To Brooke on Your 16th Birthday

Dear Brooke,

I’m sitting by the fire with a cup of tea struggling to find the words for your annual birthday letter. You should be here, drinking tea and talking about how exciting your life is right now. You should be driving and shopping for prom dresses. Instead, I’m just imaging what you’d d be like, longing for your presence, and angry as hell that your life was cut so heartbreakingly short.

I want to spit out raw words of rage that scream of the injustice and unfairness of it all,  but I can’t anymore… and there are two reasons. The first is because you would never want me to do that,  and I won’t embarrass you just because you’re not here to stop me.

The second is because I’ve learned so much about the world since you so tragically left. It’s full of  bereaved parents who miss their children as much as I miss you. In the five years since your last birthday on Earth, I’ve met many parents who lost their children,  and they are some of the kindest people in the world. I know their angel kids through the stories they tell, and they’re special like you, with big hearts and a wisdom beyond their brief time here.

I can’t begin to understand any of this, but I know somehow we are all connected and you remain connected to me, to Blake, to Dad and even to Leah who just yesterday made a car from some recently found old Legos. She put a little girl figure in the car and said, “Brookie.” How could she know that your name is still on her back in masking tape from the day you took it to preschool?

It’s after Midnight now and I know tomorrow will be difficult, but we’ll smile through our tears and allow our home to be filled with the light and warmth we feel when we let go of the anger and sadness and just let your spirit into our hearts and minds. It won’t be easy. It’s never easy. But we have no choice.

And I think that’s your birthday gift. Our continued connection to you. Because Brooke, if we can find the strength to push away the anger, sadness and grief… all that’s left is our love for you. And my hope is that you feel it on your birthday, and every moment of every day until we meet again.

 

4 thoughts on “To Brooke on Your 16th Birthday

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