When I was growing up, I always wanted to be like you. I wanted to use my body to run, to swim, to ride horses. I wanted to travel to far away places and send my nieces post cards filled with colors and excitements. I wanted to be beautiful just like you. You were everything that I thought a grown up should be.
As I grew up, I realized that just like everyone else in this world, you had your moments. You were human. You weren’t perfect. No one is. You had your vices and I have mine. And that was okay. I always knew you loved me. I was your baby. It’s okay that you weren’t perfect, because you taught me that imperfection could be beautiful.
I have a memory of being very small out on on Grandpa Frank’s vineyard. You and grandpa were swinging by both my arms through that vines while we took our walk. I was so happy to be there with you. When I was older me and my friends would ride our bikes over to your house once a week to see you, and you always welcomed us in. We would walk through your gate past the garden that you loved so much and smell the flowers that you took such good care of. I would be afraid from the dog that seemed twice my size, but I know that you would always protect me from him. You would feed us cookies and pretend like everything was okay. Because you were brave. And strong. You put up such a good front for everyone even when you were scared.
Once all the badness happened we thought that you were going to be okay. We knew that the life that you had dreamed for yourself had been taken away from you, but we thought you could make it through anything. We were so proud of you for being so brave, and we would have done anything to protect you from the man that made you cry so often in those first couple of years.
Then, you were diagnosed. Everyone was scared; but you were strong. The body that you loved and maintained, and prized so much was ripped from you and mutilated and destroyed. During this process, we still thought everything was going to be okay. It’s strange, everyone just kept thinking, that’s alright, things change, and this is how things are going to be now for a little while, and then things will change again. There’s no way to stop wishing for a miracle, though. We all wished for miracles.
You were so strong for us, I don’t remember ever seeing you truly cry. That’s how you would have wanted it. I understand that things get taken away from us in this life, but you didn’t deserve to have so much taken away from you. Just know, that you had us, all along. No matter what happened, and not matter what was said, you always had us.
I just keep thinking back to when I was in eighth grade, and you were first diagnosed. You knew you were going to lose you hair, and your breasts, and we wanted to do something for you before that happened. So you, my mom, and I flew up to Washington to see James Marster. You got your picture taken with him, and put your arm around him like he was an old friend. It was so cool. You were so happy.
I don’t know what to do now. How we’ll get through the rest of our lives without you. You should be here. It doesn’t seem fair that you were taken from this world before you were ready to go. We all know that you had stuff left that you wanted to do, but we also know that you are no longer in pain. Wherever you are, I hope that in a way you get to start over, pain free, and do all the things that you couldn’t do in this lifetime.
I know that if I keep you with me, that you’ll be able to live on through me. It won’t be the same as seeing you everyday, but I know whenever I think of you you’ll be here. I had a vision of my wedding day once. My mom was crying over course, trying to take pictures, and telling me she loved me. Auntie Colleen was trying to fix my dress and make sure that everybody was doing what they were supposed to (taking charge like we all know we want her to). And you were standing with me, holding my hand, telling me how beautiful I looked and that I would be the one to do it right.
I see you now, as a little girl. In a body that hasn’t fallen apart. In a body that can run, and laugh, and play. Surrounded by people that love you. Making new friends, and seeing old ones that were never forgotten. I see you surrounded in light, in a world where divorce isn’t real, nobody leaves, and no one ever forgets. No one here will ever forget you. I’ll see you when I see you.
I just want to lay down in the grass during the warm night and look up at the stars. I want to be in your arms and talk about all my hops and dreams, ideas, and ambitions. I want to have freedom in my days, and endless possibilities at night. I don’t want to feel tied down to obligations and duties. I just want to love and be loved, lay in my man’s arms, and hope that these next two weeks will last forever.