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  • rosemary22 submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter to a loved one that you lost and share how you are honoring their legacy/lifeWrite a letter to a loved one that you lost and share how you are honoring their legacy/life 2 years ago

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    Mother of Mine

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  • In Honor and Memory of My Heavenly Friend

    Dear Heavenly Friend,

    I want to tell you how you inspired me in life. I know we did not know nor meet each other here on Earth. The first time I heard about you was on the news after your sudden passing. I learned that you were a young and rising Police Officer who was determined to protect and serve the community along to make society and the world better. I was saddened and heartbroken to find out what happened to you. I was about to start my Urban Planning Capstone course for a master’s degree when the news broke. I learned about how you lived your life and desired to be in Law Enforcement since an early age and your father was a Law Enforcement Officer. I want to tell you how you inspired me to be a better individual and in certain situations.

    At the time of your passing, I was about to collaborate with 19 other individuals who on average were around your age in the Capstone course. I was not certain how the project was going to be, but eventually we all got warmed to one another and sought to make the project successful. Your spiritual sense was embedded within me for the course as I learned how you would handle a situation or deal with individuals. Whether it was your beyond expectation work in the office
    as a volunteer or reaching out to the public on the streets in the moment of difficulty, it motivated me to excel when I met with others and businesses in the project area. That experience helped me excel with the course, two great presentations for the public and lead to clinching my master’s degree in Urban Planning a few months later.

    Beyond academics, I learned how you lived your life around others, particularly your family, friends, colleagues and the communities you resided in and served for. Your kindness in all groups won my attention. From being a role model in school to guiding your younger sisters to be good individuals to donating for those in need with a situation beyond control showed there is goodness in every generation. When I attended a memorial service for a Vietnam Veteran who served as a Chaplain, the family requested in his honor and memory to a charity of choice. When I was in the church for that service and thinking of how to donate, I thought of you and how you served others like the gentleman in the Vietnam War. I have donated a sunflower in your memory at a memorial field in which the donations go towards a charity which battles childhood
    cancer. I will do this every year for as long as I am around. Also, I have donated to a scholarship fund which honors your memory and supports young individuals who desire to be involved with Law Enforcement and First Responders. Your good lives on within others.

    Months after the incident, I reached to your mentor in the Police Department you served in. I reached out and gave her encouragement and special thanks for leading you in the right direction. I also saw that an individual who was inspired by your life. He is a documentary filmmaker from a state different from our respective ones who salutes Military Veterans and First Responders. When I heard, he was going to do one about you, I was supportive from the first moment forward. I was invited by him to see the premiere if it was to happen. Even though, I live three time zones away from your native state. At times, when people were uncertain about Law Enforcement, I told them about you and how you were determined to make the profession better. It opened their eyes and minds.

    Last Summer, the documentary was going to be finally released and shown. With a personal determination, I made the 2,400-mile journey across America to see it. When I made it to the premiere and walked through the door of the venue, little did I know that it was about to be part of a memorable experience. I met your family, friends, colleagues, and many others. The welcoming embrace of everyone that evening had a special feeling; I will never forget. I had gone from arriving as a guest to being a part of a family and group who are so caring and spiritual that I am proud to know and met. I will always remember your honor and memory My Heavenly Friend and do good for everyone possible in part of your inspiration that defined your life. Rest In Peace and God Bless.

    Sincerely,

     

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  • joanie-kelly submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter to a loved one that you lost and share how you are honoring their legacy/lifeWrite a letter to a loved one that you lost and share how you are honoring their legacy/life 2 years ago

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    Aunt M and Little Grandpa

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  • Dear Mom, It is Me Junior

    Dear Mom,
    It’s me, your oldest son…Junior.
    I should speak to you more through prayer, but, I haven’t, which is my fault.
    It’s hard to fathom, but, it’s been 20 years since we last saw each other on Earth. The world has changed a lot (good and bad) since you passed away in 2001.

    For a long time, I struggled to talk about you to people I knew when they would ask about you -  because the deep sadness & emotions I felt would rise up within me.


    I would do my best to remain as stoic as I could, but inside, that confused 12-year boy was crying to be released and to express the overwhelming feelings he had when he lost you.

    It felt like I was going to see you cook those wonderful meals, watch you shop for things that you wanted forever, or see you watch those soap operas you loved. And then one day I see you in the hospital thinking I was gonna see you recover to be your normal self, only to learn that it would be the last time I would see you.

    I’ve thought about that moment throughout the years, and each time, it makes my grief stronger. I wish I could see you somehow or hear your voice. It’s gotten so bad that I can’t remember what your voice sounded like. That makes me really sad.
    I grieve for you and how you were robbed of getting to live a long life as Betty White did. I also grieve for the many lost experiences that we never had together & the positive ones that you would have made with so many people you had yet to meet.

    Your untimely passing was the ultimate lesson in how unfair life can be. It was also the first major step in shattering how the world was in my optimistic head. But, I take some comfort in knowing you have great company up there with you.

    For years, I was in denial about an obvious truth, which is, I missed you, and wish you were still here in 2021. You must be smiling from heaven at your four children. Your two grandchildren must also have you smiling with their bubbly & kind spirits.

    Dad talks about you more now than he has in years. Each time he mentions you, it’s in a positive way.

    You’re missed mom, by a lot of people. Even though your life was short, you left quite an impact on me through your loving demeanor.
    I just hope I’ve made you proud so far, even though I still have a long journey ahead in life (God willing). It’s been a tough road trying to figure things out, but, in recent years, the road has gotten smoother than ever before.

    Every day I honor you, by being the best person I can be, doing good to others, uplifting others who need it & emphasizing with people who had similar experiences in losing a loved one dear to them.
    I hope to see you in the spirit someday, until then, I’ll honor you as long as I’m around in the flesh.

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  • To My Dearest Aunt

    My dearest aunt,

     I had just turned the legal drinking age when I found out I was pregnant. Being a young single mother was never an easy task. If anyone knew that it, was you. You were a teen mom once upon of time. Being one to a child on the spectrum was a different kind of difficult. My first born was diagnosed at the age of three. Your youngest was diagnosed with the same just three years earlier. Autism.

    You saw it in my son.  My baby. You didn’t know how to tell me at first, eventually you found your way.  You held me up and kept me afloat when I was drowning in all the specialists and evaluations. When I cried, you cried with me and when I turned to you pleading for advice on how to reach my boy you suggested I “just love him.” Of course, I loved him, but I loved him with anger and fear, for both the present and future. That’s not what you meant.  You wanted me to love him with strength and compassion. That was your secret. That’s your legacy.

    Ten years later, after your passing, my second born was diagnosed with Autism. You weren’t here to bring it to my attention but by then I knew what to look for. It was the strength to get through it this time around without your affection.You were tough, rough, and still so compassionate. Was it because of all the trauma and abuse you endured throughout the years? Was it your calling? Did you know it was legacy to be so?

    When I think of strength, I think of you. Is that weird? Not to the people that knew you. Your smile was contagious, and your laugh was infectious. I often wondered how you could radiate so much happiness after all that you had been through.

    I have a question, was your compassion something you had to work on, or was it natural? You made it look natural. It was natural, wasn’t it? A blessing disguised inside your heartache and turmoil. I myself have gone though my own unspeakable abuse and heartache. But you know that already. I feel your presence when I need it. Even after death you still manage to bless me with your compassion and grant me the strength I desperately need.

    After calling on God, I call for you, in my thoughts, prayers and despair. After thanking God, I often thank you as well, for carrying me through things I alone cannot push through. Life is harder without you. I carried an emptiness inside of me for a long time.

    The strength and compassion you bestowed on me was something you passed down to your children, along with the rest of our family. It took us a long time to figure out that in order to get through the shock of your passing we needed to fill your void with each other.

    My dearest aunt, thank you for watching over us. These invisible wounds we’ve accumulated over the years due to your passing are slowly beginning to heal. We have now gone from anger to compassion. For those who went through what you did, and for those who watch others endure the same as well. We miss you with our entire being. Rest knowing you have blessed us with courage in life and hope in death. The hope that we will see you once again.

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  • WINNER: To my older brother, my best friend;

    To my older brother, my best friend;

    I never thought our time together on this Earth would have an expiration date. Losing you has felt more painful than anything I’ve ever had to go through. And you know how much trauma I faced in childhood. You faced it too and that is what made us so close in the first place.

    I find myself rewatching our old home videos, where we were playing with Dad or Easter Egg hunting with our Grammy. It is bittersweet to look back upon these memories and think of how different things could have been. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, could we have done something different? Could we all somehow have found a way to escape the pain? But I guess that is how life goes, you have to face the pain to find the joy and beauty on the other side.

    I remember when you first told me about your struggles with addiction. How you tried to convince me that there was nothing to worry about, that it was truly only every once in a while and that it felt like a much needed escape from reality. I ran to our parents to alert them, but no one seemed to think there was anything to be done. Maybe they hoped it was a phase that you would pass through. I certainly did. But something in my gut always told me this was a very dangerous road you were walking.

    Growing up with a mother who struggled with addiction left me with a distaste for substances and alcohol. I tried to wear my sobriety like a badge of honor and I hope that never made you feel like you were less than. I hope it never made you feel ashamed. Because I understand the pain that lived inside your mind and body. I understand why you wanted to experiment with ways to make it subside.

    As much as it hurts and as hard as it is to share this publicly, I want to honor you. I want people to know that addiction and experimentation isn’t just some party behavior from reckless and irresponsible kids. Oftentimes it happens when someone is trying to escape the pain that they carry everyday. And even more often, it happens accidentally. It really is true what they say, just one bad day can change the course of your life forever. That was what kept me away, and that was how it got you to stay.

    It was hard to watch your life slip away. To see your bright, funny, sarcastic personality slip into a dark and shadowy place. I hated watching it and I held myself back from our relationship because of it. I wish I could have done more to help you. I wish I could have done more to save you from your methods of trying to save yourself. You weren’t destined for a life riddled with pain and addiction. You could have gotten away from it, if you believed in yourself.

    But when I think of your life, your death, and your absence now, I see things a little differently. You struggled to see the light, to feel the sunshine, to let it sink in. You struggled to feel freedom and bliss. You wanted nothing more than the feeling that you could handle this life. Realizing these things has given me the most amazing gift.

    When I look outside now, I stop and let it all sink in. I stare at the clouds and marvel at their beauty. I touch trees. I hold my cats a little longer. I call Dad more often. I love more deeply and more freely than ever before. I meditate and connect to something profoundly bigger than myself. These are all the gifts you gave me.

    You weren’t able to see the beauty before the pain took over. Losing you taught me to dig deeper before finding the first possible escape route. It taught me to cherish all of the things that you will never again experience. I have to live life for the both of us now and I will do it proudly.

    Not everyday is easy. Some days I am still struck with grief and longing and despair, begging you to come back here and try again. But I believe it all happened for a reason. So I will keep digging my heels in and trying again. When life gets too hard I will remind myself to take a breath, get grounded, center my focus on what is within. Because you believed yourself too weak to heal from the trauma, and you always told me I was strong enough to do it. And here I am, doing it. Healing from it. Growing from it. Learning. And empathizing with why you felt it was easier to give in to an escape that seemed temporary.

    Never again will I take another day on this planet, another breath of this air, for granted. Thank you big brother. Thank you for teaching me the most painfully beautiful lesson of all. I hope you feel nothing but blue skies, freedom, and sunshine on the other side.

    Love,

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  • bethbauerposiroi-com submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter to a loved one that you lost and share how you are honoring their legacy/lifeWrite a letter to a loved one that you lost and share how you are honoring their legacy/life 2 years ago

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    Correcting the mid-night lie

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  • The price you pay to walk in someone’s footsteps

    To the two who have left us to dance among the stars,

    I’ve linked a piece of you around my neck in place of half my heart, but half my heart became the whole leaving me with a hollow chest and 2 pendants. I’ve lost the two most important people in my life in the matter of months leaving me in pieces and no one ever tells you that even when you come to speak of people you care so much about in past tense, you forever talk about grief in its present moments. No one ever prepares you for the moment when all the numbing shock fades away and you are left with the emotional damage that shakes you to core.

    I understand it was time you both found a home in a different galaxy, but the heartache remains the same. I never knew what missing someone truly meant until I had no one to go to when I needed answers. I did not know what true grievance felt like until I could no longer share my accomplishments because it doesn’t feel the same when those people are not your foundation.

    However even though the grievance never fades, I find myself stepping into the rhythmic steps of the ones who walked before me. I see both of you in the songs that I sing, and I carry you both in the way that I speak, for I am your new beginning in a different vessel. A matriarch has fallen only to leave her spirit in the children she’s left behind. As I walk in your shoes, even though they don’t quite fit the same; A little wide, bold and no shame, but I step into them still and continue the teachings you’ve taught me. I tell your stories to those who will listen and when I go out I dress to perfection to honor you. I adopt your boldness and come with confidence because even though a Queen has been laid to rest, we are the next in line to represent the throne. For those who come after us will someday, too, have to continue our legacy.

    A Patriarch has fallen only to leave his wisdom in the heirs he’s left behind. I walk in these shoes as well, but they don’t quite fit the same. Too large and a little heavy but I step into them still as I continue the love you always showed me. I adopt your love language of giving and make sure those who surround me know that in my quiet, that means they are safe and I am comfortable the way you always did for me. I adopt your work ethic, for I do not know what it means to work half-assed. I give it my all or I give nothing at all for that is what you showed me. I continue to learn and research and analyze just like you taught me because even though a King has been laid to sleep, his descendants are next in line to continue his work. For those who come after us will have to continue the research.

    I keep you guys close by speaking your truth and I keep you both safe by saying your names. Thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do even beyond your physical selves. For that is the true legacy of a loved one.

    Love Deeply,

    Your Youngest Daughter

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  • From your Beautiful Granddaughter

    Dearest Grandpa,
    The first words written in this letter have been sitting up deserted at the top of the page for a few days now. Each time I go to open my empty page with an intent to speak to you, I find myself pausing, staring at the vacant sheet, only to end up leaving it behind.

    I wonder each time, if maybe I hadn’t started this letter because it just brings too much pain. However, I know that in my heart, you would be very disappointed if you knew that I didn’t continue to fight those demons by not remaining the strong “Beautiful Granddaughter” of yours. I really miss hearing you say that every time we saw one another and hugged each other so tight.

    As I sit here, finally gaining the strength to speak to you, I’m reminiscing on the amazing memories we’ve had when I was growing up. We often went to your lake house for the day. Upon arrival, you and Helen welcomed us with loving arms.
    During high school, struggling with mental health, you always inspired me to keep going. Giving up every hobby, the one thing you continuously encouraged me to not quit was to embrace my creative side. You were in many of your own “Barbershop Choruses”. You passed on the song “A-You’re Adorable”, that my dad eventually incorporated into my nightly bed-time routines. You are a vast reason why my dad has been the most amazing father.

    You had such a beautiful singing voice, and was always the star of the performance because of your expressive looks and smile as you sang. This, in turn, had caused a sequence of spreading positivity and laughter throughout your lifetime.

    Being inspired by your resilience and strength in your 89 years of life, you have taught me to never give up. You also handed down those traits of strength and optimism onto my dad, who has helped me inherit them as well. That is one of the most important ways on how I will continue to honor your legacy.

    After learning of some of your earlier life events, I was incredibly touched by your strength to enlist in the Navy during the Korean war.  When I feel weak, I can always look back at the time you overcame open-heart bypass surgery in 2010. Your resiliency will continue to motivate me moving forward to stay strong. Your “Pillow Heart” after surgery was gifted to me recently, and will be cherished forever.

    You always understood and never judged. You continuously gave me advice, knowledge, and hope in my darkest moments. When I needed a Medical Alert & Response service dog, you trusted that it was beneficial for me. Though you never physically got the chance to meet my silly doofus, yet life-saving service dog Leo, you were supportive every step of the way.

    Until your regression, I’d call you at night when I was having intense breakdowns. You assured me everything was going to be ok. Our last conversation was you encouraging me to seek the help or treatment that I needed to heal. When I called you from the hospital phone, it wasn’t your usual, strong voice. Conversations were short, but when I told you I love you, you had the strength to voice “I love you too, sweetie”.

    Once I arrived with Leo to your hospital bed, it was an instant connection, laying there unresponsive. Leo went directly towards you like he knew who you were and were calling telepathically. Out of all my other family members, he chose to go to you.
    Writing this letter is what I needed to acknowledge that this is the reality; you’re gone, not able to answer my calls those late nights. You, however, handed down that trait on to my beautiful aunt. I call, she answers just as you did, willing to be a listening ear, giving great advice that she probably learned from you. You’ve blessed all your children with wonderful personalities. You’re the reason they’ve made huge impacts, everywhere. They are also honoring your legacy.

    You’ve taught many life lessons that I will carry on. I’m much like you, and I will continue to honor your legacy by infinitely showing kindness, along with sharing my big heart and expressive smile wherever I go.

    I’ll encourage others as you’ve encouraged me. I’ll spread your positivity, light, ability to spread hope, and treat everyone the same. I’ve inherited these qualities throughout my lifetime. They’ve impacted many lives already.

    I’ll also be a helping hand and listening ear whenever needed. I’ll never stop making that positive effect wherever life takes me, being an inspiration, like you’ve always been to me. And that is a promise.

    I love you. I thank you for helping me be the person I am today.

    -With love ALWAYS,

    Your “Beautiful Granddaughter”,

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