She saw the look in Thomas’s eyes and she knew what had happened. She saw the heartbreak that echoed her own but at the same time was so much stronger–and so much weaker–than Irma could ever properly feel. “Oh,” she whispered, “Oh. Oh.”
Thomas stepped forward, and Irma pulled herself carefully to her feet. He grabbed her tightly and held her in a hug, practically crushing her into his chest. The doctors probably would have protested if they weren’t so stunned into silence by the heartbreak taking place in front of them.
“He loved you. He loved you. He loved you.” It was a chant, over and over again. Thomas murmured it into her head, squeezing her just a little tighter every time he said the word ‘loved.’ It hurt, but at the same time, it was a comfort to have that contact.
He continued through the chant, and Irma began to sob, properly sob. She’d known from the second that she’d laid eyes on Thomas, but it was just now starting to sink in. Brian, her love, her husband, the father of her child, was gone. Not just dead but truly and properly gone. She’d never see him again. Never.
“He loved you,” Thomas said once more, and kissed her on the top of her head. She stopped sobbing, but she was still shaking. She head Nessa say somthing to Thomas, and he replied with “okay” but it came through a fog in her head and didn’t seem real to her.
When she finally pulled herself together enough to step away from Thomas without feeling like she was going to shake apart, it was hours later than she thought it was, and she and Thomas were alone. “Oh. Thomas. No, you should be with Nessa, or Ciara. I don’t want to step on your mourning. You don’t have to stay with me.” Irma rattled off quickly.
Thomas shook his head for a moment, and watched her. Irma could see the gears turning in his head as he thought of what to say. “Nessa understands. Ciara understands. If there was anyone who loved Brian as much as they do–as much as I do–it’s you. We need to stick together and help each other as much as we can. I think–I hope—that’s what Brian would want from us.” Even as Irma nodded in agreement, she felt herself start to shake again. Thomas wordlessly pulled her back into the hug.