Public Private Letters, Part 5: Dear Colby.

Dear Colby,

I know I said my last letter to you would be the one in your casket, but I can't help it. Today would have been your 21st birthday and I've been thinking about you a lot over the past few months--especially today. I've thought about more and more how short your life was. Beautiful, but short. You seemed like you were only just beginning. We were growing closer over the months before you died. I feel as though so much has been stolen from me. But, then again, life IS a gift, one that we are not guaranteed, so how could that gift have been stolen if it wasn't ours yet? It was a gift I absolutely took for granted. I would like to say I'll never do that again, but that would be foolish. I take life for granted daily, even after your death.

Can I be really honest? Some days I do not want to be alive--to be breathing and hurting. I'm not suicidal, I promise. I would NEVER hurt myself. But some days I wish for an escape. I wish for pain-free. I long for Heaven, truly. And you're there, and so many other loved ones. I long for the day when there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more sadness or grief. But today is not that day.

I rejoice in your life, Colby. You were--and are--such a beautiful soul. I rejoice in the fact that your pain is over and finished. I love the fact that you're with Jesus. But what about me? What about my pain? Really, truly, deep down, past all the pain, I do want to live out my life. I want to grow old. I want to be married. I want to have children and rescue lots of dogs. I want to do God's work here on Earth while I still can. I know you want that for me, too. I just miss you. I miss Aunt Jan. I feel like I didn't truly appreciate the two of you while I could, you know?

Grief is an ugly beast, Colby. It makes you feel all the bad things before you can feel the good things. And then, when you feel the good things, sometimes the bad things come back. Sometimes the bad things are lies, but sometimes they're just pain. Does that make any kind of sense?

I just wish you were still here with me at ACU. I wish we could go to Sonic and talk. I wish we could take Nugget for a walk around the Lunsford. I wish we could go on more road trips. I miss you, my dear cousin. I keep replaying the night when we were driving back to Abilene from Fort Worth together. You could tell I was upset, and you used that chance to encourage me. I'll never forget it, I hope. But if I could, I would re-do that memory. I would take your hand and squeeze it tight.

Your life was a gift that was only available to us for a little over 19 years, so I'm angry and sad and hurt that if I get married, you won't physically be at my wedding, or get to meet my children, or see the other exciting things that God has planned for my life. I hate that. I really hate that. I guess I'm a wee bit angry at God. I know He can handle it, but I hate to even be angry at Him when I know His plans for us are for our ultimately good. I so look forward to the time when our whole family will be reunited, and maybe we'll even begin to understand why you had to die. Until then, I miss you. I love you. Thank you for being such a good cousin to me.



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