Dear Mom and Dad,
I miss you. Not a day goes by that I do not think about you, or think about something I wish I could share with you. Parents are irreplaceable for a child. I no longer feel complete with you both gone; like a piece of me has gone to heaven forever. Some days, I feel like I can accomplish anything, and am standing on rock solid ground, while other days, I feel l like I have stepped into unknown territory, and wish I could hold your hand and discover this new territory with you by my side.
I can say that learning to live without you has had its ups and downs. I had to learn to grow up and discover life without you both by my side. I wished more than anything, you, mom, could be here to talk to me when I needed advice about boys or getting through high school drama. Or dad, having you here for me when I was sad because my heart had been broken, and the only thing to make it better was a hug from my first true love. Learning to grow up into an independent woman was hard without my beautiful role models by my side.
The months to follow your deaths were some of the worst. My dreams would bring you back to me, if only for a moment. I would wake up some mornings, hoping to see your face, only to be brought back to that harsh reality that you were no longer here with me.
Learning to live without you involved lots ups, but also a lot of downs. I felt as though you were both stolen from me, and that I was gypped, because I lost out on some of the most valuable moments with you. With every happy moment, there has and will always be a sad thought to follow. All of my future happy moments will always be followed by a moment of sadness, as you will not get to experience some of life’s most precious and exciting memories with me.
Emotions have filled my life; from happy and joyful, to sad and angry. I have experienced every emotion there is. Some days, I felt angry, because you were ripped from this Earth way too soon. I did not feel that I got to learn from you what I wanted to learn from you. Other days, I was happy that I was able to feel such pain, because I could go on to use that pain for good by helping others cope with similar sadness. One emotion that never fully goes away, and that is always in the back of your mind, is sadness, though. Even though I may be happy overall now, I am still sad that I do not get to call you whenever I want to tell you about my day or ask you about advice.
Over the years, I would search for ways to fill this new void in my life, from losing you both. This void was filled with many things over the years, constantly looking for answers as to why. Why I had to lose you at such a young age; why I had to be the girl that lost both of her parents? Why God had created this plan for me. Why me?
As I have come to realize, the only way to fill this void, though, was to feel all of these emotions, and to remember you both, and to share your story with others. By sharing our story, and what life has been like without you, I have learned that helping others is what makes me feel good, and by reliving my life with and without you, is how I have helped heal my own wounds.
I have never forgotten you, but simply, have learned to live without you here. A piece of me will always belong in Heaven with you both, though.
After losing you both, I began a journey of self discovery. In a sense, as hard as losing you was, it made me grow up quicker than others around me, and for that, I am grateful. As I continued on this journey of self discovery, I came across many people and places that taught me different things.
One of the first moments of self discovery came from going to Camp Tekawitha! For those of you that do not know much about Camp Tekawitha, it is a wonderful and beautiful camp, where you feel at peace. It is a place where you can be completely vulnerable, and learn many life lessons. I learned so much about my endurance to continue on through life, and that I was stronger than my story. I am eternally grateful for Camp Tekawitha, because they established a fire in my heart to continue growing in my faith and as a person.
The next moment where I embraced self discovery, was at Kairos. For those of you not familiar with Kairos, it is a high school retreat, where most seniors attend and learn a great deal about themselves, and again, learn to be vulnerable. It was at Kairos that I discovered my love for sharing my story, and decided that by sharing my story, I was helping others mend their broken hearts.
By sharing the story of losing you both, I was hopefully helping someone else pick up a piece of their life, and move forward.
From that point forward, I set out to make you both proud of me, by sharing our family’s story. I did this by speaking at Wigs Out, an assembly at my high school (Aquinas) to honor cancer patients. I have also spoken in smaller group settings before, through my school and through my church.
There are still days where I wished you could’ve met my boyfriend, or that some of my best friends could’ve met you. I wish you could be here to walk me down the aisle, dad, and mom, I hoped that you could be here to choose my wedding dress with me. I know there will be many moments in life to come where I wish I could’ve shared my life with you, and call you up when I need someone to comfort me because my newborn is crying and I need my mom to tell me what to do next. I hope that you can see the man that Jack is becoming, dad, and that he makes you proud of who he is turning into. He is a spitting image of you in so many ways. And mom, I hope that you are watching Ashley in Texas, and laughing at her spunky personality. She reminds me a lot of you, and the way that you lived life.
I will never forget either of you, but have simply learned to live without you. I love you, and miss you both, and pray that you are both enjoying a nice cup of coffee in heaven, watching over all three of us and that we are making you proud.
With much love,