It's Been A Year

Tomorrow marks a year since you were so cruelly taken away from us, and whilst half of me thinks about how quickly those 365 days have come around, they also feel like a lifetime too. A whole year without you has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to face, and what makes it worse is that it's going to continue to grow. Another year shall pass, and another, and another and I may reach the age of 70 - sat in my rocking chair and thinking about how much time has passed, yet the pain never subsided.

It still doesn't feel real. I lie in my bed at night and the question that always springs to mind is 'Why?' Why did this happen? I'm still trying to figure that one out, and I know that I never will. Even when we were faced with what was going to happen, I still truly believed that it wouldn't. It kills me because I thought it was wrong, that the doctors had got it confused somehow. I remember telling you that I wasn't going to let anything happen to you, and I still haven't forgiven myself for breaking my promise.

I remember everything clear as day, and I am haunted by it. I get flashbacks which hurt me beyond belief, which make me grimace and squeeze my eyes tight - forcing myself to think about something else. I'm thinking about this very moment last year, and how I wasn't aware that my final moment with you would be my last. But, maybe I did. The truth is, deep down I knew - it was just the acceptance that I struggled with. I had to know, otherwise I wouldn't of said the words to you that I did on that last night. I count my blessings everyday that I hadn't just given you the obligatory kiss on the forehead and uttered 'Goodnight'.

'Us three against the world, forever and ever' - that is how it will always be. I will tell my children, if I ever do have them, of their wonderful Uncle Luke, who they'll never meet but I know loves them dearly. I'll tell them about how much fun we had growing up together and how, even after all this time, you are still the reason for my smile. I'll teach them how to grab life by their fists in the same way that you did, and how nothing is certain and you should embrace that instead of being scared of it.

There are things that still to this day I cannot bring myself to talk about. I made so many promises to you, and I am trying so hard to fulfil them. I told you that I'd visit Niagra Falls, and all the places you wanted to go but there's the pressure of time, and what if it runs out before I can carry out your wishes? What if time keeps passing by as quickly as it seems to be doing, and I've realised that I'm coming to the end of my life and never really done anything? I have so many dreams, goals and ambitions but the way I feel often stops me from reaching them. I don't even know what I want anymore. All I know is that I miss you, desperately, and the pain is becoming more intense with each passing day.

There are songs that I still can't listen to without choking up, films that I can't bring myself to watch and pictures which hurt my heart and cause the tears to fall within the matter of an instance. I tend to feel you beside me, I am aware of your presence hovering over me - but then there are days when I can no longer look beside me in the car and see you sat in the passenger seat. That's when things start to get bad. Things get so bad that I struggle to breathe, and all I can do I sleep in the hope that I'll wake up and the intensity and rawness will have cleared.

It's been a year, and whilst I miss you so deeply, I am also grateful that you were here - even if it was for such a short amount of time. Sixteen years doesn't seem enough for someone like you to be on Earth, but you lived more in those few years than some people do in their lifetime. Each day I'm trying so hard to be more like you, yet it never ceases to amaze me how you still managed to smile even on the darkest of days. I'm hoping I'll master that one day, but for now I'll just admire you for it.

If your watching over me like I truly believe you are, you'll know that these 365 days have not only brought such vast amounts of indescribable sadness, but there have also been some incredibly happy times too. I've achieved so much more than I thought I would, and everyone keeps telling me how proud you'd be - I desperately hope that's true. I'm almost reaching the end of A Levels - I never thought I would see the day. There's been all these moments when I've wanted to give up, but your strength has taught me to keep going no matter what. Although I'm late to school almost everyday because the getting up in the morning has become immensely difficult, I arrive with a smile painted on my face - completely in your honour.

I'm trying to keep your memory alive, but I fear upsetting people. You were, you are, so deeply loved and admired, and so many people feel the pain of losing you. We all love you, Luke. That's what makes it so difficult. In just a few months time I'll be moving on, I'll be meeting a new bunch of people who won't look at me and be reminded of such heartbreak. Whilst that's so refreshing - the thought of being somewhere where people only know my name and not my story - it's also terrifying too. Because when the time comes, I'll eventually have to tell my story and how do I explain it? How do I explain that the world is so cruel, and how the three of us became a lonely pack of two?

We were a team, and we've lost a player. No one will ever understand the bond that we shared and, if I'm honest, I don't want them to. Whilst the myths are not true, and we can't communicate telepathically, we all understood each other in a way that no one else ever will. My heart is broken, and I know that it can never truly be fixed. A part of me left on the day that you did, and I'll never get it back - I never want to. Because it belongs to you, and it'll keep you close to me forever.

One of my most cherished items is a necklace with your fingerprint on it. On days where I can't feel your presence, or where I particularly need you to be with me, I wear it and it's like you never left. I can place my finger on the top of it, and if I shut my eyes I can see you beside me. It's what happens when I open them which becomes an issue. Because some days I have to face reality, and that's something I struggle with. I try and exist in my own little bubble, but sometimes that bubble bursts and everything starts going wrong. My little game of 'let's pretend' is ruined, and that's when the sadness starts to come flooding in.

Then there are days when I'm fueled by the pain of losing you. I know that nothing lasts forever, and that I need to live each day like it's my last. I have changed in the fact that I know life is way too short to spend it being unhappy. In this sense, I no longer value other people's opinions in the way that they used to tear me down so much, I have become more confident and accepting towards myself - and I have realised that I can achieve anything I set my mind to, I just have to believe in myself first. I've learnt that a day without laughter is a day wasted, and I have tried to radiate happiness and positivity everywhere that I go. Although there are days when lifting my head off the pillow seems impossible, I think of the times when you continued going regardless of the obstacles which you faced.

I couldn't have gotten through this year without the incredible people that I have by my side. Not a single day goes by where I'm not grateful for them, and even when I feel so alone I'm constantly reminded that I'm not. Although I've lost so much, I can't forget how much I've also gained. I have always been a people person, yet definitely more so in these past 365 days. Despite the fact that I have the tendency to push people away when I truly need them the most, and I can be so annoying and hard to deal with, I am surrounded by people who have never given up on me. I will never be able to begin to thank them enough.

It's been a year and whilst nothing will ever hurt as much, I am comforted by the happy memories I have of you. Luke, you changed my life for the better and you will always be remembered. A whole year without your smile has been complete hell, but you had the kind of smile that I could never truly forget. Even when you were unable to do anything else, you always managed to turn up the corners of your mouth and my admiration for that will never wear off. I know that I will see you again someday, but instead of willing for that day to come, I will simply live a life that I know we'll both be proud of.

To you, Luke. I hope you're shining just as bright up there.

All my love,
Forever and always.

Grace x


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