And I walk to your grave alone, in the cold demise of Fall.  It seems so much colder here without the comfort of knowing that you will be here to protect me in this life as you have so well.  The sky is white and endless.  The sun has been cloaked by the cryptic fog.  The leafless trees sway back and forth with the algid wind.  The ground is damp and dreary.  The world never seemed to be such a strong representation of death before you left me here, all alone.

Oh, my elder sister, why have you left me alone in this world so untrained?  So unprepared, so immature, so callow?  What am I to do with my life, knowing you are no longer here to guide me? I weep before I even reach the cemetery.

I am the air around you, listening your words.  I am the wind whispering to you that I can hear you.  I absorb them, as they fill me with both love and sorrow.  Do not fail to notice the only tree left in your path where the leaves still remain.  Their texture is silky and warming.  Their color is as yellow as a bouquet of daisies and they shine like the beautiful bright sun in the empty darkness of space.  Rain trickles down unto them and I weep for the sadness that my departure has left for you.  Though, I have not departed at all.

With each passing day, I curse God, or the Gods, or the Whoever with greater animosity.  I cannot believe in anything that has taken you away from me and snatched you away from life.  You had no chance to marry, to raise a family, to make a name for yourself and make this world shine brighter.  Now all that is left is this desolate, bleak, empty pit of a world.

I spread the clouds to illuminate the darkness, but you do not see because your eyes are so used to the dark that they cannot adjust to the light which surrounds you.

Life is so very different.  It is almost impossible to call what I am existing in as life.  It seems that the rest of the world is alive, and I am just here with them.  I have to “live” buried in this lugubrious soul, while everyone else lives freely.  I open the cold gates of the cemetery and continue on my path to where I feel I belong.  Amongst the dead and decaying.  Not among the living, not among those who’s souls blossom.

I have not died.  I die when God dies.  I surround you in this world through the eyes of the truly natural.  The truly beautiful and pure.  If only you knew how beautiful life can be.  I stare at the stars and wonder what beauty other worlds and galaxies hold.  But I do not wonder any longer what beauty this world contains.

Never have I felt so alone.  I must find my path in this world by myself.  I must deal with your death without you here to comfort me.   I must walk to your grave alone.  I arrive with flowers and a letter that I wrote to you.  It was not meant to be read aloud because it was only meant for your eyes and no one can overhear it.

I bend down to lay the flowers and the letter near your stone, but instead fall to my knees and bury my face in my hands.  My eyes shut tighter and tighter until I am struck with pain.  I tear at my ear, my cheek, my eyes.  Tears flow in-between my fingers and down into the soil of your grave.

Part of my soul has left me now that you are gone.  Part of my sanity has escaped me now that you are gone.  My older sister, my protector, my guide, forever absent from my life.  How I wish you were here to console me and talk me back into sanity, but you cannot because you are forever gone…and only further fade away in time.

I am the wind that lifts the fallen leaves to float around you.  I am the leaves, hugging you in your sorrow, telling you that I am okay with where I am now.  You shouldn’t worry about me.  I am the elder, it is my duty to worry about you.  The leaves spiral around your curled up body and the wind whispers these words into your ears, but you are covering your ears and blinding yourself from me.  The Earth cries rain because of your sadness, not because of my loss.

I finally rise from the ground and walk out of the cemetery.  I cannot return home yet, so I walk to a pond nearby.  The Earth is painted in a mysterious fog and I cannot see more than a few feet ahead of me.  The world is hidden, but each step I take uncovers new areas. More trees, roads, fallen leaves, sticks, bushes, birds, life become visible with every step.  The only sounds that can be heard are subtle chirpings and leaves blowing in the wind.

The almost-silence helps me calm down, since the real world is anything but.  I reach the pond and stare as far as I can see (which is only a few feet, due to the fog).  The water is surprisingly blue and sprinkled with colored leaves.  I become lost in the ripples of the water and suddenly this world doesn’t seem so desolate.  The contrast of the blue waters against the white sky, and the black birds gleefully floating in the colorless sky to no foreseeable destination makes it seem like this world itself is a beautiful painting.

It’s funny how not all beauty is obvious and colorful, such as spring and summer.  In fact, I find myself to be drawn into the uncertain atmosphere of fall and winter more so than spring and summer.

I am the pond.  The water, the leaves, the birds, the sky, the trunk and branches of the trees, the grass.  I am all that surrounds you.  I try with my all to bring ease to your now chaotic world.  As I surround you, I try to let you know that this world doesn’t have to be chaotic.  This world can be worth living, even if you think I am not here.  As I surround you, I try to fill your heart with love.

I reach into my pocket and pull out a picture of you so that I can tell you that my pain is temporarily extinguished.  I don’t know how to tell you what I’m feeling, but as I gaze into your eyes I want to tell you…something.  I share this moment of peace with you, since I very rarely contact you for anything that even resembles peace.  I want you to be here in this moment of…something.  Not sadness, not happiness, not indifference.  This moment of empty thoughts, while being a moment that is anything by empty.

If only I could tell you how much I love you.  If only I could tell you how much I miss you.  If only you could share this moment of calmness with me.

The rain ceases to fall onto the Earth and the wind ceases to blow.  The trees dance no more and the sun begins to peak through the fog in a distance.  As I surround you, I share this moment of peace with you.

Evan Rieger 2011

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Evan Rieger

Evan Rieger

In 2008 Evan Reiger's twenty-two year old sister was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and in 2009, she passed away. This was during the transition period from high school to college for Evan, and nothing has had a greater impact on my life. Evan is currently concluding his junior year at SUNY-New Paltz as an English major. He grew up in Syosset, New York, and is the youngest of three children. He has been writing short stories and poems about his lost loved ones since he has entered college. Evan also writes horror, science fiction, and adventure stories as well. His memoir piece entitled, "Therapy For A Nerd," was recently selected by the writing staff of SUNY-New Paltz for an award of distinction.

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