They say everyone grieves differently. I’ve surprised myself with how strong I’ve been able to be during this transition. They say you don’t know how strong you really are until you have to be, and I see now more than ever how true that statement is. I know I need to be strong for my family, for my brother. I know how much I hurt and can’t bring myself to imagine the depths of their sorrow. You’ve never been one to seek sympathy in others and I think you would be proud of how well I’ve held it together. The number of tears I have shed are fewer than even I’d expected. I left the hospital on Wednesday, just hours after we parted, and was able to find laughter in stories we exchanged about the past. You definitely are a character. A part of me felt guilty for embracing a piece of happiness just moments after tragedy, but I feel laughter sometimes is the best medicine.
It’s been 79 hours since we parted. I am sitting on my porch with the sun in my eyes and wind blowing against my cheeks, reflecting on the time you taught me to ride a bike. You took me to a track with dirt lanes that scuffed me knees every time I fell. I was so small you had to hold my bike up, so I could place my feet on the pedals before takeoff. I can still hear you yell, “Go Bri, Go” as I pedaled as fast as my little legs could take me, trying my hardest to stay upright. It wasn’t but a few seconds before my bike would fall sideways and you would run over and wipe the dirt from my knees and tell me to go again. I never told you, but this is one of my most treasured memories.
This will be one of the most difficult years of my life. This strength I’ve managed to hold on to will be broken down, piece by piece as your memory remains with me through each milestone. Birthday dinners will not be the same without you walking down the hall and saying, “Oh, Bri Bri.” Thanksgiving will not be the same without you, one of whom I am most grateful for in my life. My Christmas spirit will be hindered by this small void in my heart that is unable to be filled.
We had some really great moments together before we parted. I hope you know how much I love you and just how much you have always meant to me. There are a few things I didn’t get a chance to tell you. First, I want to thank you for raising my brother into such an outstanding man. I am so proud of him and through him I will always be reminded of you. I also want to thank you for being such a solid foundation in both of our lives. I will never forget everything you guys have done for us and I hope that I have made you proud.
It seems so unfair to think that I will now have to go the rest of my life without ever seeing you again. I’m angry today, but I know life must go on and you would want me to continue making you proud. I hope you have found peace, Papaw. I will never forget you.
Love Your Favorite Girl,