I remember the first time I felt you.
I was sitting behind a backstop in early October. Jacket weather. I felt you as the crowd cheered in the seventh inning of a high school softball game. You were subtle and soft. And I smiled, alone in the crowd with my secret.
There have been hundreds of times since then. In hallways and car rides, in backyards and on sandy shores. A force that often stole my breath. A love that woke me in the night.
I always knew you would teach me, just not so soon.
Suddenly I felt so empty. There were no more flutters underneath my t-shirts. No more morning serenades. Just emptiness. A world of emptiness and nothing but time.
Since you left me I have felt nearly every possible emotion. There has been despair, anger and jealousy. There has been guilt and appreciation. I have been grateful and resentful. I have even felt happiness.
But there is one thing I haven't felt in your absence.
There is no fear anymore.
You see my love, death no longer mocks me from the shadows. It doesn't lurk or taunt. I have seen death in the morning light. I have held it in my hands.
Death is charted waters.
It has a brother's lips and a father's toes. It is soft and unassuming. Death has a name and a smell, a memory to me now. Tangible and concrete. It visits me in life, but not in the ways you'd think.
Death comes to me in pretty pink bows and sparkling packages. I smell it in fresh paint and flowers. Death brings a life to the tears; a purpose to the sadness. I can no longer dread, only appreciate.
In your passing, sweet girl, you have freed me. My worst fears lived, death's peaceful confrontation is but a reminder now. For in time, there is someone I can become.
She dances with you above all earthly understanding. Within her, a strength that most will never earn.
Death has shown her a love beyond bones.
There is a face in the abyss, a soul that bravely lays the path for mine. And I am closer with each step.
There is no pause, only resolve. A candid surge in a timid skin.
And my dear, you are the push.