Yesterday, someone died. Someone I had not thought of very often lately. Someone who I hadn't seen in a dozen years, maybe more. Someone I always worried would leave this world too soon. He's gone, and the hearts of a tiny town are broken.
Broken because they could not save him. Broken because what they all feared would happen did, in fact, happen. Broken because he was broken. Broken because they didn't have the tools to fix him.
I cannot remember where I saw him last. Most likely it was somewhere with lots of beer and even more laughter. He had a smile that lit up the room, but it could never light up his eyes. His eyes were haunted with a loneliness and a sadness of too much seen for one short life. Sorrow trailed him like a panther in the night, slinking through the trees, waiting for the opportunity to strike, its growl just a whisper on the wind. Sorrow, so sleek and flexible, weaving in and out of his stride, only pretending to be tamed by its master.
You were loved. I don't know if you ever knew how much and by how many. I don't know if I ever told you how you made me laugh all those years ago. I should have.
I hope that wherever you are, you are claiming your right to the peace that so eluded you in life. I hope that all your broken places have been healed. I hope that the light of your smile radiates throughout your soul and finds its way to the hearts of those you left behind. And I hope that wherever you are, there's cold beer and warm laughter.