In 2014, I was a Freshman in high school. I had a girlfriend. I was on a soccer team. I had come out the year before to an accepting family. Life was good. February 10, 2014. I was told that my grandmother had died in the night from stage four stomach cancer. I was 14. This is a letter to her, three years later.
I sit before you today, three years later, wearing the flannel you bought me on our last outting together. You may not recognize me. My head is shaved because of a bad haircut.
I still like girls. I still love English. I don’t smile showing my teeth very often still.
When we met for the very first time, I was introduced to you as your granddaughter but today you’ll meet me as one of your grandsons. My name’s now Derek. I’m 17. I’m a Senior.
I’ve earned a spot in an early college program. I’ve made President’s List on Honor Roll. I’m a mentor to incoming students. I will be graduating in a few months.
I’ll be going to a four year college in your home state at Montana State University. Since you’ve passed, I’ve gone through love and heartbreak. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety.
I’ve been assaulted. I’ve had three jobs. I’ve cried, laughed, yelled, and hugged. I gained a turtle as a pet. Needless to say, a lot has happened in the past 1,095 days.
In the last three years I’ve learned about love, heartbreak, respect, depression, anxiety, courage, devotion, passion, and independence.
I usually see you on Sunday nights at a church in outer space but you’re not always there. Since you’re already in Heaven I guess it’s cool if you miss some Sunday School.
You have carried with me everyday for the past three years.
Whether it be the kindness of you passing through me to others, the courage to stand up for what I believe in, or the love I give to others, you are in a piece of all that I do.
I think about you weekly. I miss you everyday. I have never met anyone who’s impacted me so much in such a positive way.
Your unending love and encouragement while you were alive has lead me to live a life I’m proud of. There’s so much more to tell you, but I’ll leave it here.
I hope Heaven is nicer than down here.
I love you,