Six years. Today, at your grave I left you roses of different colours. Yellows, pinks, oranges and reds. And it felt right. I cried from a dark place in my soul and asked your forgiveness from a place deep in my heart. For what? I don’t know. I knew for the first time and was certain for the first time, that I had been a good friend. 

The sixth year passes and I find empathy. The empathy leads me to accept the ‘why’. Why did you die? Why didn’t he die instead? Why didn’t I see it coming? The endless lists of ‘why’. The ‘why’ i heard fall from your mother’s mouth when she asked me ‘why?’. The silence and terror in that room with your parents as it sat heavy as lead, angering your father and destroying your mother. The ‘why’ that once reverberated between me and your great love. We learnt through shared whiskey, it doesn’t help – you would have enjoyed that. Now, neither of us asks ‘why’ because we know better than “why’s”. 

In your life, I offered you kindness and friendship and you returned it with care, humour and the right advice. Why? Because we understood each other. 

This year I understood a little better. I got addicted to heroin and in withdrawal, I sat at your grave and felt relief that you were no longer imprisoned by this drug. Because now I know why. I answered a question I had no idea I even wanted to know, let alone ask.

The roses I laid will never bloom. They have no water. They will wither and go and smell sweet for a time. And the thorns will draw my honeyed blood if I hold on too tight. Mileh, I miss you. Rest in Peace. I have seen but a glimpse of the demon and I prayed for light and it was answered. You fought the battle the way it was designed for you. It always had to be this way and now, I see why.

I will always love you for what you are completely – a man built of different coloured roses.

In the sixth year, you teach me to deepen my acceptance, and to love with greater compassion. I honour you for your friendship that will always live, teach, grow and last.

SJ xx

Editors note: This is the first piece I have been able to write and publish in many many moons. Thank you.

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