I used to think of death as a permanent loss, a hole recklessly cut into the fabric of a family, never to be sewn shut or repaired. But as I grow older and a little wiser, I know that the ones we lose aren’t ever really lost. The pain we feel is real, yes; I often want to turn back time like an old VCR and watch hours and hours of fuzzy film that used to be real life.
Now, while in the midst of perhaps the hardest part of my 20s, I look to you. I look to you for the courage I need to keep moving forward. I know the tears may never completely dry, and that’s okay.
I can see you in everything I do, in every place I go, in the claps of thunder outside my window, in the sound of my best friend’s laugh from miles and miles away. In the wind that rushes past, fluttering and floating and stopping just for a second, only to be gone in a heartbeat.
You’re not lost, but waiting to be found in the special moments.
You’re the exhilaration of starting over in a new place, of saying “I love you” for the first time, of realizing that home is not made of bricks and walls but of love and laughter and the feeling of finally belonging somewhere. You’re the sun, the moon, and stars, all at once, and I spend hours looking up in the sky, soaking up every last bit of you.
I see you in a daydream, or in a memory, or maybe both; they feel the same to me these days. Your smiles are sugary sweet and you wrap me in a hug that could cure any ailment. You kiss the top of my head and tell me how I’ve grown (I haven’t, but I nod and agree anyway). You tell me I’m beautiful and to never take these years for granted. I don’t, not anymore, not after losing so many people in such a short amount of time. I thought I would never heal, but as I begin to make a life for myself, the wounds don’t feel so tender anymore. I feel at peace with what’s happened, because I know that there was too much life inside you, and your bodies simply couldn’t contain it anymore. Everything beautiful eventually turns to dust.
You were an inseparable duo, even until the final days; she lost her memories and he had to watch in agony as more and more of her slipped away. Death doesn’t discriminate, and I regret not calling you or writing you back like I should’ve. I should’ve done more for you. I didn’t know what I had until it slipped right through my fingers. I shiver as I write these words. You lived your lives to the fullest, and I can’t think of a couple more loved than you.
My life still isn’t any easier without you in it, but I’m grateful for the years and years I spent with you. You two watched me grow up. You helped shape me into the strong, stubborn, independent person I am today, and I still can’t look at a picture of the three of us without losing my senses. Those cold February days and humid June nights are etched in my memory forever…I loved you more than you could ever know.
Whenever I see a cardinal fluttering by, I know it’s you, two of the people who love me most in the world, and I smile and laugh. You lived–you really lived.