Lent Letter #19

Dear Jimmy,

You’ve been popping up in conversation a lot lately. It’s been 21 years, I believe, since you died. Hard to believe you’d be in your 40s today. I remember you so clearly. You had this big personality and a great laugh. However, it’s the fact that you were so good with kids that sticks with me.

There are a ton of cousins on my dad’s side of the family. When we were kids we used to spend Christmas with that side. Chaos and children everywhere. It was, actually, pretty glorious. Probably less so for the adults, but still. And at the time, my siblings and I were among the youngest cousins. That routinely made us pests. All of the “older cousins” who were teenagers at the time, never wanted to play with us kids.

You did. You always did.

It was you who invented the napping game (which, no kidding, I still use to this day). It was you who invented the football game in Grandma’s basement. You who organized kickball and dodgeball and all sorts of other craziness in the summer. Almost every memory I have of you is tied to your willingness to play with us as children. I remember visiting your house when we were young. When you lived on the lake?

It was you who would race us to the edge of the dock and jump in with us. You who would pick us up and throw us in the water. It was always you who made our family gatherings fun.

I was only 13 when you killed yourself. I didn’t understand it at the time. I’m not sure I understand it now. The only thing I know for sure is that I still miss you. I wonder what you’d be like as an adult. I remember you fondly and always with a smile. I wanted you to know that. You are remembered and those memories are happy ones. Because when you were still with us, you brought happiness. That was your gift.

Now, I’m that person. I play with the kids and make up silly games and laugh. And it’s because you taught me how. You showed me by example. I’m extremely grateful for that.

Thank you for being part of my life,

Olivia

(to see why I am doing this, read here)

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