Dear Simon, (TW: Suicide, Death, Grief)

Dear Simon, You were in a play my 7th grade year when the high school put on The Outsiders The image in my mind, is you in the scene, third from the end lying in the hospital bed and from then on I couldn't imagine you any differently They say you “failed” your mission and I'm writing this letter because you laid empty for a week before we went to your visitation They told us to write down what we wanted to say to you You were my sister's friend I didn't know you, but I cried I felt I knew you better dead than I ever did alive A beanie pulled low, long blond hair, and a smirk I bawled my eyes out in the corner of a church I cried over you. My sister cried over you. 16 years old and a sophomore in high school When we saw you in the play I was proud to point you out “That's my sister's friend! He sits with her at lunch.” A month later I drew flowers blue, black, and shining silver I put your name in each petal and taped it to my locker I'm sorry I never knew you but I feel I understand you now Please let Grandpa know we miss him if you happen to see him around Dear Simon, It's four years later, and my mom is on the phone A friend called, asked for advice, because we've dealt with death inside this home She's afraid to instill an illness in her child's mind a fear of her's imprinted on his skin, as it has on mine She asks me how old I was when I drew flowers, silver and blue I was twelve I say, Seventh grade, "Oh," she says, "him too." She asks if I remember questions that I had I remember asking why your casket was closed I remember your mother pulling me close I remember how your friend screamed down an empty hallway that she was the one who found you "I think I could be of help", I say She says he understands death but she's worried that he doesn't understand grief that he doesn't understand hatred In the ways that it exists I do I could teach him I could pull out that paper of yours That I kept from your funeral I could show him the photo of you in the play I could explain how hopelessness feels, show him how to draw his own paper flowers I could fold the paper with him small fingers wrapped up in my own Were mine that small? When I folded yours for you? This is the last note I'll send for now I hope you're doing well Please let Grandpa know we miss him if you happen to see him around - Josie Sparks -

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