First and foremost, I want to make sure that you understand that you are not alone. At the time being, that may not be a comforting feeling. You’ve lost someone incredibly important to you and it feels like the world is crashing down around you. I get it.

I may not be in your exact situation or know exactly what you’re feeling right now, but I’ve been there. Almost 11 years ago, I lost my grandmother. Though I was only nine years old, she was my best friend. She spoiled us endlessly. I remember countless nights when the grownups would go out and we would cuddle in bed watching movies and eating way too much junk food. This year will be the year that I have been without her longer than she was with me.

While thinking about this saddens me and hurts my heart, it’s also one of the most comforting feelings in the world. Sounds weird, I know. What’s important is not that she hasn’t been with me for the past 11 years, it’s that she’s been looking over me in a whole new way for the past 11 years. A lot has changed over that course of time. With each milestone I think about how much of an influence she has probably had over my life. There have been multiple times that I stop and think of what she would say or do in the situation. I think about whether what I’m doing would make her proud.

Memories have started to fade, but I am consistently reminded by my father and his siblings how much of a loving and gracious person she was. This idea inspires me every day to be a better person. It inspires me to live in a way so that when she’s watching me from heaven, she’s thinking “wow, I am so proud of the young woman she’s become.” Her memory makes me a stronger, more courageous and more resilient person. Until the bitter end, she fought for herself, her husband, her children, and her numerous grandchildren. She was selfless, brave, and consistently put family, friends, and strangers above herself. As I live out my life day to day, I live with the hope that I can be half of the person she was. Because of this, I am a better person.

There is no person in the world that could ever replace your loved one. She was your best friend and your greatest confidant. Her life in itself was a great blessing to you and a gift that you will get to cherish for the rest of your life. You and I both know it won’t be easy. There will be days that you will miss her like crazy, and there will be days that you just wish you could listen to her talk, or cuddle with her and watch movies after a bad day. It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to embrace those feelings of sadness. Simply remember that now is your chance to show the same love that she gave you to someone else. One day, you will be able to give that same feeling of love and comfort to another person. Those feelings of contentment and happiness will come flooding back and you will know that she played a part in guiding you to that person.

Losing someone is a devastating experience, but remembering that she is never really gone can lead to a lifetime of inspiration and motivation. You have someone in heaven constantly looking over your life. With that idea, you will always be safe. You will always be in the arms of your guardian angel. She will always make sure you are taken care of. Keep that in mind when you’re afraid to take a leap of faith next time. Remember that she soars on wings like eagles and will catch you when you fall. Those you love never really leave you. Holding this thought close to your heart will mold you into a better, stronger person than you ever thought you could be. Your mom, your grandma, your sister, your aunt – each and every one of them would be so incredibly proud of the young woman you have become today. Make her proud, live in her legacy, and show the world what she always knew you were made of.

Emily W
FFL Cabinet
Emily is an aspiring Elle Woods with a hint of Nancy Reagan. Searching for cute dogs on instagram is only a side hobby to politics. When she's not teaching people about conservatism in Starbucks, you can catch her meeting princesses at Disney or binge watching Gilmore Girls and The West Wing for the millionth time.

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