Can't be Really Gone
By Tammy
Story based on the song of the same title sung by Tim McGraw.

The door swung open and Walker slowly entered the house. Stepping up was a little difficult with the crutches but he managed. Wincing slightly in pain he was trying hard to remember that the doctor had told him the metal rod they had put in his femur was going to allow the bone to heal a lot faster than if they had put a cast on it. Dr. Howard had also said he would probably have a permanent limp, something else he would have to live with. Still unsure of himself he watched every step and he made his way into the living room. Making his way to the couch he lowered himself and stretched out trying to ease the pain both physically and emotionally.

"Walker, I brought in your bag. Where do you want me to put it?" Trivette asked, he too in a state of emotional pain.
"Upstairs, in the bedroom." He listened to his partners footsteps ascending and descending, and finally into the living room to offer further assistance.
"Are you going to be all right?" Trivette asked concerned for his partner, his best friend. He wanted to help but wasn't sure how. Alex was the one Walker was able to lean on...but she was gone. Neither of them were sure how to handle the situation.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I'll call you if I need something." Walker's reply was somber and matter of fact. he knew Trivette wanted to help but he just needed to be alone, to put his grief in perspective.
"I'll be back to see you tomorrow morning."
"Okay, and...thanks for everything." Trivette nodded and Walker watched him walk toward the door and heard it open and shut.

He was exhausted, hadn't slept since the accident. Closing his eyes he pictured her. The bright blue eyes, the golden hair and radiant smile, just like the day they had met. He could still remember how she smelled and the way her kisses felt on his lips.

Bright lights filled the car as Walker prepared for the collision. Screams pierced the night air and then silence. The impact was head on and had pushed the dash onto his lap. His head hit the steering wheel as glass flew from every direction. He looked to his seat next to his, Alex...her limp...lifeless form was slumped over the dash and half way through the windshield. He reached his arm over trying to touch her just as his world went black.

Another bright light and noises were heard everywhere. Opening his eyes he squinted under the brightens and through the extreme pain. A hospital...doctors...nurses...were everywhere. Once again he was in darkness, only to wake fully in a private room. Trivette was sitting in the chair to his right and Walker could see the anguish in his eyes.
"Hey partner." Trivette said standing and moving closer.
"Alex?" He remembered her lifeless figure and had to know she was all right, but he could read it in his partners eyes...she was gone.
"I...can't say it...Walker...she...she went instantly."

Walker bolted awake, beads of perspiration trickled down from his forehead. He hoped the nightmares would stop, unsure how much more he could take. Reaching down he picked up his crutches and decided to take a shower.

Making his way to the stairs he stopped short. Her briefcase laid on the dining room table, opened with papers laid out. She had been preparing for a huge case. He had insisted they go out to dinner.
"Alex, how often do I make reservations for us to go out to eat?" He had argued that night as she tried to insist she had work to get done. With that one statement she stopped immediately, nothing that he was right. Now he would have to give the papers to her replacement.
Stopping in the kitchen he got a glass of water. Setting the glass in the sink he picked up the coffee mug already there. Alex's the one he had bought for her years earlier, before he had committed himself to her. For some reason she had kept it. In fact she had rarely drank from any other.

It was so hard for him to think of her gone. Everywhere he turned there were signs of Alex. She had arranged the kitchen to her liking and her cooking apron hung from the hook on the door to the pantry.

He knew the kitchen was just the beginning, the real test would be their bedroom. Reluctantly he ascended the stairs, stopping outside the door he willed himself to enter. Her soft scent permeated the air and his eyes filled with tears. Going to the bed he sat and his head fell into his hands as he sobbed for the love of his life.

Pulling himself together he noted her book lying on the stand, next to the lamp. Parenthood he silently read. They had decided to start a family and she had gone out and bought "the book". Now the ranch would remain void of children.

The steamy shower eased some of the tension. Hot water ran down each defined muscle as he tried to clear his thoughts. Somehow he was going to get through this pain. It had been so long since he had lost anyone close, yet the combined pain of those didn't come close to what he was feeling presently. Her vacant eyes would haunt him for a long time.
Getting dressed took him longer than normal as he gained balance trying not to put his full weight on the bad leg. Taking the crutches he headed back down the stairs.

The sun was setting and casting shadows through the room. Walker turned on the lamp before moving back to the couch. He remembered buying the lamp only a few years earlier. They weren't married, yet, but Alex had asked if she could start adding a few touches to the ranch. This lamp had only been the beginning. Over the years of their marriage she had brought new wall hangings, potpourri, scented candles, new rugs and well a lot more than he had realized. Now she was a part of the house, every part of it had her special touch...everywhere...everything.

He couldn't sleep in their bed. The very thought of waking up without her was too hard to bear. Never again would they make love or watch the setting sun. Loving her had been so easy, she had been so giving and so understanding.

Sitting up he knew what he needed to do. Originally he thought he would wait for Trivette to take him out there, but if he wanted a peaceful sleep he had to say goodbye. He had gotten permission to lay her to rest on the ranch. Because of his injuries he hadn't been allowed to attend the service, but he told Trivette the spot.

Going out behind the house he slowly made his way to the hill overlooking the river. A full moon, rising over the horizon guided him and he spotted the headstone reflecting the light. For a few minutes he stared at the headstone hoping it would help him accept her death.

" darling Alex." He started as the tears once again swelled in his eyes. "Oh God...Alex...why? I don't know how to do this, you were my life for so long, I have forgotten how to be alone. Before we met I had that huge wall up and yet somehow, you knocked it down. I love you so much and fear I never showed you or told you enough. I was always making jokes about serious things...thinking we had time...that I would have time to make up for it. you're gone...Alex...oh my dear sweet Alex. you were the light of my life the meaning I had come to rely on...and I just donít know how to get through this. I fear I'll never feel whole again. Every room...every scent...everything reminds me of you. I would do anything to know you knew how much I loved you."

"Walker..." He turned and was stunned by the sight. There she was, his Alex standing next to him. "Oh Walker...I never doubted your love for me. You are the most giving and caring man I ever knew. Being married to you was the best thing to ever happen to me. You are a very strong individual and can do this. I won't ever be far from you, always in your heart. But dear sweet have to let me go."

"I don't know how."

"Yes you do. Walker, life was complete being with you. Loving you was the bright spot in my life, but now you have to say goodbye."

Looking again into her eyes he reached up and touched her face. He couldn't form the words, could only nod his head. Finally after several silent moments he spoke..." I will always love you, Alex."

"I will always be with you."

The sun shone brightly through the east window. Blinking Walker sat up and found himself upstairs in his bed. Bewilderment filled him as he tried to remember how he had gotten up there. Last he remembered he had gone out to...she had been there. Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed he pulled his sweats on. Taking his crutches he headed back out to her grave.

As he made his way to the path he noted three pairs or footprints in the soft soil. One set going out and two sets coming back. "Hey pard." Walker was startled at the sound of Trivette's voice. "What's
going on?"

"I'm not sure, Trivette." He replied turning towards his partner. "How about we go inside and I'll tell you." The two headed back and Walker knew his grief was beginning to heal. Letting her go had been harder than anything he had ever done. But he knew she would always be with him in his heart. The process would be lengthy but he would get through it.