Hello there. You seem a bit uneasy. Look around, and let me explain.
This is your funeral. I am your funeral. This is your casket. I am your casket, the black balloons, the flowers placed strategically around the room. One flowerpot per five square feet, like your brother ordered. This is the scientifically proven amount of flowers to keep grieving people at a calm level. These flowers are the happy facade behind which grief lies. These flowers are pretty deceit. I am the crying faces, begging to talk to you one last time. I am every tissue that will be picked up and disposed of by the janitors after the grievers return to their lives.
I am your death. I am your last breath, your last sentence, the cancer you battled with for the last three years of your life. I am every doctor’s appointment, every shot that left you bedridden for the next two days. I am every particle of hair you watched go down the drain in the shower. I am every strange look, uncomfortable glance you received. I am all the tears shed after your diagnosis, and every benefit held in your honor. I am every sacrifice your family made to attempt a wall of happiness around your sickness.
I am the birth of your only grandson, the beautiful boy of your only beautiful girl. I am the scary morning spent in the waiting room of the hospital. I am every doubt you and your wife had about your grandson’s condition. I am the condition that made him two months premature. I am his three weeks spent in an incubator, and the formula he was fed to stay alive. I am the relief your family felt when your daughter and grandson were released, both completely healthy. I am your grandson’s first, second, third, fourth birthdays.
I am your retirement. I am the completion of your life’s most well-known activity and purpose. I am the years you now plan on traveling and raising your future grandchildren. I am the mornings you will now spend waking up next to your wife, the woman you’ve been married to for thirty years now, your best friend. I am the breakfast you will make her in bed and the organizations you plan to join in all your free time. I am your old cat you will sit on your porch and pet. I am the party and the gifts you were given, and the flat, insincere Happy Retirement cards that were obligatorily sent to you by your co-workers. I am this last milestone of your life.
I am your daughter’s high school graduation. I am the lip-biting your wife partook in as she walked up and shook hands with the principal. I am her boyfriend, who sat beside you two and joined in the clapping, eyes watering for the girl he loved. I am the marriage they would agree to and abide by for the rest of their lives. I am every late night she was out, every test she was nervous about. I am the teacher who called you complaining about her lack of organization. I am the cat she brought home one year, promising to take care of. This cat outlived even you.
I am the day you met your wife. I am the book section of the retail store you both were perusing. I am your heart beating quickly as she smiled, and your hand sweating in your pocket. I am the beauty you saw in her. I am the money you saved up at your after-school job and the Italian restaurant you took her to for your first date, and I am the city in Italy you took her to for your honeymoon. I am the mistakes you both made and all the hours spent awaiting forgiveness.
I am the loss of your virginity. I am the party you mistakenly went to, and the alcohol you mistakenly drank. I am the girl who mistakenly came into the bathroom and held your hand while you puked. I am the drug she took prior to walking in, and the bed she led you to. I am the feeling you were given in the morning, the feeling of the realization of loss versus gain.
I am your childhood. I am your first few friends. I am the bone in your foot, broken by a nasty fall. I am the bridge you were playing on and the cast you wore for a month. I am the day you learned how to whistle and the day you learned how to read. I am every birthday party you have ever been given, and every candle you blew out. I am your first word, your first step.
I am your first breath. I am the decision your mother made to keep you. My how easily all of this could have never been.
I am all the sadness you have ever felt, and I am all the joy. And it has all led up to this day. This funeral, this event catered by a food company and paid for by the government and a savings account made for this day. I am that government you lived under, and that savings account you worked so hard for.
And as of today, I am just a memory. I am simply the memory of your life. I am simply the collection of days and days and years, and times. And now, I am gone.