It started as pressure building up and a slight burning in my throat. My breath caught and the hitch couldn't be covered. I waved one hand, asking for a minute. A tissue was crumpled in my hand already, the soft ball clenched hard as I tried to hold on.
Saying good-bye couldn't be done in a stranger's room, in their blankets. I rushed out to get yours and spread it out in the back seat. I held you in my arms, stroked your face, and told you exactly what you needed me to say. I said again and again how much we all loved you. I promised we'd be going home soon.
You kept looking up at me, your brown eyes liquid as your eyebrows shifted back and forth. You were so strong, staying longer than they said you would but in the end your eyes closed. I whispered a broken goodbye and covered you up.
They said I did the right thing, but the right thing hurt like hell. There's something about making the choice that closed those eyes that haunts me. I turn around a dozen times, expecting you to be with me, and fight that burning when the memory of that moment hits all over again.
Today would have been your birthday.
11-22-2001 to 11-20-2012