You live in me. I often forget that when I am missing the call that never comes, the conversation we can’t continue.
I think of death as a blunt edge, the sudden stop when everything ends, the plunge into black. But when I look back, you died a lot of deaths: the first time you could not swallow, the first time you could not stand, the first time someone looked at you as if you’d already gone, the day you became a number rather than a person, when the word Cancer grew bigger than you.
I remember how I got up on that last morning and knew you had already gone, leaving a rasping breath rattling through an empty face.
I would not have known you. You had emptied out, vacated, long gone after holding on so long. The final death seemed almost irrelevant. I don’t know when your heart stopped, when that last line was crossed, but I am glad I was holding your hand. I am glad I held you and sat with you until the warmth went out, though I was already honouring your memory rather than saying a last goodbye.
You slipped away but of course you had split into me decades before, made my arrival your little escape, your new adventure. You always told me I was one of the best things you’d ever done and I know you meant it with the weight of all the others words you couldn’t find to say, with the knowledge of the other lives you chose not to live.
There is something wonderful about knowing I am a limited edition, one of just three, your best creations, all you are poured out and repackaged.
There is so much of me in you that sometimes I have to laugh at the idea of missing you.
When I talk to people you fill me with your smiles, that natural ease that falls in love with a little bit of everyone and makes them feel they are that single centre point of a turning world. I tell people my universal flirtaciousness is who I am, but what I really mean is that it is who you are. I find you in my focus.
When I love longer that sense, reason or logic would allow, when my love stretches over anger and wrong and carries on running the distance afterwards, I know I have your loyalty. I inherited your sense of passion. It rages, rows and then forgives everything simply because it loves.
I sometimes wish that piece of you would let me quit a little sooner, give me a little more peace! But when I give more than my head says I should, when I would rather run empty than not share, I know you are with me. Even when its not smart I know you would still understand.
When my chin tilts up at opposition, when I feel my blood boil, I know I have your temper, your mile-wide stubborn streak. I try to tame it just a little. I don’t think I can work berserker quite like you do and it wouldn’t be smart at my size!
When I just can’t help but pick the harder path, the tougher road, I know you would be advising me against it, but smiling, knowing I’ve chosen as you would. You always had more spirit than sense…
When I wonder if anyone else looks at the world like I do, when I feel like I see what others don’t, I understand how alone you sometimes felt. You called yourself a prophet, said you saw through other eyes. It was always almost a joke but now I think I see its substances. It doesn’t take a burning bush in the desert to be inspired with ideas that almost ought to set the world alight.
I know I am gentler, calmer. Where you detached I connect. It is amazing that I am somehow something new but sprung from you. I am wholly you, yours and yet not. In me, you are always with me. I’m thankful.