In Which the World is Filled with Ghosts
You died on July 7th, at 11:00am precisely. It was a sunny day, with a slight breeze. The roses you had planted out back were beginning to grow wild, their blooms hidded within forests of leaves. They clawed at your window for you, wrapped around the sill and brushing their tender bodies against the panes.
Outside the world went on and on, and I remembered you had once told me to never fear death. You were well accustomed to the ends of things.
I wish I could have seen you. I wish I had come home earlier, laid my head at your bedside and listened to your breathing. I would have taken your hands and pressed them to my face so I could remember what it was like to be a child. I would have read you Mary Oliver until you were gone. I would have told you of the whole world, the slow sinking of the sun a thousand times, of the majesty of thunderheads, reminded you of the sound of sparrows in the morning and all of the things you will be leaving behind.
I loved you like you love a hometown, how you never quite leave the land you come from. How a tree must love the soil its planted in, how I know nothing else than what goodness birthed me and it follows me like a ghost.
I loved you like I could never love anyone, and when I came in that day and found your body at the bottom of the stairs, I died too.
And now, the house is filled with all the ghosts of you. I find your apparition in the steam from the kettle. I smell you walk past in the hallway. Sometimes I hear your laughter out in the garden, or the beams creak with your footsteps. I did not grow up to be a person who deserved you, and I'm sorry. I have left your sketchbooks on the vanity in your room. I have kept your bed made every morning. I brew your favorite tea, sweep the counters, left your mug on the windowsill unwashed.
I think the ghosts are here because of me, and how I've kept everything you've left behind. I want to close my eyes and surround myself in the air your last breath became. I don't want to know what your absence feels like. I remember every detail of you right up to the end, from your hair brush travelling down the length of your hair, to the angle your neck was twisted underneath you. I remember. I remember it all. And I don't want it to stop.