Fandom: How I Met Your Mother
Word Count: 2,152
Characters/Pairings: Marshall, Lily, Ted, Robin, Barney, Judy Eriksen, Marshall/Lily
Spoilers: Up to Bad News.
Disclaimer: I don't own How I Met Your Mother and never will. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: A devastated Marshall struggles to accept what happened, while the group rallies around him and Lily.
When Marshall didn’t return, a worried Ted went outside to find him. He found his best friends sobbing in each other’s arms. “What’s wrong?”
Marshall couldn’t answer because he was crying so hard, so Lily answered for him. “Marshall’s dad died of a heart attack.”
“Oh God. I am so sorry, Marshall. Do you want us to do anything? Because we’ll help you any way we can.” Even though he was reeling from the news himself, Ted wanted to be there for Marshall and Lily. His friends needed him right now.
“We’re going to go home. I have to go to Minnesota. Where is a cab? This is New York! There are cabs all the time!” Marshall didn’t know what to do next.
Lily rubbed Marshall’s arm to calm him down even though she herself was falling apart while Ted went to get Robin and Barney. The two were still sobbing on the sidewalk when Barney flagged down a cab.
“Thanks, Barney.” Lily gave Barney a watery smile and then hugged him. Ted followed the two into the cab, while Robin and Barney got into another cab. They weren’t about to leave Marshall and Lily alone.
“Do you want us to call anyone?” Robin was in shock. An hour ago, they had been celebrating Marshall’s sperm and now his dad was dead.
“We’ll need to go to Minnesota as soon as possible. And we need to pack.” Lily was trying to calm down so she could be strong for her husband, but she couldn’t stop crying herself. That had been one of the worst phone calls of her life.
“Barney, get them their airplane tickets. I’ll pack your stuff. You guys don’t have to do a thing.” Robin gave both Marshall and Lily an encouraging smile and then hugged them.
“Thank you.” Marshall had stopped crying for the time being and was just staring at the wall. He was feeling numb. What was he supposed to do without his dad? Marshall had been right when he told Lily he wasn’t ready for this.
“You’re welcome, Marshall.” Robin headed towards Marshall and Lily’s bedroom while Barney went to find Marshall’s laptop.
“I’m going to call off work and go to Minnesota with you two. Do you mind?” Ted knew Marshall would be doing the same thing for him if he was in this position.
“We appreciate it, but maybe you should stay here. You have work. That’s important.”
“Marshall’s right, Ted. We appreciate the gesture so much, but you do have work.”
“You two are more important to me than work. I can take a few days off,” Ted assured them. He noticed Marshall was shutting down, and that really worried him.
Lily went into the bedroom to pack her stuff and relieve Robin from suitcase duty, while Ted and Barney tried their best to make Marshall laugh.
The next available flight to Minnesota was in four hours, so Marshall, Lily, and Ted had to leave for the airport immediately.
“Don’t worry about work. You’ll have bereavement leave. It lasts for two weeks.” Barney had no idea what to say. He hadn’t been exposed to this type of situation very often. He was floundering.
“We’ll see you in a few days,” Marshall told Barney and Robin dully. He was rooted in his spot before Lily grabbed his hand and made him follow Ted out of the apartment and into another cab.
“Marshall, it’s so good to see you, Baby.” Judy Eriksen’s eyes were bloodshot and it looked like she had been crying all night.
Marshall didn’t start crying. He was still feeling numb. “Hey, Mom. I can’t believe Dad’s gone.”
Judy exchanged a worried look with Ted and her daughter-in-law. Marshall seemed a little bit out of it. “I need help with the funeral arrangements. We want to get this out of the way as soon as possible.” She choked back a sob.
Lily and the other Eriksens quickly got to work on planning the funeral arrangements. Ted fielded calls from other relatives that were on their way. Marshall disappeared in the midst of all the confusion. Lily found her husband in Marvin’s wood shop.
“Marshmallow, you don’t have to be out here. Come inside with us.”
“Lily, my father’s dead. He’ll never get to meet his grandchildren from us. I just saw and talked to him the other day!” But Marshall still didn’t cry. He had cried upon first learning the news, but now he couldn’t feel anything. If he was thinking straight, Marshall would realize that wasn’t exactly normal.
“I know. Come on in. For me? Please?” Lily rubbed Marshall’s arm again and the two walked back into the Eriksen kitchen.
That night, Marshall and Lily went to bed around 11:00. Both of Marshall’s usually enthusiastic brothers had spent the entire night subdued. They had tried to discuss memories of Marvin, but Judy had put a stop to that. She didn’t want to laugh yet, which her sons were trying to make her do.
Lily fell asleep right away, but Marshall couldn’t sleep. His mind kept going back over the last few days. He thought about his final conversation with his father. Around 4:30, he finally drifted off. However, Marshall was up again by 6:30. He kept having nightmares about his father dying.
Judy was up cooking breakfast already, but Marshall refused to eat. He wasn’t hungry for once. “Did he suffer?” He didn’t know why he said that, but everything stopped. Even Judy – who was cooking to avoid thinking about her husband’s death – stopped what she was doing.
“No. He didn’t feel any pain at all,” Marvin Junior assured his brother. He slapped Marshall on the back of his head, but his younger brother didn’t even react. That worried him a lot.
“Marshall, why don’t we watch some TV?” Ted was starting to worry about Marshall even more than he already was. He had never seen his best friend act like this before, and it was utterly terrifying.
“I’m fine here, Ted. I don’t want to watch TV.” Marshall just wanted to sit in the chair and do nothing. That was a good plan.
Marshall didn’t sleep again that night, which freaked out Lily. She had woken up a few times during the night to find her husband just staring at the ceiling. The fact that he hadn’t cried since first hearing the news just ratcheted her worry.
By 7:00AM, the entire Eriksen family was up again. The first viewing to see Marvin’s body was at two, but no one could sleep. They walked around the house in a daze. Ted gave up on trying to make anyone laugh since nothing was working.
Around 1:30, the Eriksens arrived at the funeral home and waited for the mourners to arrive. It was going to be another long day for the family.
By the end of the night Marshall wished he was back in New York, that he didn’t have to deal with what was happening in his life at this moment.
“Marshall, I’m really worried. You haven’t shown any emotion or cried in days,” Lily told him before they went to bed that night.
“I’m fine, Lily,” he lied. He didn’t like lying to his wife, but he wanted her to stop bothering him. He was dealing with his father’s death in his own way.
“No you’re not! You’re falling apart at the seams and you think no one can tell, but we see what’s happening with you!”
“I’m numb okay? Are you happy now? I can’t feel a damn thing and I don’t know what to do because my dad’s dead!” Marshall hated that he was screaming, but at least he was feeling something. That was good, right?
“Marshall, that’s okay. And you know I’m not happy, but at least you’re talking to me. You’re like a robot now and none of us knows how to react around you.” Lily walked to her husband’s side and kissed him.
“I can’t sleep. And we have to bury Dad tomorrow.”
“I know, Baby.” Lily wanted to cry again for her husband. She hoped to never see him like this again. It made her feel sick.
Lily stayed up with Marshall and they just talked all night. If Marshall wasn’t going to sleep, Lily wasn’t going to sleep.
In the morning, they arrived at the church for the service. Lily and Ted left Marshall alone with Marvin to give him some time to grieve.
And for the first time in days, Marshall started to feel something. He broke and began sobbing. “Please come back. I love you. I need you, Daddy. Please, please come back. I’ll promise I’ll call and talk to you more. Please, Daddy, please.” He was aware that he sounded like a little kid, but he didn’t care at the moment. All he wanted was his dad back.
Lily rushed into the room and rubbed Marshall’s back. She started crying with him before herding him into the church for the service.
When they got to the cemetery, Marshall had a hard time leaving the casket. Ted, Lily, and his brothers had to forcefully drag him away.
“I have to go back to New York tomorrow. I’m sorry I couldn’t be here with you two more.” Ted was feeling extremely guilty that he couldn’t stay with Marshall and Lily anymore.
“You were here for the funeral and everything. That’s good enough,” Marshall assured his best friend. He would always be grateful to Ted for what he did for them.
“Take care of him, Lil,” Ted whispered to his friend after they hugged.
“I will,” Lily promised. She was going to be keeping a pretty watchful eye on her husband over the next few days.
Things went somewhat back to normal after Ted left the next day. Judy stopped cooking everything in sight since she was dealing with her grief in other ways.
“Remember that time we went sled riding and Dad ran into the tree?” Marvin Junior asked his siblings and mother.
Marshall laughed for the first time in days. And it actually felt nice. “I still can’t believe he didn’t get hurt! That was pretty awesome and hilarious.” And now that he was laughing, he couldn’t stop. Was that normal? He didn’t think so because Lily and his mom were sending him concerned looks.
“You okay, Marshall?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. Or at least I will be.” Marshall finally stopped laughing. He had to calm down. Laughing was not the right emotion right now.
“It’s okay to laugh.” Judy knew how important that was, and all she wanted was for her sons to start the grieving process. And if laughing helped, that was perfectly okay.
“It just doesn’t feel right to laugh.” Marshall felt guilty for being happy about something, even though it was a memory.
“Your mom’s right. Laughing isn’t wrong. You’re remembering good things about your dad and there’s nothing wrong with that.” Lily smiled and kissed her husband.
The Eriksens reminisced about Marvin for most of the day. By the time they got to bed, Marshall was exhausted. He actually fell asleep for the first time since he had learned of his father’s death.
Marshall and Lily stayed in St. Cloud for several more days and then flew home. They came back to find the apartment clean.
“We figured we’d help out so you didn’t have anything to do when you got back,” Robin explained to her friends.
“Thanks, Robin.” Marshall hugged her and then sat down on the couch.
“We’re so grateful for your help, you guys have no idea. Thanks for being there for us.” Lily hugged Ted, Robin, and reluctantly, Barney.
“No problem. You’d help us out if we were in the same position. It wasn’t a big deal.” Ted was glad he had flown with them to Minnesota. And it seemed like Marshall was doing a little better, so that was a plus.
Ted, Barney, and Robin soon left to give Marshall and Lily some space. It was nice for the couple since this was also the first time they would be alone in a week. They didn’t have to worry about anyone barging in on them.
Marshall started crying again for his father in the middle of the night after waking up from a nightmare. “I really wasn’t ready for this,” he sobbed.
Lily tried to calm him down. “I know you weren’t ready. You’ll be okay soon,” she soothed. She knew that he wasn’t going to be okay for a long time. Marshall and his father had been close and this wasn’t going to be easy.
Marshall would never fully recover from his father’s death, but it did get better. The birth of his and Lily’s son helped a little.
The death of a loved one was devastating, but Marshall would be okay as long as he had his family.