Is the hurt gone? no.
Do I still miss him? yes. absolutely. every day.
Do I still cry? yes. sometimes.
Have I learned much? yes. too much. more than I ever wanted to.
What have I learned? I've learned what it's like to grieve. I've learned how to cling to God and my church, and get through hardships together. I've learned to care more about every person, man or woman, young or old, apparently happy or sad.
I've done things I never thought I would do in my life. Only a little while after Levi died, another man killed himself. and another. and another. Suicide was all around us. I walked into a Police Station with food and said "I'm sorry your comrade killed himself." I hugged a dear adviser and said "It hurts. I know. I wish I didn't. But it does. And here's how we're dealing with it." I've written a speech for a class about suicide, only months after it happened to me. I've argued for life. Your life. It's worth it. I promise.
-A Letter from Levi-
Do not stand by my grave and weep.
I am not there. I'm not asleep.
God's gift to me was just my soul,
That takes no space, and leaves no hole.
My body, made for strength and joy,
That did not grow much more than boy,
Is not what put the life in me.
I did not need my eyes to see,
Salvation to my Father's home.
Here I stand, and not alone.
My Father is forever God,
My family is great and broad.
My mother is my sister here,
Like all the saints that hold me dear.
I am, like all God chose to save,
Not buried in a six-foot grave.
I live! I live like Jesus does,
An unbound soul, not like I was,
Confused and anxious, brain and heart.
Now I cannot from truth depart.
I made mistakes I can't undo,
I robbed myself and others too.
All these sins my Savior knew,
When he said "I'll die for you."
He followed God the Father's plan,
Was born and died as God and man,
And rose again to lead the way.
And now I see him every day.
I worship like I never could,
Just like how I know you would.
Do not stand still in memories,
That are as changing as the trees.
Their rise and fall is seasonal.
They break and die the same as all.
Your bitter tears will dry so fast.
I'm telling you: this too shall pass.
Look up. You'll see that I am safe.
Look up, and also live in faith.
Do not stand by my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die.
- Caleb Streblow