It was around this time last year that I started writing you a letter every week. I haven't done that since April and felt now was a good time. So much has happened in a year. Last year, at this time, you were starting to spiral downhill. It was a scary time for all of us close to you, but I had hope. I wanted you to get better. I prayed that you would get better. I was certain you would get better. But you didn't. You uttered your last words to me, "I love you", and went to make your home in heaven. While your death was a possibility, I never expected it to be a reality - at least not until you were an old man and I had to teach you how to use a cane.
One week from Christmas, grief is more pronounced once again. For the last week or so, "grief brain" has come to visit. "Grief brain" feels like I have no brain. I'm distracted, have to ask the same question many times to comprehend what is being asked of me, and I am tired. Really tired. Some of the exhaustion comes from how hard I've worked. Between devoting time everyday to overcome grief, studying for the LSATs and completing my law school applications, I've been in overdrive. My body is calling me to rest.
This is supposed to be a time for celebration. I've been determined to celebrate Christmas just as I would if you were alive. I've done a pretty good job. But amidst the joy and fun of the season is sadness. Not only sadness that this year I can't come up with every reason under the sun for why I should find an autographed photo of Art Monk under the tree from you, sadness that life is now very different without you on this earth, but also sadness for all the people of Newtown, CT. I hurt for them. I know the heartache associated with losing someone you love so deeply, so suddenly. I know intense grief. I also watch your mom, Dude. Nobody should have to lose a child -- ever. Our celebrations have been tainted with sadness.
You always wanted to be a father. Remember when you told me you wanted 6 kids and I looked at you like you had 6 heads?! Well, now, you have 20 new ones who just joined you and I'm sure you've already taken Noah Buller under your wing. Take good care of those kiddos, Dude, and don't teach them all of your bad habits. Teach them strength, love, loyalty, curiosity, patience, generosity and selflessness -- all the things that made you, YOU!
What's it like to celebrate Christmas in heaven? Hanging out with Jesus all the time, does it feel like it is Christmas everyday? I bet so. The Mayans say the world is going to end on Friday. People are freaking out about it. But, God says we won't know the day, so I don't think I'll get to see you that soon. I'll be down here doing my best to live life to the fullest while I patiently wait for the day I will get to see you again.
Take good care of those kids, but watch over all of us, too. You are terribly missed and dearly loved. Always. Forever. I try to encourage everyone to show their smile and zestfully live life the way you did. Not a day goes by that my thoughts don't turn to you. Give Jesus a big hug and ask that He stays close to us. We desperately need Him. Everyone.
Merry Christmas! Thank you for watching over and loving me.
I love you. JB