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You’ve stuck with me through this time. Through the years. My anchor for the way I should love, the extent of the pain and love my heart could endure. A final anchor in my own soul in understanding the true weight of what a soul can hold in this world. The impact they can have. The wide grasp and outreach their laugh can reach within this short breach of time here on Earth. You connected us all together. As we were all hopelessly clinging to our phones, our intoxicants, our escapes to our ego-filled selves in a time we couldn’t enjoy with one another. You made us stop short. To go days with silence. To drop all other concerns all other self-pities. You were far more important than anything in that time. You did what you do best Maddie. You reunited us all. As we reached out our arms across the continent, person to person. “Are you Okay?” “Call me if you need someone to talk to” We are in this together. We sit with one another in this silence, galaxies away from one another. But longing to be held in the present, in close proximity, in eyesight, so that the gleam in our eyes could tell each other, “I know this is hard, and you don’t want to talk, so I will just be here for you.”


And yet, we had to wait. Wait in this uncertainty as the world was in a pause. It had been in a pause. Before this. And then this happened, and we realized that life in fact had not been in a pause. Life had been continuing. Life had been growing and healing and supporting one another. And life had actually blossomed into an interconnected root system of letters and messages that expressed one’s deepest pains and truths in this moment. And we found that in it all was love. I found within myself the love that I had for you would keep me going through this struggle and through every next struggle after. And that it was your bravery and your love that bound us all together in this moment of clarity, in which it was life and relationships that kept us going. And we were oh so grateful for that gift you gave us.


As we submerged and resurfaced from our slumber, we carried these lessons with us. We carried these hearts on our chest, openly, proudly. A collective wound we now shared as a society. It was as loud as a bomb and yet as silent as one would feel in the gigantic explosion of a bomb. In the presence of such chaos, there lies the absence of any noise at all. We felt it, we didn’t have to speak of it. It was known.


At the time of your death, and in my immediate mourning I couldn’t imagine anything being bigger than you. Anyone else’s experience of loss and pain and suffering being greater than the pain I experienced in the absence of you. And yet months later, as my shell was cracked, and my new being was resurfacing into this new world, this new society, I found that I was not alone. No, there was a collective pain, mending itself together, through our collective experiences we shared. A collective root system that had been growing underground. Once the sun came out, so did we, and our awareness of this growing tangled up mess of biological connections was born. But as an interconnected system, we now needed water to survive. We were reliant on one another to help feed ourselves, to water ourselves, to nurture ourselves. And we did this. And each one of us did this with a memory. A memory of a person, a thing, and event, or a concept that kept them going each day. A reason to live and nurture one another. And my reason was you.


The light in me honors the light in you

-A Loved One

2 Responses to “You’ve Stuck With Me…”

  1. Z

    this is beautifully written and simultaneously heartbreaking. sending love your way.

  2. Sean Hernández Adkins

    “We were reliant on one another to help feed ourselves, to water ourselves, to nurture ourselves. And we did this. And each one of us did this with a memory.”
    This is how I want to remember the present when I arrive in the future.
    -a UNC grad student


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