Death Doesn't Have to Be the End

April 2, 2008
By Alyssa Smith, Hamilton, TX

Death doesn't have to be the end.

I traced the elegantly engraved words with my pale, shaking, cold fingers. It was her favorite saying; it truly defined a part of her nothing else could touch. Now I read the saying each time I visited the eerie, lifeless graveyard. It seemed to mock my misery with its hope. 'She was always so hopeful,' I thought, afraid to break the oppressive silence. 'It's a shame I'm not.'

She always corrected me when I told her good-bye. It used to bother me; I loathe being corrected. It makes me feel inferior. Over time, I realized it was just in her nature to correct that saying, and her corrections - only hers - irked me no more. "It's not good-bye," she said. "Good-bye is only at the end, and I'm certain this isn't it."

"What about death?" I always replied. "Do I say good-bye to you when you're no longer in this world?"

"No," she smiled mysteriously then. It was as if she knew a great secret she couldn't tell, and she seemed amused at my confusion. "Death doesn't have to be the end."

I never understood that saying. I still don't, not completely. There are moments when I can almost grasp it; I can almost see the intangible. Seconds before I can, it fades, and I'm blind again. It reminds me of all the times she'd help me see... I understood everything so much more when I was with her. She opened up my eyes completely. She had that effect on people.

I left the primroses on her grave and hoped the wind wouldn't blow them away. It was time to leave; Mother would yell at me if I wasn't home by dark, and it was sunset. "Bye," I whispered before leaving, finally ending the silence. "Maybe death won't be the end."

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