My Sweet Brooke: This picture was taken when you turned 11. It was your very last birthday on Earth and, while I remember it so well, we all thought you had so many more. We went to dinner in Hermosa Beach with Nana and Ray. You’re wearing the outfit you picked out just hours earlier at TIlly’s on your birthday shopping spree. I loved shopping with you. Your sense of style was incredible for a girl your age. You knew what looked good on you and you also knew what looked good on others. I loved the way you would go into my closet and put together ensembles that went beyond my usual jeans and solid tees. When I told you I wasn’t young enough, or skinny enough, or pretty enough to pull off an outfit like that, you’d just shake your head adamantly. You saw the best in me, and the best in others, too.
Blake and I were just talking about that on the way to his School of Rock rehearsal (you should hear how amazing he is on guitar)! He told me he could name many people…kids and adults… who became kinder after you passed away. We agree that your quiet influence was bigger than you ever knew, and that it remains just as strong. And there are so many people who never knew you while you were here, but they know you now through the stories we continue to tell. Brookie, you remain my compass, showing me where to go. You are also my beacon and I’m always focused on your light. It shines so brightly as I watch Blake and Daddy goofing around. I see it in Leah’s eyes when she’s laughing and in the way she dances to the Wiggles just like you did at her age. I stay in the light because that’s where you are, and that’s where I feel closest to you.
We’ve spent three birthdays without you here, but we still eat pasta and chocolate cake and we will continue to do so forever. Each birthday, we promise to give something to others on your behalf. Last year, your friends started Brooke’s Books. And this year we’re doing it again! I know you’d love my friend, Lindy Evans. She was the one who recommended your favorite book, “Shadow Castle”. Lindy has been a steadfast friend, and she’s one of the people I can call anytime I’m sad about you. She always listens and she never tries to diminish what a great loss it is to no longer have you here. I’m so glad we can help her school this year.
So sweet Brooke, I hope you have chocolate cake in Heaven. I know you have friends there, and many of them are the children of parents I’ve met here who miss their kids as much as I miss you. I hope you’ve met our family and close friends who are already there: Grandfather Randle, Grandpa Sandy, Uncle Sammy, Aunt Margaret, Aunt Dolly, Patty, Mike and Tom and Beth. A few months ago I had a dream that I found you in Heaven. You ran to me and hugged me so tight! Your hair smelled exactly as I remembered and your long fingers wrapped themselves around my back. You simply exclaimed, “I never knew I could miss you so much and it’s only been two weeks!” That’s exactly what I hope it feels like when we meet again. For now I’m here raising Blake and Leah and taking care of Daddy and Dudley. My hope is that time slows down enough for you not to miss us too much, although we will always miss you each and every moment. We promise to celebrate every one of your birthdays forever with these three things: pasta, chocolate cake and books. And we promise to live each day with these two things: kindness and light. Because Brooke, that is exactly what you were – and what you still are to us all. Love, Mom, Dad, Blake, Leah and Dudley
Brooke’s Books will help Lindy Evan’s 2nd Grade Classroom at Rawson STEAM School in Hartford, Connecticut. Budgetary restrictions have limited teachers’ ability to build adequate classroom libraries. Used or new books may be sent to: Lindy Evans, Rawson STEAM School, 260 Holcomb Street, Hartford, CT, 06112
You can also do PayPal at Lindy Evans@comcast.net and she will apply her teacher discount to purchase the books she needs. Brooke’s Books runs through March 31. Thank you for supporting our beautiful girl as we continue to celebrate Brooke’s life and her love of reading.