Dear Tori

Dear Tori,

It’s impossible to think that it’s only been two years since you left. It feels like a lifetime.

I can’t begin to count the times something has happened (because so much has) and I reach for my phone to call or text you, only to realize that I can’t. (Will that ever stop?) It breaks my heart every time.

Today I wish more than anything that you were here, telling me how stressful med school is, or how the kids are fighting over something silly.

I wish we were reminiscing about the time we trekked up Green Briar Road as it crumbled beneath us during the Boone flood. Just seems fitting with a hurricane on the way.

I wish we were making plans for your upcoming residency in Charlotte. It was so fun to dream about you living with us during such an exciting time.

Instead, I’m still haunted by memories. Trying to stay strong for you, as I brushed out your hair after chemo. Trying to sleep on the couch, listening to you sleep. Trying to reassure you that everything would be okay, trying to convince myself too. Trying to breathe after getting the call, unable to find air.

When those memories come, I try instead to reflect on moments I cherish. Our nights in Boone eating penne a la vodka and watching Grey’s Anatomy. The night of Sarah’s baby shower. The week leading up to our wedding when you dropped everything to be with us. The times I got your snail mail in between semesters, just because. The weekend we celebrated your med school acceptance letter. The last night we spent with you, curled up on the floor watching “About Time” and eating potato soup in the middle of summer.

I love those memories, but I’m still angry we don’t get more. I won’t get to tell you when we get pregnant, or celebrate your engagement, wedding, and babies. I wish we got more. I thought there would be so much more.

I continue to believe that you are in an incredible, beautiful place, free of pain and happier than ever. And I’m so grateful for that. But I selfishly wish you were here. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I miss you, friend. Terribly.

In case I never said it: Thank you for always being exactly what I needed when I needed it, no questions asked. I hope I was at least a fraction of that for you.

We love you — always.

Jess

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