You Left So Soon (And I Still Miss You)

Charlyn Wee
Charlyn Wee

She was thin,
The kind of thin that’s painful to see.
The kind of thin that doesn’t come from exercising,
or genetics.
Her porcelain body began rejecting everything.
The most delicate little doll that I wanted to cradle,
rock her back and forth until her skin changed colors
and she could once again feel the earth beneath her.
I wanted her to stand with both feet on the ground,
plant herself like Artemis.
She would look like the warrior I knew she was,
A champion equipped with bows and arrows.
Her strength would be unmatched,
vanquish the intruders who had pillaged her land.
Uninvited evils trying to make her body their home.
I wanted it.
I wanted to see her beat them.

But she was so thin.

How could she win this battle alone when she wasn’t even six?

But the thing is,
she did.
She had done the fighting,
Kicking and clawing,
tooth and nail.
Just barely learning to spell her own name and already had learned
her way around a hospital hall,
The way her favorite RN smelled,
Chemo-induced pain.

I imagine when it became too much,
she closed her eyes,
Forgot it all.
And she’d drift into a Candy Land game with gum drops
And people made out of licorice.
Fairy princesses dancing through her closet,
pirouetting in her grey matter.
She mattered.
And in this fantasy,
nobody had Leukemia.
Even if you have to go back a few spaces,
the worst thing is you end up pacing in some gooey marshmallow pit for a bit.
But while you’re stuck, you can lick your hands,
Taste the sweetness.

No cancer.
No fucking cancer.

But her heart could not take the stress,
Her body may have had victory
against malignant forces,
But like a hummingbird,
the damage was too great.
And her wings formed
as her little heart beat
the last beat.
Maybe her beautiful soul was too much
for such a small body to take.

But I cannot believe these things happen for a reason.
I do not want to hear about God’s plan in this moment.
I do not want to hear about Heaven,
when she should be here.
She should be at school.
She should be complaining about having to be at school.
She never got her first kiss.
Or her first wish
that she hadn’t kissed
That boy,
Girl,
Or whoever broke her heart,
No,
Her heart gave out before it could even really have the chance to start.

My little Lily Bug,
I knew you so shortly.
But at night you whisper to me,
Your saucer like brown eyes,
Pinecones,
The kind I found on my 5th grade trip to Yosemite,
and kept them with me.
Because these two in particular had so much beauty,
Though at first glance they appeared like all the others.
I just knew they had a story,
A history.
Maybe they were the first pinecone generation to make it that far.
Maybe they had traveled from across the campsite
Or maybe they had hitchhiked all the way from
Nebraska
or Kentucky
or the southern part of California,
They did not look out of the ordinary.
But perhaps when you were first born,
Neither did you.
But Lilypad,
You are extraordinary.

And I carry you with me,
Each and every day.
October 25th, 2013
I could say an angel was formed.
But you were an angel long before that day,
And I see you when I sleep.
Not sure if it’s my mind wanting go back in time
Or maybe,
maybe,
Lily we’re together when I’m dreaming.
Maybe that’s how you come and say, “Hi.”
And we can be in a Candy Land game
And actually no,
we changed it in your name.
Now Lily-ville,
For the prettiest girl who didn’t make it to 6,
But I promise I will speak of your memory.
And keep you alive,
Because you,
Lily,
changed my life
The day that you died. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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