One of the hardest things about this year has been not having you here to walk me through it.

So many times I have needed you. So many times, I have ached to have you here by my side, with your perfect compassion, your perfect empathy, your perfect understanding. . .your wisdom.

You are so wise.

There have been times when I’ve felt like I was falling. Falling into a chasm of eternal depth and indescribable confusion, and it was your memory that brought me through. Specifically, it was the strength I gained from having had to say goodbye to you.

You in so many ways saved me.

Losing you, saved me.

It prepared me for what would have otherwise been absolutely insurmountable. I am so amazed by God, so grateful for the gift of our goodbye. . . but how can I say that I’m grateful you went first, when in the self same breath I would give ANYTHING to have you back?

If only for a moment.

To see your smile. Touch your rough hands. Laugh at your perfect comedic timing and stand amazed at the perfection of your wit.

You were perfect for me and I was perfect for you. We were so blessed to have had each other. So.Very.Blessed.

Just the two of us.

But, His knowledge is perfect, isn’t it!? He leaves me in awe, for I never could have survived had it not been for what came first. Had it not been for YOU.

In losing you, I learned the way of grief. Learned that the horror would pass. Learned that I was never alone. Learned to know Him not only as my Savior, but as my friend. My perfect friend.

I learned to take each day, each moment as it came, to ride the wave of grief. To simply allow it to wash over me. I learned to have faith that it would pass and that I would be whole again. I learned not to be afraid. . . I learned to FIGHT. I learned to fight for clarity, to fight, rather than to sink into circumstance. Not to be consumed by grief, but to OWN it. To feel it. To let it fuel my faith and infuse my courage.

And realizing that fight that lies deep within me has been one of the most significant blessings of my life.

YOU continue to be, one of the most significant blessings of my life.

You live on in each of my boys. I see you in them every single day, and I tell them so. You are very much alive in my heart and in this family. You have to know that.

The two of us. . .  oh for that day when we will be together again.

I love you. SO MUCH. Every breath and more.

May my life shine as yours did. That would be the greatest accomplishment to which I could ever aspire.

This one’s for you.