Another Legacy, 5.5

One dark winter night, it happened. Jonah’s long life came to an end. He collapsed onto the kitchen floor, swirls of life-force energy lighting the air around him.

His face looked so sad. He truly loved life: the sunsets, the sound of the surf, the thrill of adventure when surfing the waves or snorkling. Those long-ago memories of the snow and ice and thunder-storms on the mountain. Skate-boarding through the city streets. Ah, life!

Nicki was not ready for her dad to go. He’d been everything for her. He was what kept her going and kept her anchored.

Earl York was visiting, and all the trauma of the family deaths he’d experienced came rushing back. It was too much even for Kiana, who wasn’t yet ready for Jonah to join her in translucent form.

But Magdalena was deep into her homework and didn’t even notice the commotion in the kitchen. Physics is fascinating, and for a musician, very relevant.

Besides, Kareem was coming over.

In game-play, Jonah’s passing was a mess of a glitch. Grim froze out behind the house, and in-game hours passed while he stood there. I went into build-mode and moved around gnomes and yoga mats and other things that might be boxing him in. No go. I couldn’t save, due to the in-game event of a death on the property. Eventually, I googled and found that “resetSim” works in these cases of Grim getting stuck. So I reset Grim. No progress. Then, I reset Jonah. He disappeared from the floor. I freaked out because I couldn’t find the tombstone. Fortunately, next time I went into build mode, I found it there in the family inventory, so it all worked out! But for a few days, I was afraid I’d lost him, like Case and Ira, whose tombstones were never found.

I have a plan to keep all the ghosts I can, making them household members. (I’ve played ahead by the time I’m writing this chapter, and I’ve been moving family ghosts into a specific house–a houseful of ghosts! Maybe at the end of the legacy, I’ll have the gen 10 heir earn the Best-selling Author reward trait, and she or he will write them all back into life!)

In the story of the game, it somehow fit. Jonah was not one to leave this world easily.

While Nicki introduced herself to Kareem, Magdalena had her own freak-out. She’d saved Jonah once, but the reality of him being gone hit her hard and woke up all her childhood demons. Complex PTSD is a rough thing.

But it helped having Kareem around, with his dreamy eyes, and melt-downs help, too. Plus, she knew that death was more of a transition into a new state of being, than the end. After all, her great grandma Kiana had always been there for her, and she was deader-than-a-door-nail, and always had been, as far as Magdalena was concerned.

Kareem couldn’t help smiling, even though he knew the family was deep in grief. Here he was, in Magdalena’s home, and it was even more amazing than he’d imagined. He felt honored, too, to be there on such a tough night. This is the thing that can bring people together, and he was going to draw on every bit of strength and goodness he possessed to be there for this girl he loved.

They sat together on her bed in the sleeping nook.

The grief crept up.

“I couldn’t save him this time,” she said. “Why was I reading? Why didn’t I hear them calling from the kitchen?”

Kareem’s smile seemed so out of place. But he couldn’t help it. She was so beautiful, even in grief.

Nicki came in to check on them.

“You doing OK, Magdalena?” she asked.

“Not really,” squeaked out Magdalena.

“I know it’s so hard,” Nicki said. I don’t know where she got the strength to comfort her daughter, when her own life had crumbled. “But we’ll get through it.”

For Kareem, this type of closeness, support, and love from a mother was something new, something he hadn’t experienced at home, with his own adoptive mother, who was more likely to relish than to comfort the pain of either of the kids she’d adopted.

But it made him cherish Magdalena even more, to see that she had this type of family built on support and comfort.

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