There were always those small moments:

The first time I drove myself to a friends

The first time I told my mom I was going to be my friends’ DD

The first time I realized I had to pick up her pieces


You know, those moments

The moments that you never think much of right then,

But they’ll make you nod on the train years later when you try to string your life’s story together


Then there are the big moments

The ones that will play in the cinema on your mind over and over again

Even though you never wanted to buy a god damn ticket


I play that scene every day


Walking into our camp’s lodge, a little late because a camper was homesick

A little too late

All of my friends were rag dolls on the ground

Their sobs wracking my ears in a way that will play on repeat for the rest of my life

Like a top 40 song


An older staff member took me by the shoulder, looked me in the eye and asked

“Do you know?”

I shook my head

I’m 18

I’ve never really known anything

“Neal; he’s dead”


The next thing I knew I had no bones to hold my body upright

I was on the ground

Gripping my hair for some sort of stability when the ground offered none

A voice that sounded like mine screamed “No” over and over

But I don’t remember making that shape with my mouth

I don’t remember who rubbed my back and attempted to hold me close with whispers of

“I’m so sorry”


I had seen him the night before

Had told him with laughter to “Love me”

How could he be gone?

How could life be made so different by a moment?


The next thing I knew I was standing

I asked, “Where is she?” to no one in particular

But they knew


In a second I was beside her, holding her

My breathing slowing in an unconscious effort to slow hers

I had lost a best friend

But she had lost a soulmate


I had to grow up because of that moment

Had to become strong enough to hold my friends up

While barely managing to hold my own heart together


I had to grow up because of our birthday

Neal and I came into this world on the same day, at the same hospital

But he left far too early

With no rhyme or reason


So now whenever my friends gather and I blow out an additional candle

My eyes swell with tears

I remember how like the candles life can be

One moment they burn so brightly

Bringing warmth and light


Another moment

A big moment

And they’re gone


So I grew and continue to grow

Because I live life like a candle

And I live life like Neal


Warm and bright and glowing

And weird and kind and curious


- I’ll always miss you

This poem is about: 
My community



awww, whoever Neal is im sure he misses you too. rip Neal, even though i've never met you


Thank you so very much xo

Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741