This is a sexually explicit story (at times) involving homosexuality. By continuing to read, you affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor and are entitled to have access to this story.
The following is a fictitious story with no real basis or credibility. It is solely for the enjoyment of the reader. Its all just fun. It does not imply anything about the sexual preferences or lifestyle of Justin Timberlake or any other celebrity mentioned in the story.
Justin smiled walking into the house with Michael.
They found everyone in the kitchen, Seth and Tomas in tears as they hugged Michael.
"We loved her so much, Mikey! She was so like a grandmother to us both. Why'd she have to leave us so soon?" Seth said, sobbing against Michael, Michael hugging him tightly. Kevin stood beside his brother, seeing the grief in Seth's sobbing body.
Michael guided him to Tomas' open arms, Tomas holding his lover tightly.
"She was tired, Seth. She wasn't able to fight on any longer. She's in God's hands now." Michael said in tears, rubbing Seth's shoulder.
Father Derrick walked up to Michael, hugging him tight.
"God loves all his children, Michael. You have a special place in his heart."
Michael sobbed against his old friend, Justin rubbing his back.
Justin felt the grief flowing out of Michael now, unabated.
Tomorrow Michael would cleanse his soul of it, in a final farewell to the woman who'd been his rock for so long.
His loving Nana.
Michael broke the hug, wiping his eyes.
"I have so many people who love me now. So many rocks to cling to. I'll never sink below the water of loneliness and grief ever again. Thank you all for bringing your love here for me."
Everyone was in tears, Michael in the center of their love.
Justin stood at the mirror, Michael standing in front of him.
"There you go, love. That looks good."
Michael turned looking into the mirror.
He wore a black suit, with a black tie and white shirt.
Justin wore the same.
"My man always looks so good in black." Justin said, kissing his cheek.
"But today I have to wear it." Michael said quietly, Justin regretting having said his comment.
Michael hugged him to his body.
"It's okay, Jus. I feel the true meaning behind your words."
Justin smiled a small smile.
He looked at his man in the mirror.
Michael's hair was back to its full length again, so long, wavy and lustrous.
"I love your hair long, sweetie."
Michael smiled, Justin running his fingers through it.
"You just love to play with it. Like you love to play with all of me."
Justin beamed, kissing Michael fully on the lips, both men lost in their love.
"You ready for all this, Mico?"
Michael took Justin's hands in his.
"Yes, as ready as I'll ever be."
Justin kissed him again, a light rapping heard on their bedroom door.
"It's time, Michael and Justin." Lynn's voice coming from the hallway.
"I'm ready, Jus. Promise me you'll be by my side, through all of this?"
"I'm not leaving for anything." Justin said, wiping a single tear from Michael's eye.
Justin opened the door, Lynn and Paul in the hallway smiling at them.
"Everyone's ready, Michael. Gregory has the limousines waiting." Paul said, Michael nodding.
They all walked downstairs, everyone waiting in the living room.
Michael saw everyone dressed in black clothing, a respectful display of mourning.
Lance hugged Michael, Michael smiling.
"I'm okay, Lancy. I'll get through this, with all of you by my side."
Silas smiled at Michael, hugging his foster grandson.
"I want you to ride with me, Unky. This is our goodbye."
Justin teared up, seeing Michael trying to be strong.
Everyone left the house, Gregory directing them into three waiting limos.
It was a short drive down to the funeral home. Michael, Justin, Silas, Christina, Zach, Becky, Alberto and Paulo riding in one limousine.
Michael looked around, seeing in this one car all his family.
He didn't say anything, rubbing his fingers over his faith ring. Justin saw him doing it, knowing Michael was trying to center himself, to focus on what lay ahead.
"If any of this gets too stressful, you tell me, my love. I'll not let you get upset or emotionally exhausted." Justin said, Michael looking into his blue eyes, nodding.
They drove down the street where Lafayette's Funeral Home was situated.
Everyone stared in surprise, seeing a large crowd waiting.
"Whoa! Where'd all these people come from?" Christina asked, everyone looking at all the faces lining the street, all standing quietly in a long line.
"I recognize a lot from town, and the surrounding areas. But a lot of others I don't know." Zach said, looking concerned.
"It is the largeness of the Stavros family. They're here to pay their respects." Michael said quietly, staring through the tinted glass.
Justin was grateful for that dark glass, for them not staring back at Michael.
"Are you sure you can handle this, Mico?"
"Yes, Jus. They're friends and family. They have a right to say goodbye to her as well."
Everyone looked at Michael, remaining quiet.
The limo pulled up in front of the funeral home, stopping.
Michael took a deep breath, closing his eyes, steeling his soul.
"Let's go, Jus. I need to see her."
Justin took his hand in his, Paulo stepping out of the car first.
He scanned the crowd, seeing everyone removing their hats, bowing their heads.
Paulo helped Christina and Becky out, Zach following.
Then he helped Alberto out, taking his arm in his, both waiting for Michael, Justin and Silas.
Silas stepped out looking at the crowds.
He crossed his heart over his overcoat, a lot of people in the crowd doing the same. Paulo caught this sign.
Justin stepped out, Michael the last to step out of the car.
When Michael appeared, people murmured, Justin seeing some people kneeling.
"Let's go, Jus." Michael said, not looking at anything but the front door of the funeral home.
They all walked forward, the crowd respectfully silent.
Justin, Silas and Michael stood in front of the white doors of the funeral home's largest viewing room.
All their friends and family stood in the hallway, knowing that this moment was for Silas and Michael alone.
A private moment of acceptance.
Michael turned, looking into Justin's loving blue eyes.
"I'm so sad, Jus. How can I do this? What if she doesn't look like herself?"
"Remember you love for her, remember what she feels now."
Michael nodded, the funeral director opening the white doors.
They walked inside, the doors slowly closing behind them.
Michael looked across the room, seeing large baskets of roses, red and white roses.
Nana's favorite flowers.
And in the middle of all those beautiful flowers, lay a white casket, with two roses laying on its lid.
A single white rose from Michael, a single red rose from Silas.
Half the coffin's lid was open, Michael seeing his beloved Nana laying in rest.
Michael sobbed, Justin wrapping his arm around him, Justin face a mask of emotions.
Tears streamed down his face, as well as down Silas' and Michael's.
Justin walked the two of them slowly forward, Justin in the middle, his arms wrapped around both men. Suddenly the three of them were standing in front of the casket.
Silas looked down on the woman he loved so much. The woman who'd loved him.
"She looks so peaceful, so beautiful." Michael said, looking at his grandmother's calm smooth face.
"Her greatest beauty now fills God's house." Silas said, leaning down and kissing her forehead.
Silas stood up again, tears flowing down his cheeks.
Justin watched as Michael leaned down, kissing her forehead.
"I love you, Nana. Forever." Michael said in a whisper, the tears beginning to fall.
He stood up, laying his head on Justin's chest.
The three stood there, just being together, Justin's arms around Michael and Uncle Silas.
After a few minutes, Silas looked into Justin's eyes, then at Michael.
"There are a lot of people waiting, Michael. I think we need to begin."
Michael slowly nodded, Justin guiding him to a sofa positioned at the head of the coffin, sitting him down gently, Justin sitting down beside him.
Silas walked over to the door, opening it, talking to the director.
Silas returned and took the chair next to the loveseat.
Their family and friends paid their respects first, all being there for Michael and Silas.
Justin felt their love for Michael flowing strong.
Seth and Tomas were visibly upset, Kevin and Father Derrick consoling them.
Nana had in a short time become so important to them.
Christina sat beside Justin and Michael on another sofa with Zach and Becky, taking her place with the family.
All their friends and family gave Michael hugs and Christina as well.
Then came the public viewing.
Four hours later, Justin still couldn't see an end to the people flowing in.
He'd met family friends, neighbours, and distant and close relatives of Silas and Augustus.
And through it all Michael remained calm, but Justin felt his tiredness seeping back, Justin quietly talking to him in their private way all day.
Justin's loving voice giving Michael the strength to continue.
A woman knelt in front of the coffin, saying a short prayer, then turned to face Michael.
Michael stared at her for a moment, staring into her green eyes, emerald green like her son's.
"Hello, Mrs. Richards. It's been a long time." Michael said smiling.
Justin instantly recognized the name, putting his arm around Michael.
"Yes, it has been. I'm sorry Michael. I've wanted to say that to you for a long time."
Michael wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight, the woman crying.
"You have nothing to apologize for. None of that was your doing. That was all Paul's doing."
"I know he hurt you, and your friend here. I'm sorry for what he tried to do to you, Mr. Timberlake."
"Michael's right. It's not your fault. From what Mico's told me, you were nothing but a good mother. I'm sorry for your loss."
Dorothy Richards smiled, seeing nothing but love in these two men.
"I'm glad Paul didn't destroy what I see you two have. I'm happy that you at least can have happiness."
Michael put his hand on her shoulder, she staring into his golden eyes, the eyes of happiness she so remembered.
"At the end, I forgave him. I told him that I didn't hate him. It soothed his soul. And it healed mine. He's now at peace. Go on with your life. Please be happy. Don't let the sins and regrets of the past stop you from living."
Dorothy stared at Michael, lost in his deeply moving words.
"God bless you, Michael." She said, her eyes full of accepting tears, as she walked quietly away.
Three hours later, the crowd had been curtailed, still many sent away.
Michael was sitting back on the loveseat, Justin beside him.
Justin felt the deep exhaustion flowing through him, Michael's willpower at its peak.
"It's all over for today, love. Let's go back to the house." Justin said quietly, kissing Michael's cheek.
They'd held a sacred mass a half hour ago, Father Derrick and Father Gabriel presiding over it.
Words of faith and love passed among all the immediate family and friends.
"There's one final thing left to do, Jus. I've allowed the Stavros family their final tribute ."
The crowds were now gone, only Michael's family and friends remaining, sitting around the room, the doors closed again.
Michael stood up, walking up to the casket, Justin at his side.
Michael pulled a red rose out of the basket beside the coffin, laying it gently on Nana's chest.
"Until tomorrow, Nana." Michael said in a whisper, kissing her cheek.
Michael turned when he heard the doors open, five men in black suits walking into the room, one of them Gregory.
Around Gregory's neck was a golden cross, Justin recognizing it as the one Augustus wore in his portrait.
"That is the sacred cross of the Stavros', worn by the head of the family for generations." Michael said quietly.
In Gregory's hands was a large book, inlaid with a golden cross.
Gregory stopped in front of Michael and Justin, Silas standing up, walking beside Michael.
"As the family of the last Lady of Devotion, we, the Stavros family, offer to you this guard as our tribute to her love. Do you accept this protection of her body, this devotion to her soul?"
"I accept as her grandson, a soul of true devotion." Michael said.
Gregory opened the book, selecting a page.
"Four corners of her life, four corners of her love. They will be guarded by us, the Devoted.
Faith, trust, love and courage. Four parts of her soul of love.
We shall protect them, we shall honor them."
The four other men quietly moved to each corner of the room, turning, crossing their hearts, then bowing their heads.
Michael moved forward, putting his hand on top of the book in Gregory's hand.
"I accept this tribute, this protection, and this honor of my grandmother's memory. Thank you, devoted followers."
Gregory bowed, closing the book, stepping aside.
Michael took Justin's hand, walking forward, Silas following, the remaining people leaving also, looking at each other.
Michael stopped in the hallway, turning around, seeing the four solitary men standing guard for his grandmother.
Gregory was the last to leave the room, turning and bowing.
"Protect her this final night, for tomorrow she enters God's eternal kingdom. Praise and love to you, our mother of hope, our Lady of Devotion."
Gregory crossed himself, then quietly closed the doors.
The car ride back home was quiet, everyone reliving in their minds what they'd just seen.
Michael was beside Justin, his eyes closed, his head laying against his chest.
Justin stared at Paulo and Christina.
Everyone remained quiet.
Michael's eyes opened, looking around at everyone.
Becky was asleep in Zach's arms, Michael smiling.
"I know you're all wondering what happened there, so I'll tell you. It is the right of the Lord and Lady of Devotion to have an honor guard watch over her for her final hours on earth. It is a old custom.
Tomorrow a guard of fifty men will follow her from the funeral home to the church, then to the graveyard. My Nana was that important to this family. She was in essence the faith of the family. Soon, their thoughts will turn to me and what they need me to be."
Everyone looked on with concern, Justin feeling Michael's deep tiredness.
They arrived back at the house, Justin holding Michael all the way from the car to the house.
"You're totally exhausted, my love. It's bedtime for you."
Michael nodded, as they walked into the house.
Everyone else had returned right behind them, Justin taking Michael's coat off in the hallway, guiding him directly upstairs.
Justin sat Michael down on his bed, removing his clothes slowly.
Michael just remained still, Justin stripping him down to his underwear, helping him slip under the covers.
Justin lay on top of the covers beside his love, Michael snuggling against him.
"Didn't she look beautiful, Jus? Didn't they make her look so beautiful?"
"Yes, my love. She was the Nana we all remembered. Go to sleep, my love. Tomorrow's another hard day."
Michael closed his eyes.
"Faith, trust, love and courage. I have them all because of you." Michael said softly, Justin tearing up.
Within moments, Justin heard his soft breathing, knowing Michael was sound asleep.
Half an hour later, Paulo quietly opened the door, Justin looking up at him.
"Your Mom sent me up, Jus. She wanted you downstairs to get some food. She's worried about you. I'll sit with Michael until you come back."
Justin nodded, quietly getting up.
Paulo hugged him, both looking down at a sleeping Michael.
"Tomorrow's going to be so hard on him. He'll need all of us." Paulo said quietly.
"He'll have all the love he'll need." Justin said, Paulo smiling.
Justin kissed his cheek, Paulo kissing him on the forehead.
They parted, Justin feeling his brother's love.
Justin went downstairs, his Mom meeting him at the foot of the stairs.
"Has he fallen asleep, son?"
"He's sound asleep, he's totally exhausted. I think he's been up since early this morning. I found him at five o'clock this morning reading in his grandfather's office. I don't think he slept much last night."
Lynn put her arms around her son, hugging him with love.
"He'll sleep right through then, that will do him the most good."
Lynn looked up into her son's blue eyes, blue like his father's.
"I'm proud of you, Justin. For being so strong for Michael. For showing him your love when he's needed it the most."
Justin teared up, hugging her close, kissing her cheek.
"Thanks, Mom. I wouldn't–or couldn't–do anything else. I love him."
Lynn smiled, guiding him towards the kitchen, and his friends.
Justin woke up, seeing the daylight beginning to shine into their room.
Michael was sound asleep, his head laying on Justin's chest.
Justin felt the warmth of his nude body against him, Justin smiling contentedly.
He felt so loved, wrapping against his lover.
Justin thought of what the day ahead would bring.
Michael's final parting from his grandmother.
Michael had slept all night, of that Justin was pretty certain.
He had hardly moved from his position from last night.
Michael moved a little, sinking more into Justin's arms, Justin smiling.
This was what made Justin the most happy, being here like this, just the two of them alone in their bed of love.
Michael's golden eyes opened, looking up into Justin's blue orbs.
"Morning, love. I love you. What time is it?"
"It's a little after six. You've slept all night. And I love you too, as always." Justin said, loving their morning ritual.
"I'm sorry, Jus. I should have stayed with all our friends last night."
"They all were happy you slept, Mico. They all knew that's what you needed most."
Michael smiled, kissing Justin on the lips.
"And so it's arrived. The day I've dreaded."
Justin pushed Michael back, now laying on top of him.
"It will be over soon, my love. Then we can go on with our lives. Nana would want that from both of us. We'll always love her in our hearts, and we'll love each other always."
Michael smiled, looking up into Justin's loving face.
"How did I ever deserve your love? I can't believe that you're mine."
"You earned it by being you, my sexy, loving Mico."
Justin leaned down kissing Michael deeply, both of them feeling their love flowing.
They parted, knowing that this was enough for now, that it was all they needed.
Each other's love.
"I want to make everyone breakfast again, Jus. As a thank you for being here, and being here today for me when I'll need them the most."
Justin smiled, nodding.
"How about a shower for two, then I'll give you a hand?"
"Just one hand? But you've got so much more to offer." Michael said, batting his eyelashes.
Justin chuckled, feeling Michael's trying to be humorous, to hide his sorrow.
Justin got up, stretching, Michael staring at his sculpted body.
"You're so breathtaking, my love." Michael said, staring into his blue eyes.
"Race ya love." Justin smiled, both pulling on their robes, quietly walking to the bathroom down the hall.
An hour later, Justin was sitting on the kitchen counter, watching Michael cooking at the stove.
"Check my buns, love. They should be about ready."
Justin looked down at Michael's jeans, smirking.
Michael looked at Justin, smiling.
"Not those buns, love."
Justin smiled, hopping down off the counter, pulling the trays out of the oven below Michael.
He kissed Michael's cheek, smiling.
Michael had felt Justin's closeness all morning, his stolen kisses, his love openly on display.
He knew that Justin felt Michael needed it so much today.
Michael took all the bacon out of the frying pan he was using, shutting the stove off.
He put the pan in the sink, staring at a pair of salt and pepper shakers sitting on the counter.
He picked them up, looking at them, remembering the moment he'd given them to Nana.
On Mother's day, when he was ten.
He'd only been here for over a month, Nana entering his heart so quickly.
He'd made them himself, with Silas' help, out of two pieces of balsa wood.
A pair of angels. One painted in gold, one in blue.
One had Michael written on it, one had Nana written across its base.
Michael held them in his hands.
Justin was talking to him, Michael not hearing him, lost in the past.
Justin put his arms around Michael, seeing the look on his face.
Michael was lost in this moment of memories.
"I made these for her, Jus, the first Mother's Day after I came here. She loved them, telling me she'd always use them, because they were made with my love. And here they've always been, used by her everyday."
Michael's tears were falling, Justin hugging him tighter.
"She's gone, Jus! My Nana's gone! She'll never use these again!"
Justin felt Michael's hidden grief letting go, sobs issuing forth, Justin holding him tight.
The tide had surged.
Michael was letting it all out now, his grief unleashed.
Justin saw his eyes glowing, Justin closing his.
He sent his gift forth, into Michael, Michael making contact with it, Michael's eyes clearing immediately, his soul filling with Justin's love.
Michael looked up, staring into Justin's glowing eyes.
"Justin, what was that?"
Justin smiled, kissing Michael's tearing cheek.
"That was my love helping you, Mico. I did it two nights ago, when I felt your heart rip in two. I stopped the destruction that you were unleashing in your deep emotional state in the backyard. And now I released that love again to do battle against your grief."
Michael looked into Justin eyes again, their blueness as blue as ever.
"There will be no more need for cold water shocking anymore, my love. I'll heal you always."
Michael laid his head on Justin's chest, wiping his eyes.
"I'm going to be a wreck today, Jus. I just know it."
"And I'll be right here, holding you and loving you. We'll be okay, Mico. We have each other."
They heard the front doorbell ringing, Justin sitting Michael down at the table.
"Be right back, love."
Michael grabbed some paper towels, wiping his eyes.
A few moments later Justin walked back into the room. Trevor, Nick, Drew, Timbaland and Cassi walking into the room.
Michael stood up, receiving hugs from everyone, Timbaland and Trevor sobbing, Michael hugging them both.
"Michael, her love, her heart, it was so giving. She was a special lady, just as special as her grandson." Timba said, Cassi hugging him now.
"Thanks, Tim. Thank you for being here."
Timbaland smiled, hugging Michael again, and Justin.
Michael hugged Trevor, seeing his emotional state.
"I feel so sad for you, Michael. For what you're going through. I wish I'd have met her. If she was like you, then she must have been a beautiful person."
"She was, Trev. She was indeed that." Michael said, smiling.
Lance and Josh came into the kitchen, saying hello to everyone.
Michael felt the need to be doing something, walking back to the counter.
"Everyone sit down, I'll pour out the coffee."
Everyone quickly looked at Justin, Justin nodding to them.
"Sound's great, Mikey. And I smell food." Josh said, smiling, Lance poking him.
"You and your hunger in the morning." Lance said, people smiling.
"I thought you'd have made him full by now Lance." Michael said, Lance looking shocked.
"With your love, silly." Michael said, Lance blushing.
Josh kissed his cheek, Lance smiling.
"Let me help you, Mikey." Josh said, Michael stepping back.
"No it's okay, Joshy. I'll do all this, you all sit down."
Justin whispered in Josh's ear as he sat down, Josh nodding.
Justin quietly talked to everyone, telling them his thoughts.
Michael was keeping busy, his mind off the day.
Justin knew it wouldn't be for long, that it was but a small reprieve.
Lynn and Paul walked into the room, Randall and Lisa following.
Lynn looked surprised seeing Michael working away, everyone else sitting down.
"Before you say anything, Mom, this is my doing. I need to keep busy, if only for a small moment. This is therapeutic for me, please." Michael said, kissing her cheek, as well as Lisa's.
The women smiled, pulling their husbands to the tables.
Gregory walked in, Justin doing the introductions.
Lonnie, Josh and Lance helped Justin bring in the other dining room table, it being needed for the large crowd assembling for breakfast.
Everyone else was downstairs in the next twenty minutes, the kitchen buzzing with quiet conversation, Justin now helping Michael lay out all the food.
Everyone sat down, Michael sitting beside Justin at the head of the table.
"If you'll allow me, I'd like to say grace." Michael said, quietly.
Michael looked around at all his friends and family.
They all looked lovingly at him, all nodding.
"Lord, here we are, all again sitting before you. Today is an emotional day for me. And it begins here this morning. I had been alone for so long, so lost. But here today I've been found. Found by the love that surrounds me. And on this day of sorrowful goodbyes, I can feel all this love in my heart. Today, I have to say goodbye to someone who's filled my heart with happiness and deep love. I will have that love in my heart every moment of this day, along with your unending love, dear Lord. And the love of my Justin, and all those around this table. We thank you for this love, for this togetherness and for these precious moments together. Amen."
Justin was in tears, his hand in Michael's.
Michael heard the sniffling and saw the tearful faces, Lance being held by Josh.
"Please eat everyone, it's going to be a long day." Michael said quietly, Justin smiling at him.
Two hours later, everyone was waiting quietly.
Waiting for Michael to come downstairs.
He and Justin were upstairs, Justin helping him get ready again.
Seth and Tomas sat on the piano bench, Lance putting his hands on their two shoulders.
"How you guys doing?"
Tomas and Seth both looked up at him, Lance seeing the sadness in their faces.
Lance sat down between them, putting his arms around both of them.
"Michael needs all of us today, guys. I know you feel your own grief, and Michael feels it too. But above that Michael needs your love. You love him, don't you?"
Seth and Tomas smiled at each other.
"With all our hearts. Michael is our friend. We'll show him our love."
"That's all he'll need to get through this."
Lance smiled, hugging both men, Josh smiling at this touching scene.
Justin and Michael walked down from upstairs, everyone standing when they walked into the room.
They could see the redness of Justin's eyes.
He'd been crying.
"It's time, everyone. Let's say goodbye." Michael said quietly, his arm around Justin.
Michael's eyes were red also.
Gregory quietly took charge again, tender in his guiding them into their cars.
They returned to the funeral home, for a final hour of tender goodbyes.
The crowd was still large outside, Justin noticing no reporters or news crews.
Gregory had been true to his word.
They all entered the funeral home quietly.
The family and their friends alone.
Michael stood beside her casket, silently looking at her while his friends and family said their goodbyes.
Justin watched him quietly, talking to their friends.
They all hugged him, then quietly moved aside, others saying their goodbyes.
Vicky was deeply emotional, hugging Michael, crying into his chest.
"She loved you so much, Mikey. You were everything to her."
"I know, Victoria, I know." Michael said, his eyes tearing.
Chris gently pulled her away, knowing Michael needed space.
Michael smiled at him, Chris squeezing his shoulder.
"We love you, Michael." He said quietly.
And so, the family stepped back, their friends quietly waiting for the final moments of goodbye.
The directors moved everyone quietly into the adjoining hallway, six people remaining.
Michael, Justin, Uncle Silas, Christina, Zach and Becky.
Christina held her daughter in her arms, smiling at Michael, tears in her eyes.
She leaned down, kissing Nana's cheek.
"Goodbye, my grandmother. Thank you for being there with me, if only for the briefest of moments. I felt your deep love for me. I only wish it could have been longer. But I'll carry your love with me every day. And your great granddaughter will always hear of your love. Goodbye."
Christina kissed her cheek, Zach hugging her against him, Christina now crying.
She hugged Michael, and Uncle Silas.
Becky kissed them both on the cheek, she smiling widely at Michael.
"Love ya, Uncle Michael." She said, Michael smiling at her.
The young family stepped back, Uncle Silas laying a rose on Nana's chest.
"Goodbye my love, my friend and my Helena. I'll miss your laughter, your smile and just you. Sleep peacefully, my love." Silas said, breaking down, sobbing as he kissed her, again and again.
Michael put his arms around him, holding him as he cried.
Zach and Christina walked back over, gently pulling Silas back, he continuing to sob on Christina's shoulder.
Justin stood beside Michael, the final moment of farewell upon them.
He stared down at the wonderful woman who had given him so much love. So much hope and courage.
Justin leaned down kissing her cheek.
"Goodbye, dearest angel. You gave me so much advice, so much hope that one day Michael would love me. You saw that love from the start. Thank you for loving me, and most of all, for loving him. Rest peacefully in the love of your family, all of you joined forever."
Michael remained still, Justin rubbing his back.
"It's almost time, love."
Michael's eyes were red, the tears falling down his cheeks.
"She saved me, Jus. That day when she walked into my troubled life it was like a ray of sunshine. And every day since then, the brightness of her love grew. For the last few days I've felt the darkness closing in, the darkness of her not being here to love me. But I now feel the sunshine of your love, of all the love surrounding me. I can let her go, Jus. I'll love her forever, but I can let her go now."
Michael put his hand into his suit pocket, pulling out the two angel wooden shakers, placing them on the inside of the casket, next to her arm.
"I made these with love, my love for you. You once said you'd use them always. I think it only fitting that you should take them with you. I love you, my special lady. My grandmother, my mother, my friend. I'll live life to the fullest, with your love in my heart . See you, my loving angel."
Michael felt Justin crying beside him, Michael putting his arm around him, Justin's head on his chest.
"It's time, my love. Time to be courageous." Michael said, sighing.
Justin wiped his eyes, looking into Michael's golden, peaceful eyes.
They stepped back, standing beside Michael's family.
The director walked back in, quietly guiding the six family members out of the quiet room.
Everyone saw the emotional state the family was in, Michael seeming to be the most together.
The director went back into the room, closing the doors.
A few moments later, he opened the door again.
"Could I have the pallbearers join me please?"
Jake, Paulo, Lance, Josh, Tomas and Seth walked quietly into the room.
A few moments later, they slowly walked back out, three on each side of Nana's rolling white casket .
Everyone quietly watched the white casket roll by, seeing the two single roses on top.
Michael and Justin followed behind it, Silas and Christina behind them, Zach and Becky following.
The rest of their family and friends filed in behind.
At the front doorway, Father Derrick stood waiting.
The casket stopped, Father Derrick smiling at Michael.
"Now begins the final journey of our grandmother, mother and friend. She shall be carried forth in love, followed by her greatest love. Her family and friends. Let us go forth in love, proclaiming her love and faith."
Father Derrick turned, the doors opening.
The six friends lifted the white casket, the director removing the wheeled dias, the six men carrying the casket through the door.
Down the steps they walked, Michael and his family following.
Outside stood a black hearse, and a sea of black suited men.
They were all lined up, facing the oncoming casket.
They bowed their heads in unison, Gregory standing beside the hearse.
Father Derrick stopped in front of the hearse, Gregory kneeling in front of him.
"Blessed are you our Lady of Devotion. So begins your final journey.
Thy devoted shall walk with you, forward to your salvation, to your reward.
All hail Helena Stavros, last Lady of Devotion. She goes forward into God's embrace."
A chant filled the day's cloudy sky.
"Praise our Lady, praise her faith. Praise her giving soul."
Gregory rose, crossing his heart.
The casket moved forward, the hearse door opened.
The pallbearers gently slid it into the vehicle, the door quietly closing.
Justin and Michael stood quietly waiting, and watching.
Gregory directed them to a black limousine waiting behind the hearse. The chosen pallbearers were directed to a black van directly in front of the hearse, which also contained the baskets of roses from the funeral home.
Michael, Justin, Christina, Zach, Becky and Silas all climbed into the limousine.
The other friends and family walked to their cars, that were lined up behind the limousine, Gregory having set everything up meticalously.
The large group of black attired men began forming lines on both sides of the hearse all the way down past the line of cars.
In each man's hand were held two roses–one red, one white–their hands folded in front of them.
Gregory checked every detail then walked in front of the limousine.
The funeral director walked up to him, carrying a large wreath, covered in red and white roses.
Gregory took the wreath from him, turning and facing the limousine.
He bowed to the family, the wreath held in his hands.
Then he turned around, bowing to the hearse.
And so the procession began.
The hearse and its guide car started moving, Gregory beginning to walk behind.
The other queues of honorary guards began walking, the limousine edging forward.
And so the procession made its slow way forward, a fifteen-minute walk to the church.
Justin sat in the limousine, Michael resting against him.
Justin had recovered from his emotional breakdown, looking into Michael's calm face.
He felt Michael's feelings, his calmness. But behind that, Justin felt his grief still flowing. He knew in his heart that Michael would probably at some point let that grief flow again.
Christina and Zach were watching him, seeing his calmness.
Becky got up from her seat in her father's lap, climbing into Michael's lap.
"I love you, Uncle Mikey. I'm going to miss Nana."
Michael teared up, kissing her cheek, looking into her blue eyes.
"She loved you Rebecca, you were here special little angel. I'm going to miss her, too."
She wrapped her small arms around Michael's neck, laying her head on his chest.
He held her close, Justin tearing beside them.
Becky's love and Michael's soothed each other's troubled soul.
Silas wiped his eyes, Zach putting his arm around the older man.
"This is so moving, this tribute to her. It's called the Walk of Devotion. Gregory carries the Wreath of Love, covered in the deceased's favorite flowers. He walks behind them as a symbol of his faith in following their life's devotion. The last time I saw this was at your grandfather's funeral, Michael. I was the one who carried the wreath that day. But somehow today it seems more beautiful, because there is so much love behind it. They loved her dearly."
Michael looked out of the car window, seeing the men walking beside their car, roses held in their folded hands.
"She loved roses so much; you all saw the flower bushes in the back yard. I always loved them because of her."
Justin smiled, kissing Michael's cheek, Becky smiling up at her Uncle Justin.
Twenty minutes later, the hearse stopped in front of the large church located in the center of town.
Father Derrick and Father Gabriel stood on the church steps, a lot of people standing on the sidewalks, waiting for the service to begin.
The lines of honorary guards formed into two rows deep, lining the sidewalk along the cars, separating the crowds from the line of limousines.
Gregory remained standing behind the hearse, holding the wreath.
The limousine door was opened, everyone getting out.
The last ones out were Michael and Justin.
When Michael appeared the rows of honorary guards bowed deep, crossing their hearts when they rose again.
Michael bowed, his way of thanking them.
They walked in front of the limousine, standing behind Gregory.
Paulo, Jake and Tomas stood on one side of the hearse's open back door, Lance, Josh and Seth on the other.
Once everyone was lined up, the pallbearers quietly pulling out the white casket.
They held it gently, turning then towards the church steps, going slowly forward.
Gregory now walked ahead of the casket, carrying the floral tribute.
Michael and Justin followed his grandmother's coffin, Silas and Christina behind them, Zach and Becky walking last.
The procession stopped in front of the two priests, the priests bowing their heads in prayer.
Father Gabriel's rich voice filled the open air.
"Welcome this child of God to her final parting from us. Welcome her into your heart of love, dear Lord. Give us comfort in these final moments, in this final farewell. Let us all bask in the love this beautiful lady gave us, let us carry that with us forward. We will all take heart in her soul now being with our Lord and Saviour. But now we must bid farewell, with God's love. Amen."
A loud Amen was echoed through the quiet crowd, a light wind blowing, the sky still cloudy.
The priest turned, walking up the steps, Father Derrick following.
The procession went forward into the large church.
The church was full, not an empty seat anywhere, people standing at the back.
Zach noticed speakers above the front door, realizing they were set up for the people waiting outside.
Justin wrapped his arm around Michael as they followed the coffin down the long aisle.
The choir stood to the left of the altar, their melodious voices singing a hymn, the music filling the church.
Justin noticed a lot of friends and people they both knew standing in the front rows of pews.
Ryan, Pink, Timba, Cassi, Kevin, Lonnie, Trevor, Nick and Drew.
Fred and Betty smiled at Justin, Betty blowing them a kiss of love.
Johnny Wright stood among people from Justin's tour. Justin thought it looked like almost all of the crew were there, including Gary their bus driver. They'd all found deep friendship with Michael, all wanting to pay their respects to him.
Justin teared up, Michael only looking forward, his eyes on the white casket ahead of him.
Justin felt his emotions, feeling the grief just below the surface.
The pallbearers now placed the coffin on a marble dais at the front of the altar, below the pulpit, Gregory placing the Wreath of Love in front of the white casket.
Justin and Michael and the others were guided to their front seats, their families and close friends sitting behind them.
Justin felt his Mom's hand on his shoulder, the gesture given in love.
Father Derrick stood behind the coffin, putting his hand gently on its smooth white surface.
"Welcome, child of heart, child of love. Before you are your family, your loved ones. And all the people who've loved you and been loved by you. We've gathered here today to celebrate your life, to celebrate your love. With God's love in your heart you have gone on to a better life, a life of eternal happiness. And we that are left behind shall carry your love with us, until the moment we join you in your new kingdom. Let us all pray together."
Everyone bowed their heads, Father Derrick leading them in the Lord's prayer.
After the prayer was said, Father Gabriel joined Father Derrick.
"Good morning, everyone. I am Father Gabriel Morgan, and this is Father Derrick O'Hara. I have been Helena Stavros' priest and friend for over thirty years. Father Derrick has been a friend and spiritual guide to Michael Tavarro, her grandson, throughout his young life. We welcome you today to this tribute to this beautiful woman."
"Welcome, children of God." Father Derrick said, both men smiling.
"Helena Stavros had lived in this community for over fifty years, coming here as a young bride with her husband, Augustus. Together they were welcomed with kindness and love. And over those fifty years they grew to be loved by all that knew them, by their friends and family. She became a moving personality in all the community programs and public gatherings. And in the past few days Michael, her loving grandson, has told me of special things that she'd done for people anonymously. That was her giving heart at work. Michael himself will tell you more later on, he will be giving the eulogy for his loving grandmother."
People looked over at Michael, Michael looking forward, his eyes on Father Gabriel.
"We are also joined today by a large contingency of her husband's family, she being a moving force in their lives as well. Let us all rejoice in our love for this special lady."
Gregory sat beside Silas, looking quietly forward.
"Helena loved music. It filled her soul with love and happiness. As a special tribute to her, we'll now hear a moving hymn sung by her new grandson, Justin Timberlake, Michael's life partner."
Justin stood up, walking up onto the altar, standing in front of the choir and organ.
The organist began to play, Justin looking down at Michael.
His rich, high voice filled the silent church.
We commit this life to You, our Father.
We lay her in Your arms.
She was born in Your heart;
You have lent her to us.
Now we give her back to You, Lord,
We give her back to You.
We thank You for this life, our Father.
We thank You for the joy.
From a heart full of love,
You have lent her to us.
Now we give her back to You, Lord,
We give her back to You.
Michael stared up at Justin, hearing the moving words, what Justin was saying to him. Tears ran down his face, Christina taking his hand in hers.
Thank You, Father.
Thank You, our Lord?
Full of compassion
And true to Your Word.
Till the day You call us home, our Father,
To sing around Your throne,
We will treasure this life,
We will treasure this gift.
Now we give her back to You, Lord,
We give her back to You.
The choir finished the song, Justin walking down to the casket, putting his hand on it gently.
"Goodbye, special lady."
He walked back to Michael, sitting down beside him, his arm going around him.
"Thank you, Justin, that was very moving. Your beautiful voice told of us giving her back to God, for her now going to his kingdom. That is what now has happened. Helena has rejoined her family that went on before her. Her loving husband Augustus and her young daughter Diana. A family has been reunited in God's house, their love joining his."
Michael felt Justin squeeze his hand, Michael smiling.
"Now we will hear a touching poem recited. A poem about acceptance, about the inevitability of life. This reading will be read by Lance Bass, a close friend of Michael's heart." Father Gabriel said, smiling at Lance.
Lance stood up, Josh looking up at him.
Lance took a deep breath, feeling Josh's love flow through him.
Lance walked to the pulpit.
He pulled out a small book from his suit pocket, looking down at the white casket below him, then at Michael and Justin.
"Michael asked me to say something here today, because he knew of my deep belief in God and his caring love.
I chose this poem more for Michael and all of us, than for Nana. She's in his house of love now, we are here. She has found her eternal happiness. We are the ones who must go on. And we will, with Nana's love in our hearts. Listen to these words, Michael, and you'll hear what needs to be heard, as all of us will."
Lance looked down at the small opened book, then his eyes stared into Michael's golden ones.
"Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found that peace at the end of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free."
Lance closed the book, tears in his emerald eyes.
Michael stared at him, the words sinking into his soul.
Nana was with God. She was free and with his mother and grandfather.
Justin squeezed his hand again, as they watched Lance lay his hand on the white casket.
"Goodbye, loving child of God." Lance said quietly, returning to his seat beside Josh, Josh taking his hand in his.
"Thank you, Lance. Deep words of truth, spoken with love. Hear those words, and the grief will be overcome. Hear God's loving words and all things can be overcome." Father Derrick said, smiling at the gathered crowd.
"Next, we will hear a tribute to Helena from the Stavros family, her great-grand nephew, Gregory Stavros. After that, an old familiar hymn will be sung, Amazing Grace. The choir will sing it, please join in its moving words." Father Gabriel said, Gregory walking up to the pulpit.
He looked out onto the gathered crowd, then looked down at Michael.
Michael stared back, Gregory seeing so much in those golden eyes.
"I am a believer in destiny. That we all have a purpose in life. Helena's purpose was to give her love to everyone. And that she did all her life. Our family benefited from her giving soul. She became an important personage in our devoted family. We called her the Lady of Devotion. What that meant was that she was the center of our family. The carrier of our faith. And no one's faith in God could match this remarkable lady's. Throughout my tenure as head of our family, her wisdom, faith and giving heart has guided me to become the man that I am today. But she wasn't someone to be brushed aside. Don't doubt that she couldn't voice her opinion in all matters. I'm sure you all know that. I don't wonder if that lady could change the opinion of God himself."
People chuckled, and smiled, Michael smiling, as did Justin.
Justin thought of the direct, determined woman. Her wisdom was right to the point. As was Michael's.
"Here we sit today to say farewell to this wonderful woman. A lady of impeccable charm, with a giving heart and a faithful soul. Rest in peace, dear lady. God now has a Lady of Devotion worth knowing."
Gregory stepped down, walking to the casket, kissing the top, near where Nana's heart lay.
"Go with God, dear lady." He quietly said, Michael hearing him.
He bowed to Michael, Michael standing and hugging him, Gregory looking emotional.
Justin watched Michael sit back down, taking his hand again.
He spoke to him in his mind.
"How are you doing, love?"
"I'm okay, Jus. It's almost time for me to say what I need to say. It's almost time."
Justin kissed his cheek, the choir starting to sing the hymn.
Everyone stood, the room filling with music.
After the hymn ended, Father Derrick walked to the center of the aisle, standing in front of the congregation.
"The next part of this service is a moving tribute to a loving grandmother. Given in love by her grandson, Michael. I've had the privilege and the great love to have known Michael since he was a small boy. He started life out in an abusive home, then an abusive orphanage. I won't speak of that part of his life, his friends and family know too well of it. But I will say one thing. If ever there was a child, who needed the giving love of this special lady, it was our Michael. And Helena gave that love completely to her Mico. To her special child."
Everyone was looking towards Michael, Justin dreading this next part on Michael's fragile soul.
"We'll now hear the eulogy, given in love by Michael Tavarro, her loving grandson."
Michael stood up, feeling Justin's love flowing into him, Justin's hand reluctantly letting his go. Michael felt his strength double, the young man walking forward.
He walked up to Father Derrick, the priest hugging him gently.
Michael parted with him, walking up to the pulpit.
He stood there in silence, looking out at everyone. They all saw his empty hands, no speech or paper in them. This tribute was coming from Michael's soul.
His gaze fell on the white casket resting below him. On top he saw the two single roses.
"A rose by any other name, is still a rose. A flower created in God's love. That in essence is what God gave us in the form of this special lady. She was the flower of love. Her love bloomed in all our souls, her giving heart flowed upon the winds like blossoms in the spring sunshine. It flew to all of our hearts. And that heartfelt love she gave to me. It nurtured in my soul, growing me into the man you see before you. A loving, giving soul, who now spreads her love to others. In myself, I feel her love. It's tangible, it's real. I look out upon all of you here today, and I don't think any of you can deny that her love in some way, in some brief moment in time, touched your souls. It's embedded in mine."
Justin teared up, listening to Michael's moving, truthful words.
He felt his mother's hand on his shoulder again, she sitting behind him.
"I'd like to speak of two moments that I remember, when Nana's giving soul and faithful outpouring of love touched my world.
The first moment was when I was fourteen. I'd come home from school early because of a monstrous snow storm, the school closing early so children could return home in safety. I walked into our home to find Nana and Uncle Silas standing in the hallway, surrounded by boxes and bags. They were dressed to go out.
I asked Nana what was going on.
She told me that the power had failed on the eastern side of town. That it was time to do some good."
Michael looked at his Uncle Silas, seeing the man lost in his own memories.
"To do some good. I found out exactly what that phrase meant.
For twelve hours we waded through snow drifts, Silas driving us around in his plowtruck. We delivered supplies to so many people. Blankets, candles, lanterns, heaters, and food. They all stared at us as if we were heaven sent. Nana took no praise when offered, no thanks for her were needed. She told them all that God looked out for people in trouble, and that she was doing God's work.
I asked her the next morning, just before I feel asleep from exhaustion, why we had done all that. She tucked me into my warm bed, smiling down at me, kissing my cheek.
'To see a smile on the face of someone who needs it most.' She said, smiling at me.
Those words, those simple words, I have carried in my heart everyday. That was the goodness of my grandmother. The essence of her giving soul. Her love made all of us smile."
Everyone was in tears, seeing Michael's love for his grandmother so openly displayed.
Silas sat quietly, tears rolling down his face, remembering that moment, and so many others. His Helena's undying duty to do good.
"The second moment is the one I hold closest to my heart. It happened when I was ten. It happened when all the happiness had been ripped out of myself. When I walked around in that orphanage, waiting for the end. I had given up on life, I was waiting to die."
Justin sobbed, tears flowing. Randall and Lynn both put their hands on his shoulders, their love helping him gain control again.
The church was in total silence, everyone listening to Michael.
"You know that I had been abused, I won't go back into that past. But that day I felt ready to die. I had reached the top of the mountain of despair, ready to plunge into the blackness of death. The staff hauled me into a small room, leaving me all alone, my head bowed into submission.
I heard someone enter that dismal room, I felt them standing over me. I thought it was to be another day of abuse. Perhaps the final one resulting in the end of my pain.
Then I felt a soft hand raise my head, my eyes looking into the eyes of love. Into two golden brown eyes, so filled with love. Into my grandmother's beautiful golden eyes.
'It's time to be loved again, my angel.' She said, picking me up in her arms. In that one moment, I felt love flood my soul again. And I've felt my grandmother's love every day since that moment. And I'll feel it for the rest of my life."
Everyone wiped their eyes, moved to tears by Michael's deeply moving words.
"She saved me that day. She walked me back down from that mountain of despair, and she took me to her home of love. I'd never felt so much love, so much happiness. My life was given back to me, by a woman I loved with all my heart. My Nana. First and foremost, my Nana. You've all met her, you've all felt her love. Imagine what it was like to have that love every moment. Uncle Silas and I treasure that love, treasure those memories. Our hearts are full of her love. And will always be, until we meet her again, in the kingdom of God's love."
Silas was in tears, Christina and Zach holding him tight, Becky smiling up at Michael from Justin's lap, which she'd quietly crawled into, sensing he needed her.
"To finish this, I want to second what Father Gabriel said a short while ago. My grandmother loved music. I can remember so many nights that we sang together, she loving my voice. Through her, I found my own love of music. Today I'd like to say farewell to her in a special way. This was one of her favorite songs. She loved when I sung it for her. Today I'll change the words a little to show my own feelings for her. That day that she raised my head to look into her soul of love, she raised my heart and soul as well. They both now carry her unending love."
Michael walked down from the pulpit, standing behind his grandmother's white casket.
He waited as Zach stood up, walking up to the front of the choir, joining his old friends.
Soft music began to play, Michael's hands resting now on top of her white casket.
He raised his head, as he'd done that day long ago, his rich, beautiful voice flowing on the winds of love.
When I was down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles came and my heart burdened be;
Then, I was still and waited there in silence,
Until you came and loved awhile with me.
You raised me up, so I could stand on mountains;
You raised me up, to walk through stormy seas;
I was strong, when I was on your shoulders;
You raised me up: To more than I coul be.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
Justin watched Michael, seeing his emotions letting go, seeing his grief flowing free.
His face was covered in tears, his hands rubbing the smooth top of his grandmother's coffin.
Michael's voice was cracking, his emotions overwhelming him.
Christina took Becky from Justin, sensing Michael's need for him.
Justin stood up, walking up to Michael, wrapping his arms around him.
Justin's beautiful voice joined Michael's, the two singing together.
Then Michael's voice stopped, his body trembling with sobs, Justin holding him against him.
Justin continued to sing, the choir tearfully singing with him the remaining verses.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
Zach stood in front of the choir, tears flowing down his cheeks, seeing his friend's grief now in the open.
Michael laid his head on top of the white coffin, his lips kissing the soft surface.
"I love you, my Nana. You saved me with your love. I'm here because of you. I'll love you always." He said, sobbing, Justin tenderly pulling him back, walking him back to his seat.
He sat him down, Michael clinging to Justin, his face buried in his chest.
A tearful Father Derrick stood where Michael had just stood, looking at his young friend.
"Your love she felt in every moment she was with you, Michael. As she felt all of our love. As we've felt all of hers. My friends, it is now time to part from our dear friend, but we walk out of this church today richer for having known her, walking with her love and with God's love in our full hearts. Let us now stand and pray together."
Everyone stood up, Justin helping Michael stand, Father Gabriel joining Father Derrick beside the casket.
"Dear Lord, we give to you this day another soul to love. Another soul returned to your love. Take care of her, Lord. Bask in her love, as she has basked in yours, and will forever more. As we will do going forward with our lives. We commemorate this child of God back to the light from whence she came. Farewell, Helena, daughter of God."
Father Gabriel nodded, Gregory walking forward.
The pallbearers rose, walking down the sides of the casket.
Gregory picked up the wreath again, turning and walking forward down the aisle.
The six friends of love quietly raised the coffin, walking forward.
The coffin gradually made its way back down the aisle, Michael's six dear friends walking beside her.
Justin walked behind the coffin, Michael in his arms, sobbing against his chest, his face hidden.
All their friends were crying seeing Michael's deep grief letting go.
They knew that he'd recover, that they'd have his love back with them soon.
Cassi held Timba, who was crying openly, Kevin holding Pink, who was sobbing.
The rest of the family and friends followed the coffin out of the church.
Outside, the coffin was gently put back into the waiting hearse.
The honor guards stood ready, waiting for the final journey to the graveyard on the outskirts of town.
Justin guided Michael into the waiting limousine, Michael's family getting in behind them.
Justin held Michael, Michael still crying.
Christina was holding Uncle Silas, his grief laid bare also.
Silas slowly regained his composure, Zach tearfully looking at Michael.
He felt in his heart the deep loss Michael now felt.
Becky climbed out of her father's lap, climbing into Michael's.
Michael felt the small child there, breaking his hold on Justin.
He looked down into her upturned blue eyes, seeing her smile.
"Don't be sad, Uncle Michael. I'm still here for you to love."
Michael's soul beamed, those innocent words evaporating a lot of the grief held there.
"I know, my little angel. I love you so much."
Becky put her arms around Michael's neck, kissing his cheek, Michael hugging the little girl tightly.
After a few moments, Christina took the child from Michael's tender embrace, Michael laying his head on Justin's chest again, closing his eyes.
Justin held him, as the procession made its way through the small town.
On all the streets people stood quietly, removing their hats, bowing their heads as a show of respect for this remarkable, giving woman.
In a short fifteen minutes the procession walked through the gates of the small cemetery.
The hearse stopped in front of the Stavros family plot.
A large, marble mausoleum stood in the center of the plot, Justin thinking that it must house many relatives.
In truth, it only was there to house two.
Helena and Augustus Stavros.
The pallbearers lined up behind the hearse, the people disembarking from their vehicles.
Everyone waited, all waiting for Michael to appear.
Everyone stepped out of the limousine, Zach closing the door.
Justin and Michael remained inside, everyone knowing they needed a moment to themselves.
"I'm not ready for this, Jus. For this final parting. How can I let her go? She saved me."
Justin wiped Michael's face, kissing his lips.
"You have to let her go, love. You have to go on with your life. She's gone to her happiness, it's time for you to have yours. She will be with you always. As will I."
Michael looked into Justin's tearing blue eyes, seeing that deep love he's found.
"I love you, Jus. I love you so much."
"As do I love you, my Mico. It's time, love."
Michael nodded, the two opening the door together.
Justin climbed out first, Michael stepping out of the car.
All the honor guard deeply bowed, Michael moved by this sign of respect.
He walked with Justin up to the hearse, standing behind the pallbearers.
All his brothers of love and Seth and Tomas tearfully looked at him, Michael nodding.
They pulled her white coffin out of the hearse, lifting it up with love and reverence.
They turned then, the six men gracefully carrying her coffin toward the marble crypt.
Father Derrick, and Father Gabriel waited at the open doorway.
The six men stopped in front of them, Michael and his family stopping.
"We commemorate the body of Helena Stavros to her eternal slumber. God has taken this child into his loving embrace. Farewell, mother, grandmother, friend and faithful servant of God."
Father Derrick sprinkled ashes over her coffin.
"From ashes thy were formed, to ashes thy shall return. Your soul shall now dwell in thy house of God. Go forth into eternal peace, dear lady."
The two priests walked around the coffin and pallbearers, hugging Michael and Silas, then Justin.
"It's time, Michael. She's going to her final slumber." Father Derrick said, rubbing his back.
Michael nodded, Justin's arm going around him again.
"We'll give you time to say goodbye." Father Gabriel said, Silas nodding.
At that moment, a bright hole appeared in the darkened clouds, a beam of sunshine descending on the small area.
It bathed the group in the bright light of God's love.
The pallbearers walked forward, entering the crypt, Michael and his close family following.
Silas looked at Michael, not sure that he shouldn't have told him what lay ahead inside.
Michael, Justin, Christina, Zach, Becky and Silas walked behind the coffin.
Father Derrick and Father Gabriel, folding their hands, remained outside with everyone else, except for Gregory, Lonnie, and Kevin who all walked behind everyone carrying three floral wreaths.
The six young men walked into the brightly-lit crypt, lifting Nana's coffin up higher, centering it above a marble sarcophagus situated in the middle of the room.
They gently lowered the white coffin into the marble sarcophagus.
A large marble slab with her name engraved on it stood against the wall, a rose carved in its center, a golden cross beneath her name.
To the left of her final resting place stood another marble sarcophagus, containing the remains of Michael's grandfather. His name was etched on its smooth marble lid.
Michael looked at it, remembering the visits he'd had with Nana every year, to lay flowers at his tomb in remembrance.
Michael gaze turned to the right of Nana's coffin, his breath catching in his throat.
Silas put his hand on Michael's shoulder.
"She had it finished about two months ago, my son. She wanted to sleep in her own loving peace. She wanted to right her own wrongs."
Justin saw the emotion on Michael's face, the tears flowing from his golden eyes. Everyone staring at where his gaze was focused.
Another marble sarcophagus stood to the right side of Nana's.
Michael walked toward it, Justin following.
Michael's hand touched the smooth white marble lid, his eyes staring down at the name etched above the golden cross.
Diana Marisa Stavros-Tavarro
our loving daughter
lost angel, remembered love
Michael sobbed, his arms wrapping around the marble lid.
"Momma, my loving Mom." He sobbed, Justin's eyes full of tears, crying himself as he rubbed Michael's back.
Their friends all cried, now seeing what lay before them.
A family reunited in death.
Nana had brought her daughter home, to sleep beside her parents for eternity.
Justin felt Silas' hands on both of their shoulders.
"She brought her home, Michael. She brought her home to be with those who loved her the most. They all can now be at peace, their love united."
Michael raised his head, looking at his loving Uncle Silas, seeing the tears in his eyes.
Michael hugged him, Justin letting the two find their own comfort, their own acceptance, together.
The two parted, kissing each other's cheeks.
Michael looked as Kevin walked up to him, the young man in tears.
Kevin handed him the wreath he held, Michael walking over to his grandfather's tomb, placing the wreath on its lid.
He then took the wreath from Gregory's offered hands, Gregory also in tears.
This he placed on Nana's exposed white coffin.
Michael then walked up to Lonnie, the large man in tears, his face wet with his emotions.
Michael took the wreath he held gingerly in his hands, Lonnie placing his large hand on Michael's shoulder.
They stared into each other's eyes, their eyes showing their love.
Michael walked back to his mother's tomb, placing the wreath on top, with much caring and love.
He leaned down, kissing the white marble, Justin's hand on his shoulder.
"I love you Mom. Always. Be happy with their love. I love all of you."
Michael stood, Justin hugging him to him, Michael sobbing against him.
Paulo and Jake held each other, as did Lance and Josh, and Seth and Tomas.
They all felt the final moments of Michael's final goodbye.
Everyone quietly filed out, Silas taking one last look at Helena's white coffin.
"Rest in peace, friends of love. Rest in eternal peace." He said, Zach and Christina putting their arms around him.
Lonnie picked up Becky, the little girl looking towards Michael and Justin, smiling.
Justin and Michael found themselves alone now, alone with Michael's sleeping family.
"We have to go, love." Justin said tenderly, Michael's head laying on his chest, Michael's golden eyes looking around the room.
"They're together again, Jus. My family's united. And they've left me."
Justin hugged him tighter.
"They haven't left you, Mico. They'll be with you every step that you walk in life. They'll be beside you, as Daniel is, their love following you everywhere. I truly believe that. I can almost feel them here. They're surrounding us with their love."
Michael looked up into Justin's blue eyes, the eyes that showed such love, such faith.
"I know, Jus. I know they're with me. Let's leave them to their reunited love."
Justin smiled, the two slowly beginning to leave.
Michael stopped at the doorway, turning back for one last final look. Seeing three people that meant the world to him.
His grandfather, that he'd never met, a faithful follower of God.
His grandmother, the architect of his loving soul.
His mother, a beacon of life and love.
All three finally at peace.
"Goodbye, my family. Until our next meeting. My love is with you forever."
Michael sobbed against his Justin, the two lovers walking out into the bright sunshine.
End of Chapter 109
Farewell, Nana, farewell.
I have nothing more to write here, I'm emotionally silenced.
Wishing all of my American friends a Thanksgiving holiday of thankfulness and love.
I am thankful for all your generous and loving thoughts and wishes.
Please let me know your thoughts on this chapter. It was hard for me to write.
In faith, Angel.