Dear Jakey,

I’ve been struggling lately with happiness. I try pretty hard to be happy and in the moment but the startling realization that you are gone always pops up. And dulls the happiness. The beginning of the school year seemed particularly difficult. The excitement and nervousness around the first day was such a high which then became mixed up in all that was different and missing.

There is so many new things that we are doing and sometimes I am not sure what to make of it. I hate knowing that so much of what we do now is a direct result of you not being here. It makes it all seem wrong, no matter how fun it is. One of my oldest friends, who I am so grateful you were able to meet ,wrote me the following words this summer. They sum it up better than I ever could about what I think we are all trying to do. And I appreciate so much her putting it in words. Because I worry that you think we are having too much fun without you, when the truth is we would give up all our trips and adventures for even a second more with you. This is what she wrote:

“Hey girl. I’ve been seeing all your fun pictures lately and it’s so good to see you out there giving life your best shot! I want you to know that I have kept my promise, and always will. I have not for one single moment forgotten about Jake and you and how it has affected you. I know we all put on good faces for others or are living our lives, having fun, but inside there is always something inside us that is all ours and only ours and is always present. I love you sister. I am very proud of you for living on, having experiences with your friends and family and giving it your best! I know Heather. I just know and I somehow understand a bit about your situation. I love you, always will. I look forward to seeing more and more wonderful, beautiful and if I may say HOT pictures of you on Facebook! xoxo -HMD”

Can’t wait to see you again,