Oh, Papa. What has happened since you’ve died! Sigh. It’s hard to say. You died. Okay. Well, a lot has happened. I turned 8, I turned 9, and my tenth birthday is almost coming up. We moved into a new house. We got a new puppy. I’m not scared of Uncle Chris anymore! Actually, I probably couldn’t have done it with you AND him gone! I mean, it’s so, so hard without just you! I think about you every single day. I miss your touch. I miss those nights when I was cold and you hugged me until I was warm and fell asleep.
Uncle Mike gave us a pillow that had a picture of you and Mama stitched into it. Your nursing classmates gave us two blankets with your memories, and Uncle Mike gave us one too. And, you made “Sawyer” for me out of your army clothes. And, I got these little picture frames for my birthday and I put some of your pictures in them. Mama took a long trip to Mexico, that’s a big thing. When I missed you and her, I just put the pillow against the wall, I put the blanket over me even if I was hot, I cuddled with Sawyer, and I looked at those pictures. Sometimes I just cry.
We have made new friends. Do you know the Bradleys? You probably do, but just in case, they’re Aunt Sarah’s brother’s family and we’re really good friends with them because they have kids our age.
I have grown a lot. My hair has grown longer but Mama keeps trimming it to make it look prettier and keep it healthy. I have my own bedroom now, and just sometimes, I have slept in it. I usually sleep with Mama.
And Grandpa died. He missed you SO much! You were his role model, he said. Which is funny because you always said that he was YOUR role model. The night that he died, all his children were taking shifts on watching him, and it was Mama’s turn, and sometimes he would just stop breathing for a little bit but then he would catch his breath back. And then it happened again, but he never caught his breath back. He was so bad that he had a hospital bed in the Florida room. He could barely stand up or walk. The day before he died, I fed him his morphine. While all the grandchildren were playing outside, I was inside sitting with him, rubbing his arm. He was pretty much skin and bones! I miss him so much! And I miss you so much.
Why do you people have to die?!!!! Carston, Amy’s son, died too. He was only 4. He drowned. The person who killed you was Shane McGee. And he wasn’t even in jail for a year! Only 9 months! Grandma knows someone in jail who killed someone and is in for like 30 years!
I wish I could go paddling with you once more. And just say goodbye. The night before you died, I said I didn’t love you. That was a total lie; I was just really mad at you. I love you so much! You might think that I don’t love you as much as you love me, but I promise you I love you almost more!! You’re my daddy. I wouldn’t even be here if you weren’t even born. So, it’s weird that you’re not here and I still am. It hurts us more than it hurts you, having you gone. I know you want to be with us, but it hurts us so much more because we’re still alive and we feel it.
I don’t know if you’re in heaven or if you’re just dead or if you can’t even read this note, but…..
I love you.