Dear Anna (Letter 7)

I skipped a couple weeks in writing to you, and I don't know why. I have so much that I want to tell you but lately I've been struggling to find the right words. I hope this gets better soon because writing to you is the best way to deal with missing you. Speaking of missing you, I still miss you so much. In some ways it is easier now that you've been gone 2 months; you kind of get used to the sadness that you feel all the time. But in a lot of ways it just keeps getting harder.

It is mostly getting harder because I have come to realize that as much as we don't want it to, life goes on without you, and as time goes on there are more and more moments that I wish you were a part of. It is hard to think of all the events that I wished you were a part of in the last 2 months and know how many more there will be to come.

Last week, I had a dream that was like I was looking into the future. I saw myself (a lot older) holding a baby that I guess was mine. I remember looking at this baby and thinking I needed a name for her. "Anna would know what I should name her," I thought and then I realized that I couldn't call you and ask for your advice. I can't even try to explain the pain I felt at that moment; I knew this should be a happy moment and I wanted to feel all that happiness but when I realized you weren't a part of it all I could do was cry. I know this was a weird way to explain the obvious; that I will miss you at important moments in my life such as this, but it just reminded me what is inevitable; that no longer how long you've been gone I will always miss you. Just because this dream took place several years into the future didn't mean I missed you any less then than I do now. I know I will never stop missing you.

Last weekend we had to say goodbye to you again. We had a service at Prince of Peace to put your ashes into the resurrection garden. It was the first time I'd been back to Prince of Peace since your memorial and funeral and as soon as I walked into that church, it was like I was reliving that day all over again. It was all too familiar; we parked in the same spot and walked in to the atrium where we were greeted by friends and family, we sat in the front row again... all I could think about the whole time were those days that we said goodbye to you. And now here we were, saying goodbye again. Mommy and Daddy decided that I could carry your ashes, and while it was an honor, it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I was holding the last physical remains of you while Father Jim spoke about life after death and how your memory would live on. Then, I had to place the box of ashes into your resting place. I had to let go of you literally, and it was so hard. I didn't want to have say good bye; not again.

We had all of your friends over last weekend for one last dinner party before everyone leaves for college and it was amazing, Anna. I know I've told you this before but you really knew what you were doing when you picked your best friends; they are truly amazing people. I am so thankful that I have gotten to know them the way I have this summer; I just wish you were here to see how much we have bonded. Mommy gave us all frames that night with one of your journal entries in it.  "One thing that has been on my mind is that I may some miss some moments I would want to be at," you wrote, "Or just I want to be thought of during this time. And I believe if I miss any of these times I will be there, and I'll be smiling and happy." This, I know, has brought us all so much comfort. It is impossible to be with your friends and not think of you. It is impossible to laugh with them, and to enjoy each others company without thinking of you. I can guarantee you that we are all thinking of you during these times, and wishing that you were with us. It is so comforting to know that you believe you are, and now I believe it too.

I can't believe it's been 2 months today, Anna. I think so much about your last days here. How I tried to spend as much time with you as possible. I remember laying in bed the entire day with you watching The Simple Life. We didn't always say much when we were together, but I cherished the time we spent together. I would do anything to spend just one more day with you. I knew our days were numbered, but I thought I had so much more time. I thought we would have time to say good bye, to talk about how much I would miss you. I wish we had that time...

I found this quote today and I couldn't have said it better myself: "You never said I'm leaving, You never said good-bye. You were gone before I knew it, and only God knew why. A million times I've needed you, A million times I've cried. If love alone could've saved you, You never would have died. In life I loved you dearly, In death I love you still. In my heart you hold a place, No one else will ever fill. It broke my heart to lose you, But you didn't go alone. Part of  me went with you, The day God took you home."I will always miss you, Anna, and I always will but you are always in my heart.

P.s. How proud of me are you for this!!? You have inspired so many tattoos in your honor, I know you love that!

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