My world doesn’t make as much sense without you in it, like I’ve been left to finish a game without knowing the rules. Death is so many things, but mostly it feels unfair and impossible. A reality in which you don’t exist to love us as fiercely as you did, doesn’t feel like reality at all. There was so much more for you to show me, wisdom you so readily imparted on me throughout my life. You have left me to navigate the winding unchartered paths alone – without the light of your wisdom. All of our worlds were being held together with bricks you laid so carefully, gently, with purpose and love. These walls are quickly crumbling and I don’t know how to get a grasp on a proper adhesive to hold them up.
You would know. You could have told me.
You’ve taken a piece of my heart with you. It beats differently now in the absence of your voice, your warmth, your embrace. I just wish you’d known it was already yours – because you loved me, because you loved others who loved me. Your love transcends and transfers from one life to the next. I want so desperately to be present with you, sipping coffee on your porch looking out across the California or Texas sky. One last bear hug or cup of coffee or kiss in my ear. I wish to feel your love wash over me again for even a moment, knowing full well it would never be enough.
What will I do when your footprints wash away and scent fades from your sweaters? For now my sleep is stalked by vivid dreams of you and me together again, as if you had never left my side; the memory of you bursting with all the colors I always saw you in. I will hold onto the memory I’ve constructed of you in my mind, for as long as I can, because it’s all that I have. But when the day comes, when the vibrancy of you has drifted and the imprint fades – well, I dread that day with all the heart that I have left.
The rain is all but drizzling through me
in the same way your thoughts course
from your lips to my palms
I will find you here, in the place where
you now stay and will remain forever.
The after, and the before.
the accessible and the invisible.
You appear to me
and I am reminded that you
are a figment of my heart
willing your presence to be
as tangible as you always were.
This is the after.
I’ve yet to become acquainted with it,
still feeling the vacancy
of the before.
The place I can never again visit.
I will not find you there
no matter how desperately I long to.
I would like to stay awhile in
the memory of you.
So that I might take with me
all we once were able to see
in that place.
You’re here now,
but I think I choose not to see you.
My heart breaks a thousand times
in just one moment spent
here – in the after.
You have moved on.
I am struggling to join you.
You have departed this world,
and yet it is me who feels like a ghost
unable to embrace
of a life that goes on
Leaves float softly to the ground,
and I stand there – ankles deep
in a puddle, the breeze wrapping
its arms around my waist –
wondering if it is you,
sending me leaves
placing pools of water in my
opening my tired eyes to the
moving world around me.
if it is you,
pulling strings over my head,
breathing gently in my direction –
and thank you.
I will paint you with colors
you weren’t able to see yourself in.
For every chance you will never take,
I will leap with your bravery.
The center of your world
is unknown to me –
But I will navigate through the labyrinth
you built around your heart,
for as long as it takes.
Most will accredit music as the moving force in all of us (except for maybe my big brother who will tell you he’d rather play the Batman movies in his head than any tune, melody or lyrical ensemble). In my personal experiences, music is what gets me from point a to point b; it’s a portal into myself that comforts, aids, heals, stirs and shakes, and in both simple and complex ways – makes the world make sense. We find identity in the genres and artists that we claim as “our” music. We either bop our heads to the songs on the radio, or discount them as repetitive and bland. We hear a new song and fall in love with it and want to share that feeling with the world, in hopes that we are able to connect to someone else through the emotion that was evoked within us.
Whether or not music simply does nothing for you, we all have a very personal connection to the nostalgia accompanied by a given sound. A line, a beat, or a specific song has the power to carry us to happy, sad, memorable or not so memorable moments in our lives that we shared with someone else. Any and every song by Van Morrison will always remind me of my dad making breakfast in the morning, the music moving through the entire house while everyone else is still sleeping. Hootie and the Blowfish songs that immediately take me to Wednesday nights out with my best friends in college, singing out the words at the top of our lungs over a pitcher of Shocktop. The soulful ballads of John Legend that evoke the long ago memory of love, loss and a broken heart. Music moves us. It guides us. It dwells inside of us, but no matter what – it connects us to each other.