Hi, Kait. I thought of you as soon as I opened my eyes this morning. I thought of this day five years ago. And I remembered all the pain—all the pain you went through the last day you fought for your life…and all the pain that followed when we lost you. I know now that you’re not lost. I know you’re around because I see you in so many places, like in Hailey’s face, or when a butterfly floats by in the breeze, or even when the sun shines down strongly between the clouds. I know you send little messages, and it makes me feel better. It makes us all feel better. It’s been five years, but the void never goes away. It just helps us get through until we can finally be with you again, finally hear your laugh, finally see your smile.
You know, that’s the only thing I remember about 4th of July? I used to love 4th of July as a little kid. I used to love watching the fireworks. And I’m sure you know that I haven’t watched the fireworks since the 4th of July five years ago…in your hospital room. I remember sitting at the window, trying to focus on the fire lighting up the sky, trying to pretend like everything was okay, trying to make light of the situation. You were in a lot of pain, and for the first time probably in your whole life, you didn’t care about watching the fireworks.
I know you probably don’t like that I associate the 4th with that pain. I know you don’t want me to have pain when I think about you. But it’s hard. It’s hard to get passed that, because that’s all I remember about that night, even though I shouldn’t.
This morning, my Mom and I were talking, but I’m sure you know that already. We were talking about you…about how much we miss you. About how strong of a person you were, not only through your fight. We aren’t talking about that. You were a strong person in general—a strong personality, a strong soul. You had the power to light up a room when you walked in, you had the ability to touch other peoples’ souls.
We were sitting at the kitchen table when my mom asked me if I watched the fireworks last night. I told her I did. I saw a few from the deck at work. But I cringe when I see them. It’s almost like the fire burning in the sky somehow finds its way into my body and burns my heart. I told my mom that this morning, and she looked at me sadly. She told me I shouldn’t feel that way, and I know I shouldn’t. But I do.
She made a good point, though. She told me to get that thought…that bad memory…out of my head. She told me I should be happy when I see fireworks, especially 4th of July fireworks, because they’re extra special. They’re in celebration of you. Of how much of a special person you were…you are. She watched them last night for the first time in five years, too.
She said the fire burning in the sky reminded her of you. How it lights up the sky in parades of colors and bursts and pops and bangs. Just like you did through your words, your smile, your heart. She told me that’s what I need to think of when I see them. You. How you light up the sky like you light up our lives.
I miss you all the same, not just because it’s the anniversary of your death, and I know you know that. I just had to get what I was feeling down on paper. It helps. And I know you know that too. I love you, and I can’t wait to be with you again so we can watch the fireworks together.