"Death steals everything except our stories."
- Jim Harrison, Larson's Holstein Bull
You do not believe in a god.
It’s nearly impossible to have faith in an imaginary higher being that takes away the other half of your soul. Illness has a way of tearing pages out of books leaving lives untold, chapters unfinished and paragraphs that abruptly end mid-sentence. Instead, she’s been living in your memory for years now: you make do with fragments of childhood and warmth that flicker through your consciousness like an aged eight millimeter stag film.
The cruelest thing about death is that time, for the living, does not stop. You troop on. You will still attend your classes, you’ll continue to have errands to run, your attendants will still expect you to be home before sundown for supper.
On your twelfth birthday, your first one without your twin sister, there is nobody beside you to open gifts and blow out the cake of candles. This year, and the year after, and so on. And when time does slow, at nightfall as you stare at the ceiling, bare, awake and alone, you’ll feel it.