It’s been almost 3 years, and the memory of your courageous soul lives on. It’s been exactly 1037 days since you earned your wings and made your way onto the beautiful streets of Heaven. Since that day, the streets there have been a bit more lively and a little more full of laughter as they have been walked by the feet of a person who made all of our lives both – more lively and full of laughter. This letter started to take form on a Thursday night in June when your memory, as it did often, captivated my thoughts and left me with nothing less than a full heart and soft smile. Even when the thought of you hurts with an intensity that makes it hard to breathe, I’m still able to smile just enough to remember that moving forward is what you would want. So, how about we catch you up 🙂
A lot has happened since you’ve been away. The boys became men, as they stepped into a new role of being fathers. Taylor married Hannah – I remember how much you loved her. They had their second baby at the beginning of this year. He looks just like Taylor! His grin is enough to light up an entire room. And Adley, well… she is really special. I’ll always think of her as the first good thing that happened since my world lost its sparkle. Somehow, she swept in and filled our lives with a joy that made everything start to seem okay again. Christian and Nicole have a little girl named Shelby – yes, after his favorite car 🙂 She’s a spitfire, much like yourself! You would get a kick out of her playful nature.
The thing I love most about meeting these little guys, as they come into the world, is knowing that you met them first. I’m sure you kissed their sweet faces and sent them on their way.
Mom’s doing well. She’s happy, like really happy. You’d be so proud of her. She has faced incredible challenges with her work, her health, and everything between here and there, but she’s killing it. She’s so good at being a grandma, it’s like she had a really good teacher or something 😉 No matter what, it’s like she knows exactly what to say. I’m sure you’ve already seen them, but she leaves the most beautiful flowers for you. And your legacy, yeah… she’s carrying that on too. Her Thanksgiving dinners have really outdone themselves! She’s carrying on your legacy, and she’s starting traditions of her own. I see so much of you in her, and it’s so beautiful. She’s a beautiful person
Dad’s good too, he’s working as hard as he always does. You would have been so thankful for him. He took such good care of all of us when things were so hard. I don’t know how he was able to keep it together, but he did. He was really strong. He and mom bought a new house. You would love it! It’s an open concept with a beautiful deck on the back, and the patio furniture… well, you know.
I cut all my hair off because I thought it made me look like you. Some people didn’t like, but I didn’t care. It’s gown back now, but I think you would have liked it.
Last Christmas was so good. We all got together at Erik and Jennifer’s house. Gosh, I love them. They are thriving. I know you just giggle when you see them together. They are literally the cutest ever. And Kitten, she’s wonderful. She and Freddie are so great. We’ve all become even closer over the last couple of years. It’s cool. Family is everything, and we’ve got a great one.
Ryan says hi 🙂 His Mom & Dad, and Shannon are keeping well. He never stopped sharing stories about you. My favorite is when he tells me that I remind him of you. Every now and then, I’ll get a little sassy haha I’m not sure where that comes from 😉 It’s true though, being like you is the best compliment. He’s been so good to me these last couple of years. We’re moving soon, not stateside haha I knew that’d be your first question. We’re moving to another town in Canada, but it’s really good. It has all the right things for us: good schools, 10-minute commute to the college, some career opportunities for me, and tons of houses to choose from. It reminds me of back home, you’d like it.
Everyone here misses you so much. I don’t think a day goes by that we don’t think about you. You’d be proud though, we’re keeping each other going. We could never forget you, and even though it seemed like we’d never be able to smile again, somehow, we’ve learned how to keep laughing. Your memory has become a symbol of comfort and security. And that necklace, you know… the one with our dates on it? People always ask about it. I love showing them your wedding date, and mom’s, Mama Stevens’, and mine too.
Your wedding band hasn’t left my right hand since it left yours. I never knew a piece of metal could be so powerful. I don’t think I’ll ever take it off.
I saw Ms. Kay at Easter. She looks good. We had a little chat about you – how could we not 🙂 She’s really keeping well, serving in meaningful ministries and attending church with Papa David and Granny Grace. It really is a small world. Matthew joined the service. I’ve seen him a few times since that September. I think he’s doing okay. I mean, it’s hard. I get it. We try to check in on each other, but sometimes, I think we remind each other too much of you. So, it’s just quick “Hello’s” here and there. Papa Jack had surgery, but he got some really good news today. He’s doing a lot better, still some recovery to come, but better for sure. He got me a new tactical pen and taught me all the tricks to stay safe. I think our conversations would make you smile. They certainly make me.
I graduated from college, again. My friend took a picture of Mom hugging me the way that you hugged me the first time around. We all cry at it when we see it. It was the highlight of that day. So, I think I’ve finally found my nitch in my career field. It’d be easier to know for sure if you were here. You always knew how to make me feel like I was walking in the direction of my destiny. Sometimes, I ask questions out loud hoping I’ll hear your answer… but it doesn’t really work that way. That’s okay, I think you would love the direction I’m looking at… working with women who have been rescued from human trafficking. I want to work directly with the police department, like you, except from the clinical counseling side of it. Sound good?
“It’s been a long day, without you my friend, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again…” This is pretty much the story of my life these last couple of years. I’ve just wanted to tell you about everything.
The future is looking good for all of us down here. Our friends have become family, and our family has grown with little ones. Hopefully, Ryan and I can make it grow even more in a few years. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that one 😉 It’s still so weird, sometimes, when I walk in the room and think you’ll be there. Or I’ll pick up the phone with your number already dialed. It’s okay though. I’d rather have those moments then nothing at all.
So, a really special young lady that you would just absolutely adore told me about things called God Winks. It’s when something happens, and you’re like, “Wait a minute… God, was that you?” Well, it kind of happens a lot, but I love the winks that involve butterflies. When we were in Israel on this last trip, it was hotter than a firecracker on the fourth of July, and the air was completely still. Right when I thought it couldn’t get any more uncomfortable, a cluster of butterflies fluttered through, and of course, they reminded me of you. It’s still the little things like it’s always been.
Well, it’s time this letter comes to a close. I know you don’t have computers up there, but I’m secretly hoping the wi-fi reaches you 😉 We all sense you looking down on us, keeping us safe, guiding us when you can, and holding our places while you wait for us. Keep kissing our babies as you send them down, and we’ll keep trying to make you proud.
All of my love,
– the Granddaughter