Sometimes I lay bed at night and as I drift off to sleep, I see you there in front of me. You are alive. I feel joy and happiness in your presence. I am innocent. Life has not been cruel to me. I am talking to you as if you never left, as if you are still here in this world. You look like you are at peace. All parts of you are whole. You have your leg. They didn’t amputate it. They saved your leg. This is truly a miracle from God.
Suddenly, I am pulled out of this alternate reality and I realize that I was merely dreaming. You are not here with me. You have moved on passed this life. They did amputate your leg. You did suffer and life has been cruel to me. I wonder if I am not the one in Hell. Forced to relive the pain of that night in September when you were taken from me. The pain is as real today as it was 20 years ago.
I close my eyes again. I take a deep breath. My eyes start to fill with tears. I hate you. You could have fought some more. Why didn’t you? Your mother says you made the choice that Monday morning. You were tired of suffering. You no longer wanted to fight for your survival. Did it even cross your mind that I would be in this much pain? That I would be consumed with so much sadness and grief? No, because you were selfish. They tell me you were at peace knowing that these were your last days on Earth but when they took you off the respirator, they say you no longer wanted to die. Good, because you weren’t meant to die. You were so young. Only 18 years old. But you did die. It was too late to change your mind. You should have continued your treatments. But you didn’t. Good, then die you coward.
The phone rings. It’s 1:30 in the morning. It’s September 28th, 1997. My sister picks up the phone. Dad says you died gasping for your last breath. Your soul is at peace now. My heart just stopped beating. I died with you on that night. I want to wake from this nightmare. It’s too painful to go on. Please wake me now. Why can’t I wake up? My tears are real. My pain is intense. You are no longer here with me. I can’t go on without you. I am sorry, you’re not a coward. Please come back. You still have more to teach me about life. I have so much to say to you. I am not ready to say goodbye.
You were like a brother to me. All I have left are the memories of you and I. You taught me that love and kindness are the keys to this life. It is all we have. But I don’t want to be kind to a world that has taken you from me. You should be here with me. Please come back. Can you hear me calling your name in the dark of night? Alone, I will not survive.
After 20 years, I still remember the last time I saw you alive. You and I were in your bedroom listening to music. I don’t remember what song and I don’t care because I can still see you there lying on your bed playing your black Fender guitar. I am sitting in a chair close to you. How I admire you. I never want to leave this place. It’s the last time I ever cared to live. Please let me go back. I don’t want to live without you. But I don’t have a say in this, do I? Screw this, I would rather be dead then here without you. God please take me to see him. I want to sleep. I am tired. I don’t ever want to wake up. But no, if I end it now, I won’t get to see him again, will I? I’ll go to Hell for this sin there is no doubt. So I’ll wait. I’ll wait for my heart to stop beating, for my last gasp for air. I will drift into the light as my soul escapes my body and we shall be reunited once again.
While I wait, I will continue what you started all those years ago. I will spread kindness throughout the world. I will help those who are struggling in life. I will support and encourage those who feel like giving up. For those who have lost hope, I will tell them to keep moving forward. You are here for a reason and it does get better. You are beautiful in every way. Every day is gift and a blessing, not a curse.
I must ask you for your forgiveness dear cousin. I did not understand my purpose. I was too consumed by grief and hate to see clearly. I see just fine now. I don’t hate you. I never did. It was just easier to hate you than to love you. You were stronger than I could ever be.
Your death was not the end. It was the beginning of my journey. I carry you with me every day. You are my blood. Your life runs through me. I will carry on in this life with you in my heart until one day we meet again my friend, my brother. I pray you are at peace.
Thank you for everything.
I love you.