We who are left

storm-bird

Electronic numbers in bank accounts

Archived Email folders

Shelves of books and boxes of keepsakes

Your clothes carefully folded in drawers, except that one batch left in the washer to be put in the dryer later

A fridge full of food

Beloved flowers and bulbs sprouting in the garden out back under the spring trees you loved so much

Photos of you with your love, your children, your parents framed on the walls

Unfinished paperwork scattered across the desk at your office, and a calendar full of appointments

 

The world kept turning

The sun kept rising

All the parts of your life are

Still here

Exactly as they were

When you left us.

 

Just a few days ago, I saw you

With that enormous smile, that powerful hug

Later, the light on my phone indicating you had texted me

We bantered, and laughed

Ending with a ‘see you tomorrow’

like we do everyday

 

Your body is ash now

They call them Cremains

A word you and I would have laughed about

“It sounds like something you would serve on a salad” you would have said

“I’ll have the Chicken Walnut with Cremains and Cranberry Viniagrette” I would have quipped back

They will take you and spread the ash far away in a place that you loved

And that warms me

 

You changed me

Showed me so many things about how to live

And believe in myself

And be authentic and kind and straightforward and real and loving and successful

You taught me to look ahead

You taught me to laugh harder

You changed me

And not just me

You changed us all, all who loved you, all who you loved

 

I’ll keep you at my side

That’s what we do, we humans who have lost

We keep you alive next to us, within us

We hear your voices

We feel your presences

We stand you up next to us to remind us of what we were taught

Of who we are, of who you are

 

We will stand together

We who Remain

We who Cremain

And we remember you

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