In this personal piece on grief and loss, formatted and laid out as a personal thesaurus of sorts, Jackie Domenus reflects on the drug overdose of Chris, a close cousin. Domenus celebrates their friendship, remembers their adolescence and life growing up in New Jersey, and expresses anger and regret over the circumstances of Chris’ death.

Yearn, v.

Synonyms: desire strongly, ache

At family parties now, we get ready to have cake and someone says, “Is everyone here?”

“Yup,” someone else answers.

And I wish that were true, but someone is always missing.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.