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Epilogue

"Hey, Nick, have you seen my mom?" Brian asked, coming into the kitchen, where Nick sat eating breakfast.

It had been almost a month since Brian's heart transplant, and the last couple of weeks had been spent in Lexington, at Brian's parents home. Two weeks, and still, Brian had not done the very thing he had come to do. He had not been emotionally ready before, but today, he felt like he could finally do it.

"She left earlier, Bri, while you were still sleeping," Nick replied through a mouthful of cereal.

"Where'd she go?" Brian wondered aloud.

Nick shrugged. "Didn't say."

"Well, Nick, can I ask you a favor then?" Brian asked hesitantly.

Nick looked up at his best friend, sensing this was something important. "Sure, anything," he replied.

"Can you drive me to the cemetery, to where Harry's buried?" Brian asked.

Nick took a deep breath and nodded. "Of course, Frick," he replied, managing a smile.

Brian smiled back slightly. "Thanks, Frack," he said.

"When do you wanna go?" Nick asked.

"Soon. When you're done eating, maybe?" Brian asked hopefully.

Nick nodded, downing the rest of his cereal. He ran upstairs to one of the guest rooms and grabbed his shoes, keys, and wallet, then hurried back downstairs. "Ready," he said.

Brian smiled. "Thanks, Nick," he said gratefully, lightly draping his arm over Nick's shoulders. Nick smiled down at Brian, his heart swelling with joy as he once again thought of how close he had come to losing him.

The two of them walked outside and climbed into Nick's car. Nick started the engine, pulled out of the drive, and headed down the street, towards their destination.

***

Ten minutes later, Nick tagged along as Brian led the way to Harry's gravesite. He had never been to it, but he knew were it was, for Harry had been buried near where the other deceased members of their family lay to rest.

Soon, he found it. He walked along the row of graves that belonged to his dead relatives and stopped suddenly when he saw a figure knelt in front of a grave at the end of the row. Squinting in the early morning sunlight, he gasped when he realized it was his mother. He knew that must be where his brother's grave was and slowly started towards it, Nick hesitantly following behind.

They stopped a few feet away from Jackie, who was knelt in front of Harry's headstone, her head down, her hands clasped in prayer. They knew she did not know they were there.

Nick wanted to turn back, for he didn't think they should intrude on this moment of mourning, yet Brian's feet seemed planted to the ground as he watched his mother with wide, watering blue eyes.

And then she spoke. Aloud. It startled Nick at first, but he realized then that she was praying. And as he listened to her words, tears filled his own blue eyes.

"Lord, I just want to thank you. Thank you so much for sparing my baby yet again. Thank you for taking my Harry's soul to Heaven to be with you, and thank you for sending him to heal Brian. You have worked miracles on this family before, and now, in our time of need, you have created another. I cannot thank you enough for that. You answered our prayers." Jackie's voice became choked with tears, and as she trailed off, they both noticed her shoulders began to shake as she cried.

As her words echoed through Nick's mind, he was astonished by them. Jackie Littrell had been through so much grief in the past few weeks. God had taken her oldest son away from her and had nearly taken her youngest as well. She could easily have been complaining to him, asking him why. Nick would have liked to ask God why himself. Why Brian? Why Harold? Why did any of it happen? Yet Jackie was not. Instead, she was thanking him. Thanking him for what he did do. Her faith was strong, stronger than he had ever seen in anyone. Even when things were desperate, she never lost that faith. Never gave up that hope. Maybe that was why God had chosen to save Brian.

Brian softly cleared his throat then, bringing attention to himself and Nick. Jackie turned and looked up, seeing her son standing behind her. "Brian," she whispered, smiling at him tearfully.

Brian knelt beside her and wrapped his arms around her. Jackie clutched him tightly to her, her tears spilling down his back as they cried together.

Nick stepped back, turning away from them to give them a private moment together alone that he knew they needed.

As Brian finally pulled back from his mother, he carefully pulled out something from his shirt pocket. It was a pristine white flower, dried to be perfectly preserved, the petals all in perfect condition.

When Jackie saw it, her eyes filled with tears, as she remembered where it had come from. It was the flower she had taken with her from Harry's funeral. She had kept it in her purse on that long flight from Lexington. After her visit with Brian later that day, right after he had woken up, he had drifted off to sleep, and she had placed the flower atop the covers over his chest, where Harry's heart beat within him, giving him life.

Brian had preserved it and kept it with him for these few weeks. And now, here it was, back at Harold's grave where it had started.

"This is for you, bro," Brian whispered, setting the flower on top of the headstone. "Thank you. Thank you for loving me and for giving me life. I'll see you someday, when it's my turn. Until then, take care."

From a few yards away, Nick watched as Jackie blew a kiss heavenward. Then she took her son's hand and together, they turned away from Harry's grave and headed towards him. Nick managed a tearful smile. He felt sad, yet happy at the same time. Brian's brother was gone. But because of his gift, Brian could live on.

As he watched Brian and his mother, he realized that their faith was just as strong as ever. As Kevin had said, the experience they had come through had been a test of faith. But they had triumphed.