The first memory I have of you, you asked me why. Why are the leaves green? Why can’t fish survive out of water? Why do you like Taco Bell’s Nachos Supreme? I tried my best to answer your questions whenever you asked. Like the question marks rolled off the tip of your tongue. Why. Why. Why. People constantly put up road blocks to your questions. “C’mon, you’re bugging everyone.” As if your questions weren’t important but you never knew I wondered all of the same things. Six years younger than me and you had better questions, even if I felt like I just ran a marathon after answering them, “Why?” is what made you, you. The questions never stopped, and I only saw you as often as the lunar eclipse, but I loved you since you were born and swaddled in your mother’s arms as we all cooed and kissed your chubby red cheeks and since the moment you could speak you never stopped asking why. I regret never telling you that it was the most endearing thing about you.

See now that you’re gone, and only at fifteen, we’re the ones asking why. Lost in our grief, in our heads, and our hearts that are both empty and full at the same time. Feeling too much but also void of emotion. Why. Why. Why. See I’d rather sit on a park bench for the rest of my life trying to decipher depression from every possible angle in order to spare anyone else in the world from experiencing this pain. From experiencing your pain. See one of the hardest parts in all of this is that I have been to my brink, pushed almost to my limit, I’ve obsessed over death but I’d never admit it and there you are in your casket. I haven’t seen you in years, but I’m beyond words the way that when you swing too high on the monkey bars and crash land flat on your back and you feel like the universe sucked all the oxygen from your lungs and you just want to say something but you can’t get anything out and I just want to say I’m sorry, I love you.

The worst part of the whole thing is that I have this hope that just tears me apart and it’s that I hope in your final moment of life you didn’t regret your decision and I feel selfish wanting to know whether or not you did but I’m just trying to handle this with precision. I’m trying to understand it from every angle.

Leaves are green because they have something called chloroplast in them and fish can’t survive outside of water because their gills just collapse and I like Taco Bell’s Nacho Supreme because it’s cheap and I love nachos…And of all the life lessons that have been forced through my head for 22 years by some of the most intelligent teachers and mentors and authors and artists, yours is the one I cherish most because we live in a world that is terrified of the question Why and you clung to it like a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific and that’s really noble because the truth is that the world will only ever get better if we never stop asking why.

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