nine years later

Nine years ago today, life changed. I was coming home from school after meeting up with my mom who had been running our mother’s day plant sale. We hopped in the car and hurried home. We got there and dad was home too, which was off because he usually worked late. I began to run up the stair exclaiming, “I’m gonna go get ready for dance class!” When I was told to stop, come back, and sit on the couch. It was at that moment everything changed.

That was the day that I found out my uncle had passed away. It was unexpected. He had a simple foot surgery a few days prior and I had just talked to him on the phone the day of. He was supposed to be fine. Turns out, things can change in the blink of an eye.

My uncle was one of my favorite people. He was constantly showering my sister and me with so much love and joy. He really cared for us and would always remind us of how beautiful and loved we were. He was the person who could always cheer me up and make me smile. Even though he lived in Pennsylvania 11 hours away, he was someone I was super close with. The number of people who came to his funeral and spoke so highly of him was a true testament to the impact he had on this world. He was and still is, a major inspiration as to why I stay so positive and try to make people happy.

To this day, my uncle’s passing is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. Grief is a monster and one that in nine years still hasn’t gone away. I went through all the stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Except I still think I might be stuck in that last one. Yes, I know my uncle is gone, but there is sometimes a part of me that still thinks he is just at home in Pennsylvania making people smile and laughing with friends. It’s just how my mind copes!

I think about him every day, and when I think about how much I miss him I can’t help but cry. I struggle with grief a lot. I tend to internalize things too much and suppress the sad emotions deep down inside. I’m a glass half full type of person, so much so to my own fault sometimes. However, on May 6th I will let myself grieve. I will tell myself it’s okay to cry about because there is pain from missing home. I won’t let it consume me, though. That’s not what he would want! He brought so much joy to me and everyone he knew, and I know he’d still want me to feel that joy even on this day.

Nine years later, and I still miss him. I’m sad that he missed out on numerous dance recitals, high school graduation, proms, dances, my sister’s graduation, and so much more. But, I know he would proud. He’s smiling down on me from heaven while I’m making magic at Disney and guiding me with light. I hope I am making him proud and honoring him in the way I try to spend joy.

❤ / Bailey

In Memory of My Sunshine

May 6, 2010. That was the day that my life changed. That was the day that God decided it was time for my uncle Bobby to come home. I can remember it like it was yesterday. My mom picked me up like any normal school day and the whole ride home I was thinking about how I had to get ready for dance class later that night. It was a seemingly average. warm Spring day. However, I got home and noticed something was wrong because my dad was home. That was a rarity seeing as dad always worked until 7 or 8 at night and it was just the afternoon. I said hi to him then immediately began to barrel up the stairs saying “I’m gonna get ready far dance!!” But then I heard him say wait. He had my sister and I sit down on the couches and then he began to tear up and choked out the words, “your Uncle Bobby has passed away.”

When I think about those words I feel the same burning behind my eyes and in the pit of my throat that I felt that day. Of course at the time I was just 12 years old and did not know what to think. What do you mean? He can’t be dead. He had just had a simple foot surgery a few days ago and was doing fine. I had just talked to him on the phone a few nights ago.

This can’t be real.

That phrase was what I lived by throughout the days following. We had to pack our bags and make the drive up to Pennsylvania where he lived. We got there and spent the next few days planning the funeral and going through things in his house. We spent a lot of time in his house. The whole time I was there the feeling of “this isn’t real” lived within me. I was constantly expecting for him to come out of his bedroom or around the corner with that huge smile on his face that he always had around us. But, he never did.

I had already seen his big smile and had a great big hug from him for the last time and I didn’t even know it. I would love to go back in time and cherish those last few moments. I would make sure he knew how loved and important he was to me, and so many others I know. He made sure there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t know how beautiful or important or loved I was. I hope he knew how important he was to me. He was my sunshine and light in the dark.

I know he’s watching over me now, but it just isn’t the same. It never will be and that saddens me. I know that he is dancing with God in heaven free of pain and beaming down on me from above. A lot has happened in my life recently that I have wanted to tell him or wish he could’ve been here for. I edited an entire yearbook, I got an internship, I was a lead in a play, I did my senior dance recital, I graduated high school, I started college at ETSU, I got my first (paid) job, and I recently completed my first year of college. A lot more has happened since he’s been gone, but those are just some of the highlights. I know he was shining his light down on me through it all.

Don’t forget to tell people how much they mean to you. Don’t wait to tell someone how you feel because you never know when they may be gone from your life. Never let your sunshine get dull because they didn’t know how much they meant. Everyone matters and everyone should be loved the way my uncle loved others. I just hope he knew how much others loved him.

 

xx,

Bailey

(If there are any grammatical errors I’m sorry. It was hard enough just to write this and I don’t want to have to read it again.)