For the Boy Who Lost His Best Friend:
I am not here to tell you that it’s okay. Cancer f*cking sucks and it is never okay for someone to suffer in that way. To watch the man you made some of your strongest and most important memories with deteriorate into the shell of who he was is a kind of torture no one should have to endure. I know it’s hard and I know it hurts, but whether you hear me now or later, I wanted to give you a list of reminders that may help you push through this hell.
There was nothing you could have done to prevent this or make it go away. I know you don’t want to hear it but there was nothing in your power you could have done to stop his suffering or make the cancer disappear. He didn’t want treatment and he told you himself that he had lived his life as much as he could hope to. All you could do was talk him through it.
He was never alone. Every moment he needed you, you were right by his side. Every night spent holding him as he coughed up blood, every trip to the hospital, every ragged breath, you were there. That is all you could do and you were there every time. As hard as it must have been for you to see him that way, for him to let you see him that way, must have been total hell, but know that as he leaves this Earth, you stood by him through every dark moment.
He’s with Nana now. As hard as it is to say goodbye, just imagine how happy he must have been upon seeing his beautiful wife for the first time in 8 years. All his pain is gone; there will be no more battling his lungs, no more tension or tumors in his body. You can rest easy knowing that he is watching over you, smiling at every fire put out, every deer taken down, every little victory that leads you to being the man you were meant to be.
You’re not alone. Let people help you carry the burden. Allow yourself the time to grieve. Don’t bother hiding the tears that are meant to fall down; they will help you heal. Your family, your friends, and yes, even Pop, are around if you need them. Let yourself be weak; no one is strong all the time. Regardless of the tears you shed, the gravel thrown, the anger within, you are still loved. You are not battling this obstacle alone and you have an entire army of people who love you unconditionally, looking to bear some of the pain.
All of this is easier said than done. The void he left can never be filled, we know that. But what I also know is that he wouldn’t want you to blame yourself or feel any guilt. Cry if need be, but also remember to have a beer for Pop. I’m not sure they have those, wherever he’s watching you from.