33 The final goodbye

A few days after they cleansed the lake Aisling walked down to take a look . The company that was filtering the water had stopped by the house to let her know some of the water was ready to be pumped back in. She was amazed at the difference in how it looked and smelled. There was some sprouts of grass coming up and the rancid smell was gone. Watching the water being returned to the lake watching life return. She smiled thinking about how happy Onacona would be to see everything coming back to the way it should be. The contractor walked over to her.

" here is the key to the storage buildings that has everything locked away. There were a few motorcycles in there some real nice ones . They would be antiques now if they could be fixed up they could be worth something. There were a number of valuables that had been thrown in there. Since the property belongs to you these things are now yours. " he hands her the Keyes and lets her know that they will be back with the other tanks of water that needs to be filtered. He waves bye at her. She walked over to the foundation of Onacona's cabin. There she found the stone fire place still stood . Looking at it touching it she could feel him there. She walks around touching everything that he may have touched. Sitting in front of the fire place she closed her eyes and thought about what he would have wanted . As if thinking of him would bring him to her. A warmth overcame her as if the sun was shining right on her. She looks up and she is inside of a cabin looking around she sees him. He is sitting in a chair making a bow. She hears him singing it's the lullaby that she has heard every time she had a bad dream. A woman comes over and sits beside him her stomach heavy with child.

" Brother you know it will be a long while before this child can use this. When are you going to look for a wife?" Looking at her brother with great affection Daisy wish he would get married and have a life of his own.

" I'm not , I had a vision before you married your husband that I would die in a beautiful place. Surrounded by your family. I am happy as I am . I want my home to always be filled with laughter and love. I will live happily both now and in my afterlife surrounded by my family . The family you have given me. " he touches his sisters stomach to feel the baby kick.

Aisling feels someone touch her shoulder. Looking up with the sun behind him she asks

"Onacona is that you?" With a chuckle Inola sits beside her.

" no child it's just me. When you didn't return I became worried. Why are you sleeping here?" He looks at the beauty of this spot.

" I wasn't sleeping exactly. I had a vision I guess I was watching Onacona he was sitting there making a bow . The cabin was so warm my grandmother was with him. She was pregnant and teasing him about having a family of his own. He told her that he had a vision of his death and that he was here with her surrounded by the family. I know what he would want now in my heart I know. Will you help me please?" She pleads with him to help her . She wants this to be perfect and something she thinks that will bring happiness to everyone.

"Of course I will do whatever you need tell me what you want. " he is very interested in what she wants to do.

"I want to clear and clean up here where his cabin was . I want to keep the fireplace so that at night we can light it and enjoy nights here. I want to build a type of covered kitchen . You know a place we can hold celebrations . We can plant trees and flowers like what I saw in my vision. I want a place that the family can come together. If I could I would rebuild the cabin. I don't think the elders will allow that. I want Onacona to be surrounded by the family like he envisioned. I want to place his remains here . I know to do that he will need to be cremated but instead of spreading his ashes to the wind. I want to mix them with the Earth and let him forever be here where he was happy. Will that be ok ?Will it go against tradition to much?" She tells him what she wants her voice cracking with tears threatening at any point.

" you know we believe that upon our death our spirit no longer resides in the body. That this body is meant to go back to the Earth. What you want to do goes hand in hand with that. I think it's beautiful what you want to do and it shows great respect for your beloved ancestor." He gives her a hug and stands taking her hand he tells her it's time to go back.

Debra was at the house when she arrived back. She burst into tears as soon as she saw her. Hugging her sister tight.

" I missed you so much . I'm so happy it over. I was so afraid you would not be able to be in the delivery room with me. "

Aisling looks at her sister and hugs her again.

"I would not have missed the birth of my precious niece or nephew. " looking at her rubbing her belly to feel the baby move.

"So how much longer do we have?" She looks at Debra and smiles as the baby kicks her hand.

" two weeks if I haven't gone into labor by then . They will induce me. " she waffles over to take a seat at the table.

" uncle Steve filled us in when he came to pick up Aunt He Jin . I think they are going to go for a few days to the hunting lodge just the two of them. He says they need some alone time after what you put him through. Though he didn't go into exact detail. Just told us about Daniel and the horrible things he did. Looks like you got your wish and the elders could do nothing about it. Though uncle Steve and John had already been trying to get the Aunties to change their minds before all of this. So what are you going to do with the stuff they found?" Watching Aisling closely.

" I will have to decide that once I see what is in the buildings. The uncles have already told me that whatever it is no matter if it valuable or not it's mine. Only mine that even though I put the families feelings first they have no claim on anything. So once I see what's there I will decide. " Aisling hears the phone ring going to answer it. It is the medical examiner's office letting her know they can release the remains . She asked them about cremation. The girl told her they can send them to be cremated but it would take a few weeks. Aisling made the arrangements for Onacona's remains.

The next few weeks were somewhat uneventful. The water to the lake had been cleaned and put back in the blockages that kept the stream flowing into the lake and out was fixed and cleaned. Aisling gathered everyone in the family and told them her plans. She contacted the federal agents and asked him to find out if any of the victims were missing any jewelry she wanted to see if any of the pieces found in the lake belonged to any of them so she could return them. She asked Terry to track the owners of the bikes to rent urn them. She had the rest cleaned and appraised. The temporary buildings were returned and the pools were taken away. The aunties and cousins set out to start planting the flowers and clearing the cabin area. By the time Onacona's remains were returned to the family all was cleaned and ready. In an area beside the fireplace that had been repaired and made into a focal point of the picnic area . There was a heart shaped flower bed there was lavender ,camomile, Cherokee roses ,bear root, lady slippers. In the center is a small box . Inola and Aisling take the box and open it inside is a urn they mix the contents with the earth. Inola and Salali sing a song in Cherokee. When Aisling finishes mixing the two together reverend John starts to speak.

" I need to say a large thank you to Astila,Salali and Inola for without them these last two months we would have been lost. We are here today to finally return our ancestor Onacona. In tradition of the Cherokee we are returning him to the Earth . Where he can nourish it and his spirit can be at rest. Here on the property that he bought to be close to his sister and family. We are that family and we will be here to celebrate his life and be grateful for the love he gave so that we could be better. " with a prayer Aisling planted a fern in the ground mixed with Onacona's remains. After planting the fern she went to the lake side and threw a bunch of water lily seeds into the lake. And bent down to wash her hands.

" god thank you for your grace and love . Thank you for sending Onacona to me . Please let everything grow and purify this land completely. " with that she begins to sing Amazing Grace as she motions for the family that it's time to eat.

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When the sun begins to set and most of the relatives have left Astila comes up behind Aisling and wraps his arms around her.

" it was beautiful and he would be so proud of you . You and Inola did an amazing job today. Do you think we can have our wedding here. Remember I have it on great authority that we are not only going to get married but that we are going to have a very special child. " Aisling turns and kisses him not caring who is watching. "

Absolutely I could not get married without the person who guided you to me. "

Debra yells at that moment and tells Sam that they need to get to the hospital that the baby is coming.

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