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Are you feeling loss and grief during the holiday season?

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend about my brother and how as time passes, the emotions are vastly different from one year to the next, how time does not heal in all situations, and how life revealed isn’t always as perfect as I used to think it once was.
December 15th marks the 5th year anniversary of my little brother’s death. My friend thought that sharing with my followers may not only help someone else who is feeling grief and loss during the holidays, but could help me as well. I am not an expert on the topic and wasn’t sure how to share other than “writing a letter.” It’s better out than in as Shrek would say, so at the risk of sounding like a complete insane person. Here is a letter to Jamie. Written right now, in the raw.

Hey Bubba,

It has been 5 years. Wow, so much has happened and it doesn’t seem fair that you didn’t get to be here for it. Some of it, you are probably glad you missed. Ben and I did get married. It was a super fun wedding! You would have been right at the front with Holli and I cutting a rug! We did end up getting a divorce (one of the things I am sure you would have wanted to bounce on).

Ben and I had another baby boy, before we divorced of course. I named him after you. We call him James though. I wasn’t sure that mom could stomach calling another little boy your name so I decided on James but the birth certificate says Jamie. I like it because I can still call him your nickname, Jamers! I haven’t sang the hiney song to him yet but I secretly hope he cries like you used to. Is that bad parenting? I look for little glimmers of you in him all the time.

I sold the house over on Higbee. That was super hard! You know I left the hole in my ceiling from when you fixed my toilet? I did so many renovations to that house but always left the hole. Every time I would pass by it and look up, I would think of you. Want to hear something pretty strange? Every time that old house would settle a little more, a tiny piece of plaster would fall from that hole and I imagined it was you dropping little rocks from above. Completely senseless I know, but it helped me somehow. I hated closing up that hole so I could prepare the house to sell it.
When I did the final walk through for the sale, I thought about your handprint still in the dirt down in the basement from when you were fixing a pipe under the house. If only I could scoop up that dirt with your handprint undisturbed, I would.
Guess what? I ended up buying a new house right by the Pink Palace. Remember, that was the last day we spent together. Now when I walk outside I can see it and remember our last time as a family. I guess it made moving from Higbee a little easier.

Oh, I have tattoos now. I am blaming it all on you! I made it 27 years of my life without them and when you left I was grasping at ways to keep your memory alive. I got one for you…and then got 4 more. Sorry, those weren’t for you. Needless to say, I know what you meant by “once you get one.”

You know I prayed after you left that I would never lose the sound of your voice in my head? God has allowed me to keep at least that. I can hear the exact tone of your voice saying “sissy” when you were a toddler and then when you were a grown man. A lot of times I will still myself and listen just so I can hear your voice calling for me. I know it is probably in my head but it does make me feel like I get to have a little moment with you again.
It’s crazy how I can be going about my day  and sometimes it hits me. You are gone. Like I didn’t know or something. I can be at the grocery store and it happens out of nowhere. I freeze for a moment, look around, and everyone is still moving about not noticing that the world has just stopped. I watch them and wonder how they can be so happy and laugh. How they can wonder if they are getting the right size can of peas for their soup, or talk on the phone while pushing their cart, or converse with a friend they bumped into at the store. Then I come to my senses. How could they possibly know? This is our reality now and we have to learn to live with it.

You would be happy to know that for the most part, I have dealt. I can still find joy, just not to the extremes that I used to know. I can still dream. I still have hope. I think that is 100% because of two things. I have my boys and I am responsible for making their life the best it can be and because we are Christians and I know without a doubt I will see you again. It has definitely made my outlook on my own death much more positive and less scary. I think to myself, if my little brother went through it so can I and the best part, I will see him on the other side. Don’t worry, I know that sounds a little creepy. I am not contemplating anything. Hoping to get to make it to see my grandchildren for sure! Just a new outlook on the inevitable.

In two days we will all relive the moment when you left us. It is crazy the feeling. I will lay down tomorrow like I did the night you were still here and I will wake up Sunday and you will be gone. One more year further away from you. It’s like this night reoccurs in some alternate universe every year. Like somehow, somewhere it is happening again and we are all reliving it. I always pray that in my sleep, my soul can leave and go be with you, where ever you are so when it does happen again, you won’t have to be alone this time. I know all of this is completely absurd. We are Christians and you and I both know where you actually are, but it is crazy what a broken heart will do to the head.

For some reason, this anniversary has been as hard as the moment we learned that you were gone. So many feelings that come along with it. Guilt. It has been 5 years and I have actually been able to have moments of happiness, smile, laugh. It feels selfish. Confusion. Why? It sounds so horrible as I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, but why you?  Numbness. I am guessing because sometimes it is the only way to get through it.

You are probably laughing right now, you know how sensitive your sister always is! Anytime I got all mushy you would laugh. Is it weird that I can hear you telling me I am weird?

Anyway, I am taking this huge test tomorrow. Yes I chose tomorrow because in the past 2 years I have been pretty stable on your anniversary and I thought this year maybe I could make a positive out of the day. In that case, let’s hope I pass. The stability factor is looking to be an issue at the moment. Maybe you can give me a a little happy boost from heaven?

I was in my iCloud yesterday because I got a new phone and wanted to save some pictures. I came across these and thought you may like to take a look. Apparently I was voice texting because “your” should have been “you’re” but did you even notice? haha

I love you more today than yesterday and will always miss you with all my heart.

Love, Sissy

ANOTHER READ: A post from 2 weeks and 5 days after Jamie passed. 

Merry Christmas Bubba.
I’m sure you all are having a hell of a celebration this time of year in heaven -xoxo

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela Merideth
    December 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    The letter to Jamie is everything. Thank you for your vulnerability. I relived so much of my own story with my little brother’s death reading it. What a beautiful soul you are. I love you girl. The other “Sissy”

    • Reply
      Alexandra Nicole
      December 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm

      Awwww I remember us talking about that before my brother died. I know you the pain. I love you so much and would love to get lunch soon! -xoxo

  • Reply
    LIsa
    December 13, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    This story will speak to so many and it made me remember my father and the times we spent together. I am grateful for the moments we shared but the pain never goes away. Even now while I type this message, I feel the pang in my heart just aching to say “I Love you” just one more time… But then, I smile for the moments we had and every time a see a red robin or something comes on the radio, I think of him or just a hint of a breeze and I smell his cologne and at that very moment… I know he is with me! Thanks for being so brave and sharing this moment with all of us!

    • Reply
      Alexandra Nicole
      December 13, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      I know exactly how you feel. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me. I am so lucky that we get to work together 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim Henrichs
    December 13, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Much love to you at this time. My mom died in 2008 and holidays are still hard. I still can barely deal. Writing a letter like that is so special. *hugs*

    • Reply
      Alexandra Nicole
      December 13, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you Kim. It never gets easier it just transform into a different kind of grief. I guess somewhat manageable but then again some years it seems harder than the year before.

  • Reply
    Lakita Morrow
    December 23, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Hi! My name is Lakita. Your story is so inspiring. I lost my mom when I was 8 yrs old, I cried mostly every day until I was 35. My dad transitioned in 2017 and my grandmother my dad’s mom 1 week ago. I know the feeling of thinking of the and then, the thought come they’re gone. For a minute your world does completely stop. Thank you for your story. It encourages me to think positively and think of ways to keep the memories alive. Again, Thank you!

    • Reply
      Alexandra Nicole
      December 26, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I know all too well how this feels. The hurt never stops 🙁 I always come up with new ways to keep his memory alive and celebrate him. I am sure I will for the rest of my life. I am praying for you and your heart this holiday season and Thank you again for sharing your story!

    • Reply
      Alexandra Nicole
      January 14, 2020 at 12:59 am

      Lakita
      Thank you so much for sharing this. It is a a feeling I know all too well. The world stopping is still a thing that happens from time to time when I stop to reflect and I am not sure it will every stop. – xo

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