Dear Anna (2nd edition)

Dear Anna,

I know God is passing on my messages to you, and I'm glad because I have so much to say to you that I need you to hear.

First of all, this one is obvious but I miss you so much it hurts. Lately, everyone's lives have started going back to "normal"; Daddy and I went back to work, and most of your friends did too. We aren't planning your funeral or making decisions about that stuff anymore. Instead, we are trying to move on with our lives and go back to the way things were before you went to heaven.

I didn't think that this would be hard. I don't know why, but it never occurred to me how hard this would be. Although it is nice to stay busy and do something during the day, it kind of reminds me of how much I miss you. It's hard to explain, but I guess doing things "normally" makes it more clear how not normal things are now. We can go on with our lives the way they were before, but we can't ignore the fact that our lives aren't and never will be the way they were before. Life can't be "normal" or the way it was when you were still with us because you're not with us anymore. Not physically, anyway. It doesn't feel right for our lives to keep going when yours here on Earth came to an end. It just feels like we are pretending to be normal when we know we can never be normal again.

Today, when I was driving home from work, I thought about you and for a minute, I thought that I would see you. I haven't been to work since you went to heaven, so it has always been a normal part of coming home to see you. I was looking forward to seeing you and asking you how your day was when all the sudden I remembered. I remembered I wouldn't see you when I got home. Not today, not ever. And it felt like I lost you all over again, Anna.

I want so badly to talk to you, to see your beautiful smiling face again. To hear your laugh after you "nailed a funny joke".

I know you would tell me I'm crazy, but I have so many regrets about your life. I hate that I was away for so much of the last year of your life and that we would sometimes go months without talking. If I could have those days back, I would call you 200 times in a row if that's how many times it took you to answer the phone! I would demand more skype dates. I would do whatever I could to stay updated with your life. I feel like I really missed out on a lot by not keeping in touch better and it kills me. I'm learning so much about you from the memories your friends share (by the way so are Mommy and Daddy. They're learning things about you you probably never wanted them to know!). I love hearing their stories about you, but at the same time it makes me sad that I missed out on that stuff. That I'm just hearing these stories from them, and that I didn't hear them from you when it happened. If only I would have picked up the phone or sent a text and said "what did you do last night?" maybe I would've known some of these things sooner.

I know I can't live life in regret and I know you wouldn't want me worrying about stupid things like this, so I'm trying to let it go.

Before I go, I just wanted to tell you that you picked great friends. You definitely knew what you were doing when you chose your best friends because you left me with some great sisters and brothers. It is amazing how close we have become, Anna, and it is all because of you. We all miss you, but we are helping each other heal the hurt that you leaving us has put in our hearts.

I love you, Sissy, and I will always miss you but I am so happy to know you are in a better place. I am so happy you're not suffering anymore and I can only imagine all the cool people you are meeting up in heaven! I'll see you again someday.


I miss this...

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The First of Many

When we knew that Anna's life was coming to an end, there were several conversations between family members and I about what life would be like without her and how we would go on. One conversation in particular stuck out to me because it was something that had not crossed my mind before.

While eating lunch with my uncle, we were discussing Anna's impending death and how unfair it seems.
"Nothing will ever be the same," he pointed out. He went on to talk about our annual family reunion, her birthday, and every holiday after she passes away and how they would never be the same.

Today, on the first holiday we have experienced since Anna passed away, I realize how true those words are. Nothing will ever be the same. And today? It wasn't the same. My heart broke for my dad as he experienced his first father's day without one of the people who made him a father. As we ate dinner as our new family of 3, it was clear things were not the same. There was something missing. Someone, to be exact. My mom picked out gifts for him she thought Anna would pick out. But she wasn't here to deliver them. She wasn't here to wish my dad a Happy Father's Day, or to give him a hug.

As I reflected on this bittersweet holiday, I came to the realization that this is the way things will be from now on. Not just holidays, but every happy moment from now on. We will still enjoy the holidays and the happy moments in life, of course but a part of us will be hurting. Our hearts will ache from the pain that losing Anna has caused. We will wish that she was here, but we will also take comfort in the fact that she is here in spirit and that she is in a better place. Nothing will ever be the same, how could it be? But this life without Anna, this new normal is in place of how things were before and we have to make that the best it can be. We have to take things one step at a time, and today we accomplished one step; we made it through the first holiday. Sure, there will be many more to come but we can at least take comfort in the fact that we know now we can do it.

The two luckiest girls in the world to have such a great dad..

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