• People came to mourn him. He lay in a beautiful blue casket adorned with a bouquet of flowers. I glimpsed at his family and held back tears as I saw them grieve over their beloved son, brother, nephew, and cousin. His mother took a toll on me. She looked longingly at her handsome son lying motionless in the casket. Tears rolled down her cheeks and I felt that stab of pain.
    My own tears came out then, grieving for his family and for the loss of my friend. I slowly made my way to the open casket and looked down at his peaceful face. His teddy bear rested neatly to his side. His face looked a little different. Too much powder to cover up the stitches he must have gotten. Either way though, I thought he looked pretty handsome in his tux.
    His family lined up one by one and each one I gave a hug of my condolences. I took my seat and the wake began. A priest came up to answer the question that I’ve been asking since I learned of his passing. “God loved him probably more than we did. He wanted Joey to be with him now. So we must not be angry at god for now our brother does not have to suffer in this world. His death brings us back to reality reminding us that our life on earth is temporary. One day God will call us home, it may tomorrow, a week from now, a year, when it’s your time it is your time. We have to prepare for when that time comes. Apologize to the people that you’ve hurt, make the wrong right for you will not feel any guilt when it’s your turn.”
    Next to speak was his two best friends. The first one spoke choking up on his words which made my heart break. I could hear burst of cries and sniffles as he tried to regain composure. His speech made us laugh and remember how big and contagious his smile was.
    Next was sisters and it broke my heart. His older sister’s speech brought tears to nearly everyone in the room. It was so heart breaking that I bit back a sob. A few more people came to speak and then the slideshow. I laughed at the silly pictures and cried at the last one. It was the night of prom and he took our friend as his date. He wore a red vest along with a tie and on his face was that infectious smile that could light up a whole room.
    We got to view his body one last time. “Hey,” I said. “You know period six is not the same without you. I keep waiting for you to come in through the door with that smile of yours and hear you say “Hey Chris” or when I’d paint or draw and you’d come up next to me saying “whoa that’s badass” and I would tell you to go away cause its creepy to watch me while I do my thing.” I paused and wiped a tear away. “Whenever the bell would ring you’d always call out “BYE” just before I walked out. I never thought anything of it. Well it’s time for me to say BYE, but it doesn’t seem right. I’ll just say see you later because I know we’ll run into each to each other again. I love you and I’ll miss you. Rest in peace dear friend,” I kissed the tips of my fingers and placed them onto the casket. “I’ll see you later.”