

The kids looked at each other blankly, yet almost seem to know what each other were thinking. “We’ll meet you there,” said Max, still looking over at his distressed younger sister.

I nodded, letting them know that I understood and got up from the bench made out of skateboards that Corrina and I bought for Max two Christmases ago. I walked over to the door and turned to look at them. I smiled to the both of them reassuringly and stepped out, closing the door behind me.

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The hospital was only two blocks away from the house, which made it easier for me to get to Corrina in case of an emergency. The hospital was big and the city’s only source to receive medical attention, so if you lived off of the main island, you had to take a boat to get here, and then a taxi. Cape Garner wasn’t really the best at providing transportation, so I made sure to have all of my properties on the main island.

I stepped inside the hospital and headed over to the counter to check in. “I’m here to see my wife,” I stated when I was next in line.
“Wife’s name?” he asked. I told him her name and he entered it into his computer. Then he handed me a name badge and told me which room she was in as if I didn’t already know. I’ve only been coming here for the past three months for crying out loud!

TS3W 2014-06-20 15-42-21-72 TS3W 2014-06-20 15-43-45-26 TS3W 2014-06-20 15-47-23-05 TS3W 2014-06-20 15-49-51-10I went through the double doors and walked down the long white-walled corridors. The smell of plastic hit my nostrils and for a split second, I wanted to vomit. I hated hospitals. I hated the drabness of it as if a sick patient would not be able to appreciate some kind of art and color once in awhile. I hated the solemness of the doctors, even though I understood that they couldn’t show much emotion to keep the patients sane. Most of all, I hated the sheets and robes. Someone once puked, shitted, and died on or in them and yet they expected patients to wear them over and over again. I don’t care how clean they are, it’s the thought of them enduring such agony is what makes it vile.

Immediately upon opening the door to her room, I was met with only the light of the outdoors beaming through her windows. Corrina laid on her bed fast asleep and I tip-toed inside, shutting the door softly before heading towards the chair positioned beside her bed. The beeps and other random noises from the machines filled the silent room and I quietly wished that the television was on to drown it all out.

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I sat silently as I watched her sleep. She seemed peaceful, but I knew she was in pain. I wanted to scoop her into my arms and take her away from here where she could rest without all of the poking or prodding. She needed to be with her family. It’s hopeless. She would die anyway. My mind went back to the day we met back at her mother’s old house in Belle Harbor. She was so young back then and full of hopes and dreams. Now here she was…on her death bed at the age of 40. She was still too young. Why did this have to happen to her? She was born into tragedy and now she would die in tragedy. It wasn’t fair and the very thought angered me the more I thought about it.

..::Corrina’s POV::..

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The preceding months that led me to here were without a shadow of a doubt very bleak and painful. The last thing I would have suspected was to die at an early age, but in spite of everything, there isn’t a whole lot I could truly complain about. I had to admit, after moving to Cape Garner, my life has been considerably pleasant. I was honestly grateful for everything my husband has done for me and taking in Max as his own was the most incredible thing anyone could have ever done for me. He’s been such a great father to him as well as Brook and Aubrey and I couldn’t have asked for more.

So my life was about to end and I was okay with that. I could see the hurt in Declan’s eyes and I understood. I would be hurting too if my spouse was dying right in front of my eyes. But I didn’t want this precious time of mine to be spent over tears; I wanted smiles and laughter. Was I wrong for wanting that? Was it fair for me to ask my loved ones to pretend to feel something they cannot feel at this time?

My eyes opened slowly, readjusting to the light that shone right above me. How long had I been asleep? I stretched out my arms and felt my elbows and shoulders pop, releasing the strain off of my muscles. I then looked over to my left and saw him; sitting in the chair observing me in silence. God I hated that. He acts as if I’m a bomb ready to explode. In spite of my irritation, I smile at him and he smiles back. The pain still resting upon his eyes as he looked at me with love and concerned. It saddened me to see him like this. He was always so joyous and carefree. Now I was leaving him with this heavy invisible burden that preceded to make residence upon his shoulders.

“How are you feeling?” he asked softly.

“Fine, I guess,” I replied with a smile. “How is everything? How are the kids?”

“They’re…coping,” he replied carefully; trying to find the right word to describe the situation. “Max and Aubrey will be here soon and Brook…” his words went silent as he looked away awkwardly, trying desperately to find the words to say.

“I know. It’s too hard for her. She’s already lost her real mother and now she’s losing me too. I understand. Please tell her that for me?” I pleaded.

He sighed in defeat and nodded his head. “I will.”

I rubbed my face and yawned. I could feel the weakness in my body as every movement I made took effort. I readjusted my body to make myself more comfortable and look over at Declan again. “Don’t be sad, Declan. Everything will turn out alright.”

“Yeah? How’s that, Corrina? My wife and the mother of my children is dying and now I’m left with a grief-stricken teenage daughter to raise on my own while the other two will be away trying to find themselves without their mother! Nothing about this will be alright and it never will! How can you be so optimistic anyway? Do you want to die?”

“Do I want to die? Seriously?” I asked him. Anger began to rise inside of me, filling me with rage. “Ever since I found out the reason why we lost our son is because of me, I’ve felt nothing but anger and bitterness! Do I want to die? No, of course not! But I’ve come to terms with it because I have to and because I have no other choice. I hate the fact I have to leave you and the kids! I hate the fact that I’m in pain all the time! I hate the fact that our son had to die because my body was too weak to keep him! But I can’t dwell on those things now. I have to stay positive for the kids’ sake and for mine because right now, my happiness is all I have to look forward to every damn day! ‘Do you want to die?’ What kind of stupid ass question is that?!” I glared at my husband as he looked away. I could tell he felt ashamed for what he said and I understood why he felt that way, but he had to know how I was feeling and what was going through my head each and every day.

Declan rubbed a single tear out of his eye and glared at the floor. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly, as if he was mostly saying it to himself. “It’s just really hard to get use to the fact that I’m losing you.”

“You’ll never lose me, honey. I’ll always be with you. Just look into the eyes of our children–Brook even. You’ll see me somewhere in their faces, personalities, expressions…”

Declan took a deep breath and sighed. It broke my heart to know his heart was breaking. “I love you, Corrina,” he said as he took my hand and placed it in his own. A smile appearing on his face as he lovingly looked deep into my eyes.

“I love you, Declan.”

..::Max’s POV::..

TS3W 2014-06-21 22-27-10-46 TS3W 2014-06-21 22-30-36-40It had been awhile since I was last at the hospital. Aubrey had just been born and dad took both Brook and myself to come see her and mom. I remember being very little and dad had to carry me in his arms so that I didn’t wander away and Brook remained by his side. When we walked into mom’s room, she had a smile a mile wide as she held a brand new baby in her arms. Her face glowed with radiance still from her pregnancy. She was so beautiful and I loved seeing her happy.

She had the same smile when we stepped inside her room, although the glow from her face had long faded away. Her face grew pale and her eyes grew tired. The life that lived inside her was depleting by the minute and it was now hard to look at her. “Hi, my babies,” she greeted happily; her voice frail and weak.

“Hi, Mom,” we both greeted, forcing a smile on our faces. We each bent down to kiss her on the cheek. She looked up at us and smiled again. I shut my eyes and sighed while Aubrey asked how she was doing. I hated seeing her like this and by the look on dad’s face, I could tell he was thinking the same thing.

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We stayed all afternoon chatting about the past and what Aubrey and I had planned for our futures. It was hard to talk about things like that. What’s the point in discussing the future if you’re not going to apart of it? I didn’t really have plans anyway. I just wanted to escape this world and die with her. However, I had to be here for my family; more so for Aubrey and that’s what I planned on doing.

After a short while of silence, Mom then began discussing what she wanted for ourselves and Brook, who chose not to come. “Make sure whomever you decide to be with, that it’s for love and nothing less,” she stated. All I could do was occasionally nod my head in agreement. My future was empty at the moment and I didn’t want to think about where it may lead me to. “Have lots of babies!” she exclaimed with a chuckle. I smiled at her and once again nodded my head. Aubrey stood next to me and stared out the window. Her arms folded as she fought to keep her anger, desperation, and tears in tact. She was hurting just as much as I was and yet there was nothing I nor my father could do about it.

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Mom’s body suddenly jerked violently as she started to cough. Dad helped her get comfortable once again as he fluffed the pillows behind her and gave her sips of  water. She smiled at us sheepishly as she laid back onto her fluffed pillows. “I love you guys,” she said, barely above a whisper. “Each and every one of you.” Aubrey and I looked at each other wide-eyed and told her we loved her as well. “Max, I love your compassion, your friendly disposition, your protective instincts with your sisters, and your kindness.” A lump in my throat began to develop and I fought back the tears that threatened to come. “Aubrey,” she began as she smiled adoringly at my sister. “My baby…I love your willingness to learn, your ambition, your sensitivity, and your innocence.” Aubrey smiled warmly at her mother; her cheeks developing a rosy shade of red. “I love Brook’s love for animals, her passion and drive. I love her desire to always want more for herself. You make sure you tell her that!” she demanded. We nodded.

Mom sighed and straightened her head. Her eyes closed as she smiled, breathing in deeply as if she were taking us all in once more. “I love you all,” she said, still keeping her eyes closed. “Don’t ever forget that. My mother may not have loved me, but I am not my mother. Our legacy starts with me, you understand this. Don’t let the family sins ascend upon you. Smile, even though your heart is aching. You are the new generation of the Willows. Keep it going.” She looked to us once more with a stern expression and waited for an answer. We agreed and smiled looked over to Dad. He smiled warmly at our mother and caressed her hand in his. They held onto each others gaze for a moment. Then Mom shut her eyes.

She took one last breath. A smile still upon her face. And just like that…

…she was gone.


16 thoughts on “1.12 Smile, Even Though Your Heart Is Aching

  1. Noooooo what that’s so sad! I’m ready to cry now. And Corrina is such a strong woman, I’m really proud of her for being able to remain so optimistic in such hard times. Her poor family though. Jesus. I was not expecting this.

    I feel so bad for Declan. He lost her sister and then he lost her. I hope things get better really soon for this family. They need it.

    • I know, I was really torn with making the decision to end Corrina or not. I did it because I wanted Max to deal with his personal issues on his own and not run to his mom every time. Things will eventually look up for the family in the 2nd generation. You’ll see. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!!!

  2. ………………..wow…….i can’t really find the words right now. *Shakes head* You actually made me cry. 😦 Your writing in this chapter was so beautiful and well done, how devastating, first hearing about the loss of Ezra and Corrina blaming herself that her body was unable to substain him. Then her death surrounding by her family. Those poor kids, and Declan too, i can only imagine….*Please pass the tissue* Great chapter!!

    • Thank you so much! 😀 I got the same reaction three times! LOL. It was a very sad ending for this generation and it was a very difficult decision for me to make whether to keep her alive or have her die, but not everything in life can be what we want and I wanted all the kids to grow up fending for themselves. Sure they had their father, but it’s not quite the same like a mother’s support. Thanks for reading!

  3. I actually understood Declan’s question, and didn’t think it was stupid at all. From his point of view, it’s like Corrina had given up on life after losing Ezra. I understand that Corrina’s body was not strong enough to hold a baby inside her, but that doesn’t mean that she has to be depressed and just give up the will to live. A time of mourning for Ezra is normal, but to have Ezra’s death shape Corrina’s life? No.
    I realize I may be a bit callous, and forgive me, it does still speak to your testament as a writer because you succeeded in stirring up emotions in me, even if it wasn’t the mainstream emotions that most of the other readers had. 🙂
    I actually think Corinna was being very selfish in her death. She got depressed after Ezra, and just laid on the couch forever? For longer than necessary? Of course, I’m not saying forget about Ezra, I’m saying she has three children and a husband who she could focus on! Why does it always happen that when a woman loses a child, she immediately shuts out her remaining family, and gives up her own life?! It’s like she’s blatantly saying her existing family is not as important as the loss of the child who was never born. That attitude just frustrates me to no end. If Corrina had tried harder to live normally after Ezra’s death, and still been sick, that would have been one thing. I do know the body and mind connection are very powerful, and if the mind feels like there’s nothing worth living for, it’s easier for the body to remain sick and shut down. The fact that Corrina didn’t try… *shakes head* I feel bad for Declan and the kids.

    • Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I never responded to this! I read it when you posted it; I know I did!

      Anyways, I totally agree with you and that is also my standpoint on when women lose a child and forget the rest of their family still exists. Although I know it’s hard to deal with–on top of finding out you’re sick and may die–it’s still a responsibility to the rest of the family to be there for them. That is what I wanted to portray. Corrina stayed a strong, independent person throughout her entire life. Now that things got even worse after having a long moment of stability and happiness, she couldn’t find it in herself to stay strong anymore. She was tired of fighting all the time and staying strong for others when all she wanted to do was breakdown and cry.

      I really appreciate your comments, and again, I’m so sorry for never responding to this!!! O_O

    • Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I never responded to this! I read it when you posted it; I know I did!

      Anyways, I totally agree with you and that is also my standpoint on when women lose a child and forget the rest of their family still exists. Although I know it’s hard to deal with–on top of finding out you’re sick and may die–it’s still a responsibility to the rest of the family to be there for them. That is what I wanted to portray. Corrina stayed a strong, independent person throughout her entire life. Now that things got even worse after having a long moment of stability and happiness, she couldn’t find it in herself to stay strong anymore. She was tired of fighting all the time and staying strong for others when all she wanted to do was breakdown and cry.

      I really appreciate your comments, and again, I’m so sorry for never responding to this!!! O_O

  4. Wow. This felt very out of character for Corrina, who had always been such a fighter and loved no one more than she loved her family. Clearly the love for her family remains, but her spirit seemed completely lost here. Maybe losing Ezra was the last straw–I’m not really sure, but I’m so thrown off.

    I really feel for Declan and the kids. Declan has already lost one love of his life, and now he’s lost Corrina too. As stated, Brook has now also lost two mothers. Not to mention the pain in general that Aubrey and Max are feeling due to losing the woman who had always been a rock in their lives. Jeez.

    A shocking death for so stoic a person. I feel a bit like Late Knight Simmer, to be honest, but then again I don’t really understand what happened in the first place. Just wow 😦 Hoping for happier days for this family, but I’m sure they’re probably quite a ways off.

    • I’m so sorry for never responding to your comment either! I really don’t know why I never responded to this…

      Yes, you actually nailed it on the head. She got tired of fighting and gave up. Losing Ezra was the last straw for her. Like I was saying to LateKnightSimmer, she just couldn’t find it in herself to keep fighting anymore.

      I know I threw you all a curve ball with this one, but I wanted time to pass by within the story along with showing Max how he could deal with his own emotions and demons without the help of his mother because if she was still alive in the 2nd generation, he would’ve had some answers to all of his questions, and that’s not always the case in life. He needed to deal with it on his own. :/

      Thanks for commenting!!! ❤

    • She was pregnant with her third child and went into labor prematurely. It was then when she found out that she had cancer and her body was too weak to carry the baby to full term, and so therefore, the baby died. After that happened, she became depressed and her cancer was getting worse. So she died from cancer, but yes, she was depressed because of what happened to their baby.

  5. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? NOOOOOO! THAT JUST DID NOT HAPPEN! Here I was all happy and optimistic about Corrina and Declan leading a pleasant long life, to see their grandchildren, and then Corrina dies? This is so sad. Especially since she lost her baby in the process. I can’t begin to imagine what effects this will have on her family, I feel really bad for Declan and the kiddos. I’m very sad about Corrina passing away but I also feel that it was a bit selfish of her to give up so easily when the rest of her family is still with her. Then again, she has been through so much bad things in her life. Maybe it’s due time for her to rest.
    What a great generation! I’m looking forward to reading the next two 🙂

    • Thank you! It was a really hard decision for me to make, but it was all due to the fact that my game had crashed and I lost them most of them. I knew my game was going to do that beforehand because it kept crashing, making gameplay very difficult. So I decided to just end this generation. 😔 I thank you for reading and catching up though and I’m really glad you’re liking it so far! 🤗

  6. Oh no!! I was not expecting this at all! :O 😥 That was so devastating, I think especially for Declan who obviously loved Corinna so much… and he’d already lost the woman he loved once more, so I’m not sure how he could recover from this now… I really hope he’ll find the strength he needs in his children now…
    I loved this generation, and I’m sure the next one (which I’m so excited to delve into) will be equally great! 😀

    • This broke my heart having to finish this generation like this! I cried when my game crashed lol. After that happened, I managed to remake Max, Aubrey and Brooke, but Declan was extremely challenging to remake. I don’t know how I did it in the first place lol. Thank you so much for reading and commenting in this generation!! 😁

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