I held your hand, trying not to squeeze it too hard. I gritted my teeth, trying to mute my sobs. I closed my eyes, trying to keep the tears from escaping.
I could feel your hand turning cold, your breath getting shallower.
You tugged at my arm, trying to get my attention without using your last breaths.
I opened my eyes and looked. The tears were let loose and ran down my cheeks.
You gave me a weak, yet genuine smile. I was shocked. You were living you last moments smiling even though you know you are going to die.
"Stop crying please. You know how I don't like people pitying me" you gently said.
I cleared my eyes and tried to stop crying. "Why are you smiling?"
You just smiled even bigger. "A lot of people die crying, full of sadness and despair. I want this to be different.
"I want to die full of joy instead of sadness. I want to focus on the good instead of the bad. Because who wants to die being miserable when given the choice?
We just laid there, side by side. We cherished this moment while it lasted, even though it won't be much longer.
You leaned in close to whisper the last words you'll ever say into my ear. "Live life with joy for both of us. I love you. I'll see you again. Until then, be different and happy."
Tears rushed down my face. I know you wouldn't want me to cry, but there was no helping it.
My heart was aching and throbbing for you to return, even if it was just for one more minute. But I knew I would feel and think the same thing again. It was never enough.
Once I had no more tears to cry, I stood up. I know you'd want me to go on and enjoy life and to let go.
But I didn't let go. I didn't want to. I didn't know how.
But I had to. But I'll never forget you. But I'll never be miserable, just like you wanted. I will live the rest of my life with joy, for you and me.
And I know we'll see each other again. But, until then, I will be happy and different. And I will love you, now and forever.