Today* we celebrated your life during a beautiful memorial service. All your friends and family and people you didn't even know gathered together to honor you.
Today was a day I've been dreading since you went to heaven; I know I already said goodbye to you, but this would be so final, so real. I was scared about whether or not I could handle it. I thought about how strong you always were, and how strong you would want me to be, and I hoped I could do it for you.
Today, I know you were with me, Anna, because you gave me your strength. Although it was a tough, emotional day, I was able to hold it together and be strong. I've been thinking a lot about what I learned from you, and what traits you "passed on" to me. You were always more concerned with others than yourself; that was said over and over today and it is so true. You never told your friends you were dying because you didn't want them to be sad. You didn't want me, and Mommy and Daddy to be sad either. You would do whatever you could to make everyone else happy. I think you passed that trait on to me, because this past week I have been thinking a lot about everyone elses feelings. When your friends are around and they are sad, I just want to take that pain away from them. I don't even think about my own pain because I am concerned with how they are doing. I am sure that is you transferring that responsibility onto me and I am so glad. You would be so proud to see how much your friends and I have bonded. We are really getting through this together, and even though no one could or ever will replace me, they are like my sisters now.
Today, everyone celebrated you. It was just the way you would want it. It wasn't too sad, or cheesy. Everyone wore purple or bright colors instead of black; you said black was too sad and depressing. You never wanted anyone to be depressed. Everyone talked about what a special person you are and how you impacted so many lives. You should be so proud of yourself. I'm sure you are a big deal up in heaven because prayers have been flooding for you the past year and a half. You are always on my mind, Anna, but today, sitting in Prince of Peace during mass brought so many memories back. Remember how we used to be so bored in church we'd play that chopsticks game you made up? Or when we would laugh at Mommy for crying at the sad songs? Remember when we would bring the church booklets home and "play" church? Sometimes we'd even baptize our baby dolls! Those are special memories that I will never forget, Anna.
Today, you would be so proud of some of your best friends. Katherine, Maggie, Lexi, Tara and Allie all got up and spoke about you and how much you meant to them. I know you gave them the strength to do that, because that is not easy. You would be so touched by all the nice things they said about you. There is no doubt that you changed their lives forever.
Today, your favorite band Manchester Orchestra was here to help us celebrate your life. I have no doubt that you played a huge role in making this happen. When I talked to the Tour Manager tonight, he pointed out how the timing of everything worked out perfectly; they happened to be in town the night of your high school graduation so you could go up on stage and get serenaded by Andy, and how they happened to have just ended their tour so they could be here tonight. Those kind of things don't just happen, Anna. They came to the service at church and got to hear how many lives you touched and hear how touched you were by meeting them. Clearly, the feeling was mutual; they adore you, Anna. They talk so highly of you and how it was such a great honor to meet you. They even came to Aunt Cathy and Uncle Dan's to put on a private show for your friends and family. It was pretty amazing, but you already know how awesome they are!
I can't believe it's been almost a week since you've been gone. I know tomorrow is gonna be another tough day, but I have no doubt you will be there passing on your strength that you are so infamous for to me. I don't know why you chose me to give your strength to; maybe it's because you knew I would need it the most because you're my only sister. Maybe it's so I could carry out your legacy and help others be strong. You taught us all how to be strong, Anna, and I am sure glad you did. It is so hard to be without you, and I'd do anything to get you back but I know you're in a better place now. I can't wait to meet again someday. Until then, we'll all float on!
Love you more than you know.
P.s. I know you already got your own private serenade of this song, but Andy sang it to us tonight and it was pretty spectacular, so I thought you should see.
*This post was originally scheduled for last night, so change today to yesterday, etc.