I can’t believe that it has been 11 long years. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime while other times it seems like yesterday.  

It’s been 11 years since I heard your voice.  

It’s been 11 years since I held your hand.  

It’s been 11 years since I last talked to you and told you about something going on in my life.

It’s been 11 years since I knew what you were thinking.

It’s been 11 years since you were sick. 

It’s been 11 years since I sat by your bedside.

It’s been 11 years since I took my senior pictures.

It’s been 11 years since I had to say my final goodbye.

This day for me isn’t easy but over the years, I have accepted it.  It’s not a day where I particularly miss you, because I always miss you, but it is just a day that reminds me this is the day I had to say goodbye.  This is the day you left us.  This is the day you finally got peace and no longer had to fight.  This is the day, I realized life was going to change forever. This is the day I realized that I would no longer have my mother physically.  This is the day that I would no longer have you by my side.  I won’t hear your voice, your guidance, your support, your harsh but much-needed words.  This day for me, just sucks. 

However, I am an optimist probably 90% of the time.  So I don’t want to harp on the negatives.  I don’t want to realize that it’s been 11 years since I was able to do all these things or that 11 years ago I had to say goodbye.  Instead, I am going to focus on the positive.

It’s been 11 years of having you as my guardian angel.

It’s been 11 years of having you here in spirit.

It’s been 11 years of bringing you to the most important events of my life.

It’s been 11 years of remembering the great memories.

It’s been 11 years of telling people our story.

It’s been 11 years of being thankful that I had 16 years with you in the first place.

It’s been 11 years of finding my place in the world, but knowing that you have been by my side every step of the way. 

It’s been 11 years of happiness mixed with sadness that you are no longer here but that I am still lucky enough to remember you and take with me what you taught me.

It’s been 11 years of teaching my children about who their grandmother would’ve been and why she was so great and why she would’ve loved them so much, and why she is always watching over them. 

It’s been 11 years of realizing what all of those life lessons you tried to teach me actually meant.

But most importantly, it’s been 11 years of me turning into the woman you raised me to be and I couldn’t be luckier or more thankful for that.

So today and every day, I thank you.  I thank you for what you taught me in the 16 years we had together and the next 11 years where I have learned so much from you, even when you haven’t been here physically.  Though this isn’t my favorite day, it reminds me that without the bad times, without losing you, I probably wouldn’t have turned out to be who I am today; and who I am today is truly someone I am proud to be.  So I hope your watching ER re-runs in heaven today and looking down on me realizing that your hard work to keep me in line, has paid off.  Even though you aren’t here physically, being able to carry you in my memories, my heart, and my mind has been something really special to me.

“Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day…unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed, and very dear.” 

I love you forever.