Your Death Still Doesn’t Feel Real

woman mourning over death
Unsplash / Freestocks

I’ve cried over you. I’ve been to your funeral. I’ve watched your loved ones crumble to pieces in front of me.

But those memories don’t feel real. Your death doesn’t feel real.

It feels like you’re just away on vacation. Like you’re out of town. Like you’re going to be back eventually, so there’s no reason for me to worry.

I think it’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around your death, because it doesn’t make any sense.

You weren’t old enough to pass away peacefully in your sleep. You weren’t even close to the age where a phone call about your death would be expected.

And, since you weren’t old in age, it’s impossible to say that you’re in a better place now. That you’re finally at peace. Those cliches make zero sense, because you were never suffering. You were okay. You were happy.

You didn’t do anything to cause your death. You didn’t overdose. You didn’t drink yourself to death. You didn’t encourage the reaper to come find you.

You didn’t do anything wrong this time. It just happened. Without warning.

Your death still doesn’t feel real, because it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. You weren’t supposed to pass away before your own dad did. You weren’t supposed to put your family through this kind of pain.

Your death still doesn’t feel real, because it’s the most unfair thing I’ve ever experienced.

It’s unfair that you struggled through so much, that you found the strength to get through your worst days, to overcome your demons, and finally made it through to the other side — but you died anyway. You died, even after saving yourself. You died, even after turning your life around.

Your death was complete and utter bullshit.

It’s bullshit that such a strong, kind heart stopped beating. It’s bullshit that someone lost a brother, someone lost a son, someone lost a nephew, someone lost a cousin. It’s fucking bullshit.

Your death still doesn’t feel real, because you were just there. You were just texting my mother. You were just planning to see your father. You were just in the present tense and I can’t stomach the thought of you being reduced to the past tense. I can’t stomach the thought of never seeing you again.

Your death still doesn’t feel real, because I don’t let myself think about it. Not in detail. I try not to remember the words your family said during the funeral. I try not to imagine the way you must have looked as you were taking your last breaths.

Your death still doesn’t feel real, because it can’t be real. Something this shitty can’t be real. I don’t want to believe that the world is so cruel. That it’s so unforgiving.

But it is. As much as I try to deny it, you’re really gone. And I don’t know how I’m ever going to deal with that. TC mark

Holly Riordan is the author of Lifeless Souls, available here.

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