Well, it’s December 15th, which means today I haven’t kissed your cheek or hugged your neck in three years! This is the one-day of the year I wish we could just skip over but I know you’re smiling down on us from heaven finally healed after years of battling cancer. There are so many things I want to tell you but if you get nothing else from this letter, please know we miss you desperately and though you’re gone you’re not forgotten.
Everyone knew Drew and I meant the world to you (along with Mom of course) and in case we never told you, you meant the world to us. Many of the goals and aspirations you had for your children have been achieved while we still strive for greatness on a daily basis! One of the biggest goals you had for Drew was obtaining a college education…I'm happy to report, HE DID IT!! Your amazing son graduated from college a year ago and is a sensational young man. He possesses so many of your traits; he’s kind, loving, supportive and gentle. I’m so thankful he’s my brother and have enjoyed watching him learn and grow into the man he is today. Yes, like all of us, he’s struggled over the past few years but I know 2013 is going to be his year to shine! Send him a shooting star every once-in-a-while to let him know you’re up there proud and cheering him on to victory!
As for me, gosh you’ve missed so much! Remember that wonderful man I introduced you to in the summer of 2009 (when it was 114 degrees in Austin and you willed yourself to climb all the steps up Mt. Bonnell with horrible neuropathy…your strength and desire amazed me)? Well, all of your prayers came true for me to find a true, honest man. I did it right this time, I married the man God made for me and have never been happier in my life. He’s a real man too…he’s loving, supportive, kind, generous, strong and puts family first. I never thought I’d end-up with someone so amazing and I thank God for him daily. I’m so sad you didn’t get the chance to spend more time with him or meet his family. They are the in-laws I always wanted in my life and love them like I love our own family. Being a “Paffe” has been one of God’s best blessings and I just hope I do the last name proud through the rest of my life.
Guess what else Jimmy? You’re going to be a first-time grandfather! Can you believe it? Man, if you only knew the journey we’ve been on to get this baby here and healthy…it’s been crazy! We’ve lived in New York since October trying to remain pregnant until 32 weeks and we're almost there! Yesterday was our final appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and my condition is stable enough that we have been released to go back to Texas! God is so good. It crushes me that you won’t be here to welcome this beautiful child into the world but rest-assured Mom is excited enough for both of you! And, it goes without saying, you will be ever-present in our child's life through pictures, stories and our memories. Though he/she may not know you in-person, they will know your spirit.
I’m sure you’re wondering about Mom…we’ve all been on a journey since you left us but I feel like we’re finding our way together again. There's no way we could have known what a tremendous void would be left in our lives once you died. That’s the same for Mom. Don’t worry though, she’s as beautiful as ever and found a really nice, caring man to keep her company and spend time with. I believe in my heart you'd really life him if you had the chance to meet him. Don’t get me wrong, she would be the first to tell you that this is not the life she had planned for herself but would also tell you that in death comes new life and we can’t dwell on the past. She may not say it often, but she misses you as much as we do.
I want you to know that though we have hard days, we're doing all right. We get strength from your memory in times of need and smile when thinking back on our years with you. We're appreciative of the example you gave of unconditional love and plan to pass those lessons on to our children.
I know we’ll meet again, and I can’t wait for that day, but until then I’ll look forward to celebrating your life each day of the one I’m still living.