There was an audible gasp when they heard he* was gone
A whoosh of air that sounded exactly like
the bottom falling out of his mother’s** world
the winds of mortality brushing his father’s** face
the last breath of a kind soul
All the years of struggle have settled into silence:
Unsought, unwished for, unfathomable

A child stands by the side of a lake
Looks to the other shore, unperturbed by what he sees
Not yet aware of the maw in the depths
that will gnaw at his limbs, his mind, his spirit
Unmarked by suffering, not yet bound by addiction
This day, he reflects only on the sunlit surface of the water
And the blue, blue sky

Some sadness seeps into bones
Some obstacles wrap themselves around ankles
Some emptiness can’t be overcome even by a loyal dog’s kisses

But always, the love remains
When words have been harsh, the love remains
When tears run out, the love remains
When a hole replaces the heart, the love remains
Even when all has been lost,
and all hope is gone,
still the love remains.

*Replace all pronouns as needed
**Replace names of parental figures as needed