It was quarter to ten in the morning, seven days ago.
I didn’t get to hear the words. All I saw were the faint black letters framing the reality that, this time, you weren’t going to wake up.
I think that’s the first time I ever truly registered the fragility of life; the fact that one day someone is there, and the next their whole existence is vanished. That each person carries their own little light, and one day it’s snuffed out.
There are people out there, everywhere, living and breathing; their cheeks flushed with the warmth of life passing through each arteriole. They’re here. But the colours ran from your face. You got cold. You went somewhere, and I’m really not sure where it is.
Because losing someone through bereavement is not like a break up or your father leaving or your best friend moving across the world. There is no off-chance of bumping into them at the supermarket or seeing a picture of them on holiday with their new girlfriend. It’s the incomprehensible reality of realising that their presence will never touch your future. It’s realising that you can’t go and call them when you’ve had a bad day; it’s coming to realise that there will be a seat missing at Christmas.
It’s somehow turning someone who was once there, touching you, into a memory. It’s turning someone who once sang and loved and hoped into something that once was, and now no longer is.
Because you’re not going to see me go to university. You’re not going to hear how my exams are doing. You’re not going to be on the phone, reminding me to be careful and look after myself. You’re not going to see me fully grow up; you’re not going to see how I turn out.
But I know that you’re with him, and that you’ve been waiting for the day to once again be in his arms after this past decade. And I know that you are there, somewhere, still calling for me to keep going; to not use this as a reason to break down and give up, but to reach my dream: to just get these grades. And you’re smiling.
Because just like the pictures of us lined your bed, your memory and love and presence now lines each of our days.
I’m sorry that I can’t be there when they take you away. I’m sorry I can’t wave goodbye.
But I don’t need a church to give you my peace. I don’t need a eulogy to remember your spirit. I don’t need to wear black to remember how empty I feel that you are no longer in the world.
Instead, I’ll be making you proud in that exam room. Because you will be right there with me. Just like you always have been.
Sleep well beautiful. You finally deserve some rest.