It's been 15 months since you died, and at the same time it feels like it's been 15 years and 15 minutes. Sometimes I can deal with it, sometimes it hits me so hard in the stomach I feel as sick as I did when my dad uttered the words 'grandad passed away'. I've never felt physical pain at an emotional reaction before that moment before. There were so many things I wanted to say to you, and I never got the chance. So many nights I sit here and think of all the times I would tell you off for saying something silly, or I was too hungover or angry or upset to pay attention to you and ignored you. You don't know what I'd give right now to have a conversation about anything with you, the weather, the tv, your medications. Anything, just to hear your voice again.
I didn't realise it when you were alive, but your greeting every day was the one I loved the most. That 'hello Rosie' would make my day everyday without me even realising. No matter what was happening, you always said good morning to me, and a lot of the time I probably ignored you. I'll never be able to forgive myself for all the times I told you stop talking or didn't listen. Like I said, all I want to do now is go downstairs tomorrow morning, and see you sat in your chair, reading the paper with the TV muted (which we both know used to drive me mad), turning round with your beautiful big smile and greeting me. The last full sentence you managed to say to me was 'hello Rosie', somehow even though you were hooked up to all kinds of tubes and wires, and struggling for every breath, you managed to make it sound exactly how it always did, and it's a sound I try to remember every day so I will never forget it.
I also want to say sorry for the last time I saw you. I don't know if you remember it, but you were in your hospital bed, and I came in to sit by you and hold your hand. There was so much I wanted to say, good bye, I love you, please don't go, please get better. But I couldn't. I remember I just sat there holding your hand, memorising your face and crying, crying, crying. You were my super hero, and super heroes aren't supposed to die. I know how much you hated to see people cry, and I hate that your last image was of me doing just that. In the end I don't think I managed to say anything to you at all. I thought I'd known heartbreak before this, but this was something else. This physically hurt every bone, muscle, organ, cell in my body. It was all I could think about. I think part of the reason I couldn't say bye was because that made it so final. If I said bye, I had to accept that you were going. And to include a hefty dose of family drama (you did so love that after all) if I spoke out loud I would lose even more control and there were certain people there that I didn't want to do that in front of. So instead I just held your hand, looked right in to your eyes and cried. I hope you understand, I was completely incapable of doing anything else.
Did you know I told my friends you were going to get better? At 22 years old, a full grown adult, I genuinely thought it was impossible for people you love to die. This was my first experience with death, and until this I didn't actually believe in it. If my friends asked, I told them I didn't know when but you would be home soon, I was in total denial. Even when I was told that you'd gone, for an hour after I expected to get a phone call telling me they'd made a mistake, you were still alive and still fighting on. Fighting is the best word for it. I've seen physical fights before, but they're nothing compared to the strength, stubbornness and force you carried through with you until you passed away. People use the term 'fight for their lives' and I've never understood it until I sat for 5 days and watched you fight with everything you had, summoning strength from every breath for yours. I'm just sorry the opposition turned out to be stronger in the end.
When I think of you now, I don't always imagine you in heaven. But when I do I imagine you surrounded by your mum, dad, your best friend from school, nans parents and everyone around you who had gone before you and missed. I like to think they were there to greet you that Tuesday morning, and they showed you the ropes. I used to stand in the cemetery and imagine you sat in a tree watching me standing over your grave, giving our choice of flowers your seal of approval. A week after you passed there was a sudden short hail storm, followed by bright sunshine and beautiful rainbow, I like to think that was from you, as were the late bloom of roses we got. When I see unexpected beautiful things, I think it's you letting us know you're still here, you're still watching. There is still beauty in a terrible thing.
Of all the things I wanted to say to you at the end was that I love you. I will always love you. I didn't get to say it, but I hope you knew and still know how much I loved, and continue to love you. How much everyone loves you still. I will never forget you, and I will make sure everyone around me knows what a perfect gentlemen you were. I know I'm lost in my life at the moment, but if I can draw on even half of the strength and stubbornness that you could, I know I'll be okay.
Miss you always, love you forever.