It doesn’t matter that it’s been years since you’ve passed away. It doesn’t matter that half of the people that are now in my life have never even met you. I still think about you all the time. I still wish you were here. After all, everything would be so different if you were still alive.
Of course, when I say “everything,” I don’t actually mean everything. Chances are, I’d still be living under the same roof and working the same job. I’d still be dating the same boy and taking care of the same dog. Only little things would change, but the little things mean the most.
If you were still alive, I wouldn’t have to push the happy memories away, because they’re too painful to replay in my head. I’d just think of them and smile, and then pick up the phone to give you a call.
If you were still alive, I’d have one more person to introduce my boyfriend to. One more person to embarrass me with awkward stories about my childhood. One more person to welcome him into our fucked up family.
If you were still alive, then there would be one more voice cheering over the fireworks on Fourth of July. One more voice yelling at the baseball game and one more voice singing along to whatever bullshit song popped on the radio.
If you were still alive, there would be one less tattoo adorning my body. One less date that made me burst into tears every single year. Your birthday would be the only date that reminded me of you, and we’d have a hell of a good time celebrating.
If you were still alive, there’d be one more person for me to call whenever I needed a designated driver. One more person to scream at me for acting like an irresponsible kid. One more person to make me feel like I’d be missed if anything ever happened to me.
If you were still alive, there would be one more invitation to send out for my wedding. One more person to dance with when The Electric Slide flooded through the speakers. One more person to tear up and tell me how happy they are for me and my new hubby.
If you were still alive, I’d have one more person to show around my new apartment. One more person to dog-sit for me during weeklong vacations. One more person to tell me that they’re proud of everything I’ve become.
If you were still alive, I wouldn’t have to talk to you through prayers or through my dreams. I could send you a text or write you a letter or just show up on your front step in the middle of the goddamn night, and you’d be happy to listen.
If you were still alive, I wouldn’t have pushed certain people away. I wouldn’t be as pessimistic and cold as I am now. I wouldn’t be so terrified of losing someone again, someone I care about as much as you.
But if you were still alive, I might not have realized that the whole “live each day like it’s your last” mindset is legit. That I need to treasure every moment while I still can and tell my family I love them as much as possible.
As much as I miss you, I’m thankful for what you taught me while you were here, and what you’re continuing to teach me now that you’re gone.
Holly Riordan is the author of the book If You Were Still Alive.