I tell stories about you all the time.
Sometimes, I remember to use the past tense — that was your favorite drink, that was the song you loved to dance to, that was the type of car you drove.
But sometimes, it slips my mind and I speak in present tense. I still refer to your house as your house, even though someone else is living there now. I still celebrate your birthday. I still talk to you, even though my words are aimed at the sky instead of a phone.
I think a part of me still believes that you’re alive. I think a part of me refuses to accept that you’re gone.
And that’s okay with me.
But I hate the way that people look at me when I talk about you, like they need to find a way to change the subject, like the pain is still too fresh in my mind, like it’s dangerous for me to speak your name.
I don’t want you to become some taboo subject, something that my friends avoid like the plague. I want to keep telling stories about you. I want to keep talking about you like you’re still alive.
I’m not crazy. I know that you’re gone. I accept that you’re not coming back. I’m past my denial phase.
But I’m not going to tear up your pictures and push your memories to the back of my mind, because it hurts to think of you. Yes, there’s pain associated with you, but there’s also happiness mixed in.
I never want to forget you. I never want to lose the moments we shared.
So I’m sorry if my honesty makes other people uncomfortable, if they would rather have me lock your name away and talk about a lighter subject — but I’m never going to stop mentioning how hard you made me laugh, how beautiful your smile looked, how much advice you gave to me that I still follow to this day.
I’ve reached the point where I can talk about you without bursting into tears — and even if I end up hitting a nerve, even if I cry — so what? What does it matter? I’m not ashamed that I love you, that I miss you.
If someone else can’t handle such raw emotion, if they tiptoe around your name, it’s their problem. I won’t apologize for being human.
I’m never going to forget you and I’m never going to stop talking about you.
I love you, and it doesn’t matter that you’re gone, because I’m going to keep your memory alive. I swear it.