"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Kids Are Alright

Today would be your 44th birthday Jules. Another year without you. I wonder, what would 44-year old you look like? My mind struggles to picture you a decade older than the last time I saw you.
Aunt Julie with her nieces and nephews
Your birthday always makes me reflect on the passage of time and the changes in our family since you left us. I keep thinking about the kids, your nieces and nephews. The loves of your life you said in your last message to us. The one I never read, but others told me what you wrote. The kids are alright Jules. You would love the people they've become. 

Aunt Julie, Gillian, Regan, Mason
They miss you. We all do. 
I think of you whenever one of them has a birthday or a big life milestone. I remember what a special aunt you were to each of them. You loved them so deeply. You were so much more than an aunt. You were a confidante and friend to them, loving each of them as the unique individuals they are. 

I've tried to fill the hole you left in their lives by being a better aunt to each of them. It's a big hole and I'm not you. I'll never be able to take your place. I'm trying to give them enough love for both of us.
Aunt Keicha and Leon
We have a new nephew that you've never met, little Leon. He's the sweetest little person. You would have adored him. It makes me sad that he'll never know his Aunt Julie except through pictures and stories. He's close to the age his big brother was when we spent a week together with him in Boston. I loved that trip and that time with you! 
Julie, Atticus, Keicha at Cheers in Boston

Julie, when you left I worried so much about the kids. How would your death affect the trajectory of their lives? They were all so young and impressionable, just a few years away from their turbulent, often confusing teenage years. 
Nieces and nephews in Colorado the week of Aunt Julie's funeral - 2010
They're grown up now. They're resilient, smart, talented and making their way in the world. They're survivors. We all are. 

You're in all of our hearts Julie, forever. Today you'll be on all of our minds as we celebrate and remember your life. 

Happy birthday sis. I miss you.
Gillian and Aunt Julie
Julie and Gillian at the zoo.
Aunt Julie with nieces at Grandma French's 90th birthday

Bridger, Atticus, Mason, Hannah, Gillian - 2016
Parker, Regan, Gillian and Bridger
Hannah and Mason with Aunt Keicha

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