Gone - Johanna Hochegger (Short Story)

In her debut story for the site, Johanna Hochegger pens a tale of love, loss, and the difficulty of moving on.

She was standing in front of that cold grey stone.


The one that showed his name and the date on when her whole world had broken apart. From that moment on, she would never be able to pick up the pieces again, and would never be the same again.


The cemetery was cold and icy, Over some pieces of grass; snowflakes had made themselves a home. But the coldness didn´t matter to her, Nothing mattered anymore. He was gone. That was all she needed to shut herself away from the world's cruelty.


The tears were silently streaming down her face, making their way slowly down her cheeks, leaving a cold track of salty sadness.


She knew she would never be able to feel whole again. No matter what. When he had left, he had taken her heart with him, and it had gotten ripped apart. She was sure she would never smile again. The sadness would cover her mind forever.


He had been her world. He was what had kept her sane, happy, and full of joy. He made her life what it was, challenged and surprised her, made her think about everything and look at bad things in a new way. Because of him, she was who she was. He had always been there for her and made every slightest sign of sadness go away.


He couldn´t be replaced, She wouldn´t even dare to think about it. They were supposed to be together forever. But forever had been so much shorter than she had thought it would be and now, she was alone.


So she kept coming to that cold place, trying to find at least a little piece of comfort. But whenever she saw that grave- his grave, with the single red rose on it- it just made it all even more real.


It made her realize that he was gone forever, and although she could wish and dream just as much as she wanted, even praying for him to come back, he wouldn´t.


So, she kept starring at the grey stone. Her mind filled with bitterness, sadness and guilt. Whenever she thought it all through, there were always the "what ifs". She felt guilt for letting it happen- though she could have done nothing to prevent it. But. after all, it still felt as if it was her fault.


She continued coming there every day, sometimes praying, sometimes crying, sometimes breaking down, sometimes wishing to make it all go away, but it never worked. And all she could do was to remember the good times they had had.


She remembered the smile that had played on his lips, that instantly made her sorrows go away and somehow even made her smile too.


She remembered the times she was full of worry, already crying. He didn´t hesitate to embrace her in a tight hug, not letting her go and it had always helped her.


And then she remembered the times they were simply together. They didn´t need words. All they needed were themselves, and their thoughts, wishes and dreams were the same.


When she cried her soul out and he would hold her face while whipping the tears away with his thumbs, always managing to soothe her pain by just being there.


All she ever needed... was him.


And then, there was the day that would stay in her mind forever. Her memory would make sure she would never forget. That one day took all her joy, all her belief in the world- in her prayers and in her convictions- away.


She was able to recall every single moment from the beginning. The moment she got the phone call, dropping her phone, frozen in her tracks for the slightest second, letting it all sink before she ran faster than she ever had. During her way she instantly knew that one of her biggest fears was coming true: losing someone.


Those pictures were frozen in her head from the moment she stepped into his hospital room. Blood was everywhere, as were the tears both of them were sharing.


She could still feel his hand squeezing hers, and even in his last moments, he tried to comfort her. He said he was sorry for doing that to her, and for leaving her alone. That he wanted her to get all she wanted and that she deserved the best. That he loved her and he always would.


And then there was the sound- the ultimate sound from the heart monitor- that showed her that it was over. That he had gone forever.


The day of his funeral she felt nothing. She simply cried throughout the day. She didn´t feel the hugs people embraced her in, she didn´t hear the words of consolation meant for her. He was gone and nothing else mattered.


And so she tried to soothe the pain she felt inside of her with her daily visits to the grave, trying to find a little piece of hope in the deep whole of grief she was in. She tried to bring at least a little sense to all of it, but she couldn´t. Where was fairness? Where was life fair at that point?


All she learned from that was that your family, your friends and loved ones are all you have. You should hold them close to you and let them know how much they mean to you. Try not to argue, Be together in peace and stay together. Hold them close and don't shut them out.


You should be there for them just as much as they are there for you. You should show your love for them, because when hard times arise they will never let you down, and, in the end, they are all we have.


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