More Beautiful Than Any Rose

Tonight.
My heart aches.
For a family I have never met.
A devoted husband
Who’s lady love
Is gone.
The children.
And the grandchildren.
That will never see her smile.
Never know her hug.
Never hear her laughter.
Any more.

Except within their hearts.
Their souls.
Their memories.

Tonight.
My heart aches.
For I have one less friend
Than I had yesterday.
One less voice for me to speak with.
One less soul here on Earth
That understood me.
And accepted me.
The way I am.

She was one of my best friends
Of all time.
We met in high school.
A lifetime ago.
I remember her smile.
The magic light I always saw
In her eyes.

God,
She was so very much
Alive.

After high school
We went down separate paths.
And lost each other.
For a while.

Until January.
Of 2011.
When my doctor told me
“Explore. Mark. Explore.”
And I tried out Twitter.
Then Classmates.com.
And Facebook.

And one day.
There she was.

I tried to call her
Once a week.
I failed.
But when I did call her.
We would talk.
As long as she wished to.

I loved to hear her voice.
To listen to her laugh.
I remembered her smile
From so very long ago.

I learned she was hurting.
Disable.
She hadn’t worked
In a long time.
It was hard for her to walk
At all.

I did what I knew to do.
I did what I am.
I wrote some dreams for her.

I know.
That’s part of how I got hurt
Two years ago.

But I’m not afraid to care.
I’ve learned so much since then.
I’ve learned
Pain is part of life.
Without it,
I’m not whole.
No one is.

I’ve learned how much fear
Plays a role
In everything that I see happening
Around me.

I’ve learned the meaning
Of the words,
“Damaged people are dangerous.
They know what they can survive.”

And I made the deliberate choice.
To be her friend.
To call her.
And talk with her.
And send her dreams
I’d captured,
And placed on the written page.
Just for her.

She was my friend.
And I was not afraid at all
That one day she’d be gone.
And I’d have to deal
With all the pain
Of missing her again.

I was not afraid.
Because I knew.
I knew the value
Of the gift she was
To me.
A gift given freely.
From life itself.

I knew that long after the pain
Of the words,
“She’s gone.”
My memories of her
Would live on.
In my heart.
And soul.

Those memories
Are priceless gifts to me.
And if I hadn’t made the choice
To face down the pain
Of the words I heard this morning.

I wouldn’t have
Those priceless memories
Of her.

And memories
Are all I have.
They define
Who I am.
What I believe.
What I feel.
The world
I understand.

I would rather have the memories
I have of her today.
Than have tried my best
To avoid all the pain
Of the words,
“She’s gone.”

As I close my eyes tonight.
I know I’ll dream sweet dreams.
Filled with memories
Of laughter.
And of smiles.
And of stories shared.

With someone
Who will always
Be my friend.

Thank you life.
Thank you God.
For her.

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