letters

Dear Michele,

Yesterday marked the passage of two years without you, and it’s hitting me hard. Last year’s anniversary was tough, but it was part of a whole year of Firsts-first Christmas, first birthdays, first events. We were in survival mode last year, living with our heads tucked down, weathering the storm. My mental state was one of simply ‘make it through’-not focused on the future, just focused on moving forward. Truth be told, if I had stopped long enough to let myself catch up, the grief would’ve swallowed me whole. So I kept pushing, ignoring as much as I could, because feeling things sucks, dammit!!

This year was different. I’d weathered all that, we all had, and now we’re left with the calm after the storm, if I’m sticking with the weather/sailing analogy I’ve been using. There is nothing left but this new normal life we’ve all chipped away at. We still laugh. We still smile. We still enjoy each other’s company. But there’s always an empty spot where you’re supposed to be, and God, does it ever suck. So this year was harder, in a certain way, ¬†and it makes me wonder what next year will be like.

This past year has been a roller coaster, to say the least. I’ve just finished up two classes, and will be starting my last class towards my master’s in May! Katie will be right there beside me. We’re kicking ass in this program, and it feels so good to finally feel like I’ve made the right decision. I’m also busting my ass at work, and you know things are never boring there! I’ve had some stories this year you would’ve loved to hear, but I like to think you saw them all along. I know you’d be so happy and excited that I went on a real, actual vacation and am taking some time for myself to do things I love (read: Ween concerts and live theater).

Things may have changed in this time you’ve been gone, but Katie and I stay the same. We’re a constant that you can always count on. Our relationship might be different from when we were kids, but it’s us, it’s always been us and it always will be. I promise you, I won’t let go of that. Even more, I promise that me and Mom won’t let go of the whole family: Meg, Katie and Steve. Mom and I go see Steve almost every Friday and visit for a few hours. We talk about you.

Can you believe Katie got married this year? I know you were able to see the whole thing, so you know what a beautiful bride she was. She carried sunflowers for her bouquet, in honor of you. It was a hard day without you, because we all know how much you wanted to be there, but we made the most of it. Meg is off in Chicago kicking ass with her OT placement. She and Josh have the cutest pup named Daisy. I’m going to see her while I’m in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day weekend in a couple weeks.

I wish I had something more eloquent to say. I wish I could visit you again. I miss your good morning texts, and hearing you call me ‘angel’. I miss my surrogate mom and biggest cheerleader. But I thank you for the multitude of memories that we all shared as we toasted to you yesterday.

Keep watching. I know you are.

Love,

Amb

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