I thought I lost you because they buried you under six feet of soil. I remember standing there with my heels sinking into the ground and thinking about how you would have felt claustrophobic. I wanted to dig you up and pour my own life into you because the idea of going on without you felt like a real sad joke told at a wake: nobody really laughs but everyone does their best to smile anyway.
I thought I lost you so I did worse things to myself than you would have been proud of. I think maybe I just wanted to feel something other than that dull ache, you know? It felt like maybe instead of a graveyard, they had torn a hole in my soul. You just weren’t there anymore. You weren’t there when the grades started slipping, you weren’t there for the missed classes, you weren’t there for the friends who were more like bullies, you weren’t there to stop me from taking that ninth tequila shot, you weren’t there to hold my hair back, you weren’t there to take me home on the nights I was too sad to party but too weak to say no, you weren’t there with your familiar warmth and the curve of your smile. You were just gone.
I didn’t find you until two years later when a little girl fell down and her knee bled across her shin and she said, “Don’t be sad, stuff like this happens.” I didn’t find you until I watched little baby birds peck their way into this life. I didn’t find you until I was sober and tired and ready to go home when I found a girl passed out on the sofa, too drunk to stand up. I got her showered and warmed up and back to her room and she looked at me and said, “I’m a stranger, why would you help me?” and I felt you right beside me for once in forever and I said, “Because I can.”
We don’t die, we pass on. We pass on. Your smile lives in the sunrise and your heartbeat pounds in good music. If I rap against a guitar, I can hear the crack of your knuckles. You’re the reason I am strong and kind and patient because you’re the one who taught me to be that way. You’re in the grass and in the wind and every time I see something beautiful, I find you in it.
I miss you more than poets could make sound pretty. But I’m gonna keep living so your story continues, no matter how bad the pain gets. I’m gonna pass this heart you gave me to every person I meet on the street. I’m gonna give them what you gave me. I’m gonna do my best to make them happy.
This is the closest I can give you to eternity.