Sometimes I feel as if that car kept driving through the midnight hour and took you both with it; a seamless transition to the other side.
Over 4,000 miles and a boundless ocean separate me from the loss that devoured our lives four years ago, yet I now find your memory in the newest of places. Although you've never climbed the Swiss Alps or admired its sunrise, I can't help but think that you can now feel its warmth; that you are familiar with all its beauty. I've often thought that this land must be unquestionably close to the Heavens.
Your death awakened in all of us the fear we so desperately keep at bay---that one day our doubts, questions, and hopes of the afterlife will be fully recognized. Since that cruel November night, I've retold story after story and cried over your pictures. Once in a while I will even happen upon a certain smell in the air and I am instantly taken back to your college apartment in DeKalb, where the thought of an abbreviated future never crossed our blissful minds. How often we look behind us for what used to be.
For so many years you have been frozen in time at twenty-four. I couldn't quite seem to look past the date on your headstone. It was Switzerland that brought me back to the present.
Something about beauty in its most natural form brings out the spirituality in even the dimmest of us. I have never felt so absolutely sure that Heaven exists as I do when I'm gazing toward the Swiss skies. There is a peacefulness here I could not obtain elsewhere; a sense of endlessness that most certainly reminds me of you.
I will be walking along a quiet brook when I notice the way the sunlight polishes the peaks of the mountains, and there you are in that moment. My mind can be going in a billion different tangled directions, yet the chaos seems to halt and I can only think of you. I thank God for those instants. I thank Him for giving me such hope.
It may be true that grief never ceases in this lifetime; but it is also true that it changes. The sadness once felt over your death is and will always be a dense fog in our lives, but it slowly lifts when I'm reminded of how infinitely happy you now are---not the type of happy from a successful round of golf and certainly not the type of happy from a late night college party, but true and genuine joy that this life can never give us.
I think of you now in the present tense, though I will still hang on to these memories for awhile. I don't catch myself looking at your pictures quite as often, nor do I replay stories over and over in my mind. There is no longer really the need. All I have to do is look around me. It is there that you are.