Grief is a strange thing. I'm not crying for my friend. He was talented, smart, deeply compassionate, and delightfully acerbic. He had a wealth of friends, and I think he knew how much we loved him. He lived an extraordinary, sometimes difficult, and full life.
I must be crying for myself, for the things I've lost now that he's gone. I've lost his sense of humor, his sympathetic ear, his advice on how to defeat ice dragons. I'll never see his green "online" dot again, or sit on his apartment steps and talk, and we'll never make it to the arcade. I'm crying for the holes in the world where he used to be.
I'm not religious. I've never doubted that when I die, my body will return its component parts to the cycle of the universe. Eventually, elements of me will become new life, new people, new stars. I don't need a heaven, for my own death. But, for the first time, I deeply wish I believed in one now, so that I could imagine my friend tanned and healthy in a celestial Tahiti, drinking frosty beverages with his feet in the waves and his lover at his side. I want a heaven for my friend.