Love, Your Big Sister.

Hi Bubba, its me again

I have to start this with no matter how many times I know that you’ve heard me say that the moment I get to see you again, I’m going to kick your ass – I’m lying. The moment I see you again, if there’s even an afterlife where that’s a thing.. I’m going to hold you.

I’m going to hold you for all the times I didn’t when you were here and I will love you for all the times that you couldn’t love yourself. I won’t let go this time, I promise.

I hope you know how much you taught me – I know I’ve said that before.. Not to you, but when it was too late. You taught me so much about unconditional love. We were such different people and that’s what caused us to grow apart as adults. We didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but I know that no matter what, we loved each other. I read a quote today about siblings today that said, “The greatest gift our parents ever gave us was each other,” and that hit me right in the chest – It’s the truth. You were my first best friend; You gave me my first “purpose” in life. You helped make me who I am. No matter how painful this has been, you’re still teaching me. You’ve shown me how strong I am, you’ve shown me how many people love and support me (and our whole family). You’ve helped me get past things I should have let go of a long time ago.

I didn’t tell you enough how proud of you I was.. I know serving your country the best way you knew how was something you were so proud of yourself for and I should have told you that I was proud of you, too. You were so passionate about your career. Every time I see a C-17 pass overhead, I think of you. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try to take a photo of it half the time too.. And you were lucky in that sense. You were passionate about what you did and I’m so glad you got to experience that while you were here, because that’s not something that comes to everyone. I’m thankful you got to experience the love that you did – I’m thankful for your wife Savannah who has become someone I am SO thankful to be close to, and your babies who remind me so much of you in each of their own ways.

I sometimes think about all the things you’re going to miss and it breaks my heart. Your babies are getting so big – Abel has your sweet smile and the cutest giggles (he’s almost as tall as me at this point.. hell, they all are), Rae pretends to be shy but will WWE Smackdown anyone who will let her and Bentley is kicking ass in baseball – Just like you.

Today, my therapist said, “Things will get easier when I let them.” A few months ago that would have enraged me, as if I was wanting to feel this way.. But she’s right – This will get easier when I let it – Letting this pain ease starts with telling you that I forgive you. I do. I forgive you for feeling like this was the only way for you to be “okay” at that moment. I know your intentions were never to put any of us through this pain, and I forgive you – If anything, I wish we could have saved you.

Losing someone to suicide, no matter the relationship, is an unbearable pain that I wouldn’t wish on anyone – But if I’ve learned anything in the last 10 months, it’s that the grief is a roller coaster and there is zero guide on “how to get through.” I’ve been through the typical stages of grief – I think sometimes I’ve even repeated a few of them. Denial.. I still sometimes don’t believe that you’re gone. Anger? There’s been a whole mess of that. Bargaining – I would absolutely have taken your place if I could have, but that feeling and begging didn’t get me anywhere. Depression.. I’m still here. I’m starting to have more good days than bad, but when your memory hits, it hits hard and I’m so thankful to have a husband who time and time again picks up the pieces and puts me back together again – I wish you would have gotten to know each other better, and that leads me to my next biggest struggle. I’ve learned to forgive you, but I need to figure out how to forgive myself, too.

“We didn’t know we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” – Winnie The Pooh

I look for signs of you everywhere – and its sortof comical how our “thing” has become cardinals (who you absolutely hated when it came to baseball, but that’s got your sense of humor written all over it) showing up when I need to feel close to you. Your Reds are being.. well they’re being the Reds and I know right after you passed last September, you tried to pull a little “Angels in the Outfield” but alas, they are still the Reds after all. I miss your “How ’bout them Redlegs” Facebook posts more than I ever thought was possible.

I’ll never forget the dream I had about a week after you left us – It was the most vivid dream I’ve ever had in my life. For those not familiar with our family dinners are the Beatty household; Grandma and grandpa would set up a long table that stretched from the dining room to the living room – We always had our normal seats, grandpa and dad were at the head of either side of the table and we all filled in around. In all the years that we did this, we never sat by each other.. But there we were, at that same table and you were right next to me. You didn’t say a word, but you took me by the hand, looked at me and squeezed my hand – That’s how I know you’re at peace. Thank you for letting me know.

You’d love how much closer our family is now – I hate that it took losing you for this to happen, but regardless, we’re holding onto each other a lot tighter these days. I think that we’re all finally learning that continuing to go on with our lives is what you would have wanted – and doing so and working through our grief doesn’t mean that we’re forgetting about you.. It’s just letting us get through the tears and pain that I know you never meant to cause, to work on preserving your memories so we can hold onto every moment we DID get to spend with you. I hope you’re saving a place for us wherever it is that we go when we leave this world – and I can’t wait to see you again. I love you, I miss you, and I will always wish you were here.. Thank you for saving me, even though losing you broke me, first.

Love,

Your big sister