Ah hoped and prayed that this day would never come. Ah always wished that ya would stay by mah side forever, an' the two of us would have the time of our lives.
An' yet, here Ah am standin' by yer grave. Ah guess everypony's time has ta come eventually. But why did your time hafta be now?
Huh, time. We sure had a good one together. Why, Ah'll never forget the first day I met ya. I couldn't help but laugh at how small and helpless ya looked in that basket. When ya saw me, ya gave me a little grin, an' Ah knew we'd soon be the best of friends.
We grew up together, playin' amongst the apple trees, frolickin' in the lake and hangin' around town together. Folk often said we were inseparable — that where one o' us was, tha other was never too far behind.
Soon, ya had become just as strong and independent as Ah am. Ya didn't take no manure from anypony. But at tha same time, ya weren't one ta hold a grudge. If'n ya fell out with somepony, ya would try yer darnedest ta make peace with 'em.
Like when Ah tried harvestin' all of the apple trees mahself. Ya tried ta get me ta stop, but Ah just shunned yer advice and told ya to mind yer business. Not that ya listened ta me, of course. If anythin', it just made ya all tha more determined ta get me to listen ta reason and accept the help. And I did, eventually. Granted, it were Twilight who got me ta see sense, but you played your part. If it wasn't for you pesterin' me, Ah never would have listened, and Ah might've hurt mahself somethin' awful.
Ah felt horrible fer the way Ah treated ya, but you accepted mah apologies like the good friend ya are... Ah mean were. And soon we were actin' like it never happened.
Ya were always there with a welcoming ear and a shoulder ta cry on, ready and willin' ta listen ta anypony's problems.
When Apple Bloom was gettin' teased about not havin' her cutie mark, ya were quick ta offer her a hug — ya dang near burst, she squeezed ya that hard! But ya didn't seem ta mind. All of Bloom's troubles seemed ta disappear when she hugged ya.
Time and time again, she would come home from school bawlin' her eyes out, and you'd be first in there with the hugs, while Ah provided the comforting words. When her latest bout of Crusadin' failed, you were there. When she ended up hurtin' herself because her latest bout of Crusadin' failed, you were there.
When Mac got over tha effects o' that love potion Apple Bloom an' her friends slipped him, he got ta thinkin' that he'd like to see Cheerilee properly. But the big galoot was too afraid ta tell her. So ya kept pesterin' him about it, even goin' so far as to run all tha way ta Cheerilee's house with him hot on yer tail. Soon as those two locked eyes with each other, that was it. He asked her out, she accepted, and you got a treat as a thank-you.
It's been a few years now, and they're engaged! Would ya believe it? Ah still can't. It's just a dang shame ya ain't gonna be there ta enjoy the weddin'. Ya didn't do it very well, but ya loved ta dance. Then again, Twilight could make ya look like John Trotvolta.
Ya even helped Granny Smith when the Flim Flam Brothers came an' tried ta take tha farm from us. Ah'll admit, mah own stubborn nature nearly cost us our home. Thankfully, those two goofed up, an' we haven't seen 'em since. But Granny was fearful fer days that they might come back an' try again. She sat on the porch an' kept a lookout fer any sign o' them or their infernal cider machine.
An' you were right there with her, makin' sure she didn't freeze. Ya brought her a blanket, and then ya took over tha watch when Granny fell asleep — which didn't take too long. She was mighty happy fer yer help, but ya didn't care much fer the praise. As far as y'all were concerned, ya were just helpin' out a friend.
Ya were always the first one Ah saw when Ah had yet another nightmare about what Discord showed me, just waitin' with a calming nuzzle ta reassure me that everythin' was gonna be fine. Ya then stayed by mah side as Ah tried ta get back ta sleep. Ah felt as if ya were mah guardian, watchin' over me. Yer presence was enough ta soothe mah nerves, that's fer sure.
... ya know, Ah never did tell ya how much Ah appreciated everythin' ya did for us. But Ah think ya knew, even if Ah never mentioned it. Ya just had a way of knowin' these things.
Darlin', ya were more than a friend ta us Apples. Heck, we considered ya part o' the family. Ya stuck by us through thick an' thin, always ready and willin' ta help out. In fact, if'n Ah'm honest, Ah saw ya as more than a friend or member of the family.
... Ah loved ya, sugarcube. Celestia knows Ah loved ya with all mah heart. An' I never got a chance ta tell ya that before ya before... well, ya know what happened. Savin' me from those Timberwolves was the bravest thing Ah've ever seen. In a way, that was your way of telling me how much Ah meant to ya.
Ya put yerself on the line ta save mah flank, and Ah'll never forget it. But know that Ah woulda done the same fer you in a heartbeat. Ya may be gone, but the memories Ah have... well, Ah'll cherish 'em fer the rest of mah days.
I gotta go, darlin'. But Ah'll be back ta see ya again soon. Ya were a good friend, and Ah'm proud to have known ya.
Rest in peace Winona, rest in peace.