|Photo credit: Meghan Cree Smith|
It's 2014. Three years after you so suddenly descended into what I hope is another world, a fun world, full of the happiness and delight that countless books, and nearly all religions and novels about death describe. Most of me knows that we have invented these descriptions to pacify ourselves, our inner minds that work so furiously to understand what cannot be understood, to decode the mystical. We hunger for forbidden knowledge. A tiny part of me ponders if, maybe, just maybe, it could be true. If possibly, you have a window to your past life, to the world in which we still live.
Another year has passed in this world, and once again, it has taken me over 10 days to pen my letter to you.
I saw The Book Thief last night and it reminded me of you, and of the book I was reading the week before you died. Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is narrated by a ghost who tries to help the living find her true murderer.The Book Thief, Markus Zusak's novel that I have tutored in English literature lessons so many times, that I have analysed to death, is narrated by Death, who heartlessly steals the souls of the living. Who heartlessly stole you, from us.
Meghan and I still miss you so much; I keep wanting to go home to Edmonton, walk into Bogani cafe and have you roll in behind me. To see movies with you and race between the popcorn queue and the ticket queue because no matter how late we were, a movie to you was no movie without the popcorn. To sit at Bistecca or Brewsters and order a delectable, calorie-infused dessert, to share with you, sitting, laughing across from me. Meghan is in New York, and I, in Oxford, and you --we know not where, like a mystery, an adventure, we hope.
My grandmother left to, what I hope, is your world, a few months ago. It reminded me of you. Her death was so unjust, so untimely --hers, in fact, was murder, by incompetent NHS nurses at the hospital. Anger, Hatred, Vengeance.
Regret, too, for thinking I had time. Like I did with you.
It still haunts me that I hadn't yet bought your birthday present, six days after your birthday. I thought, I'll buy it next week --and next week, you were gone. That is what I feel.
You would tell me, I know, feel what you need to feel, but anger doesn't help. You can't change the past. Your grandmother and I left for a reason and it will be okay.
Will you meet up with her for me, Steph? Have a tea with her and laugh and smile and remember? Her name is Koshalya, but we all call her Jhaiji, which I think means 'mom'.
I had a dream once, soon after you died, and you were there, in a heaven-like meadow, probably taken from a cross from my imagination and Richard Matheson's novel What Dreams May Come. You were walking though, Steph. You didn't have your chair; it was incredible. I hope it's true.
I hope that, wherever your soul is, it remembers the life that you had with us. If I had one wish for you while you are in your new world, it's that you can still hear us, see us, feel us, read my blog and know about our world.
I'm still in Europe, Steph. Working in England, as I have always wanted. Continental Europe is my next plan, since I've only got a short contract here, but you would tell me, LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Live for now. I keep thinking about you every time I see a castle. How you really, really wanted to come to England and Scotland and take the ghost and castle tours. The Edinburgh graveyard. I wish I could take you there. I hope your spirit can see it.
It's been three years and my heart shaped locket still dangles around my neck each day, the clasp loose, the photo faded, the memories of your laughter, your optimism, your undying friendship - stronger than ever.
I will always miss you, Stephanie.