Dear Sister,

I guess this is it. It’s been two years since you left this life. To be honest I’ve been feeling like I’ve been drowning. Just trying to survive. Keep it together. But today it seemed like the sun shined a little brighter, and the birds sang just a bit sweeter. It was hard to explain, but it felt like life… Is better.

I still have nightmares of when you left us. I have nightmares of what the end must have been like for you. A lot of people ask about what happened, but I don’t tell them what really happened. I haven’t ever told anyone.  I can’t bring myself to. I wish I was there, and I am sorry I never said goodbye. I’m sorry I never told you I was leaving on a mission. I always wonder if that would have made a difference. I always wonder if that would have changed your path just enough to keep you alive. I remember a very distinct conversation I had with mom. She wanted me to call you to tell you I was going on a mission. I knew in my gut I should… And I knew I wanted to… But I was afraid. I was afraid you would be mad at me. I was afraid you would be mad I didn’t tell you sooner. Which is dumb, I know.  I didn’t want you to feel like I was abandoning you. I promise I will live my life without fear.

Ever since you left I try to remember the last time I saw you. I don’t even remember when it was. What I do remember is all of the times you protected me and believed in me. You made me feel like I could do anything! I’m trying to live like that. I’m trying to become an extraordinary person and do extraordinary things, and it’s scary. It’s scary trying to do these things without you pushing me and cheering me on. I wish you were around the day I graduated college. I don’t think there is a sister on the face of the planet that passionately loved her brothers more than you did.

One of the hardest things is when I have a bad day I can’t go over to your house to watch movies and eat chicken noodle soup. I told you things I never told anyone. My fears… My doubts.. My heartaches.. I’ve never been able to have that kind of relationship with anyone else, but that was just who you were. A safe space. You were a safe space for everyone. The kindest shoulder anyone could lean on.

I’ve had many regrets over these past two years. I’ve had a lot of hard times…. But today, as I sat by your grave, I didn’t cry this time. I felt very strongly like I should let myself shine again. I felt like I should shine like you did to bring a little bit of your love into everyone I cross paths with.  I want to be like that again. I think I’m ready to be happy again.  You should have seen the smiles on everyone’s face today at easter dinner. We’re doing better, Aprildawn. Slowly but surely we are learning to smile again.We are smiling again, but we will never forget you.

I want you to know I love you with everything I have. And if there is anything I know, it’s that I will be able to hug you again someday. Easter is such a beautiful reminder of that. I know you are probably up there with Grandpa watching over us. By the way, do they have crab legs in heaven? I bet God made some just for you. Probably all claws, cuz that’s the dream!

I love you, and I will see you soon.

P.S. I made your favorite treat today for the family, tomatoes and cheese. Not as good as yours but I did my best!

Hey you reading this! I want to change the tone of what I have  experienced, and turn it into something good. If you have ever faced something difficult and are finding it hard to deal with, please reach out to me. I would love to help in any way I can, even if it is just an ear to listen. I also speak for youth groups and would be very interested in speaking to rehab groups.

You can talk to me on Instagram: @jaromrocks

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