Five years ago I lost my best friend to an inoperable brain tumor, DIPG.  Five whole years.  Just saying those words sends shock waves through my body; my stomach drops, and I’m taken back to Thursday, January 5th, 2012.  I’m back to getting woken up by my parents that morning who tell me that Jessie will be moving to heaven today, I’m back trying to tell JT what’s happening and playing Legos to keep him distracted, I’m back to sitting next to her on the couch, telling her how much I love her and not knowing if she hears me, I’m back in it all.

How crazy is it too that everything seems to happen on a Thursday?  She was diagnosed Thursday, March 3, 2011; she joined Jesus Thursday, January 5, 2012; and now five years later, we are celebrating her on Thursday, January 5, 2017.  It is beautiful and crazy how God likes to put everything together.

Five years that feels like less than 5 seconds at the same time.  I feel like January 5th will always feel as real as if it happened yesterday.  I still don’t know if I’m completely used to knowing she’s never coming back and that she’s not just over at a friends.  It still hurts more than I can put into words.  But with that pain, comes beauty.  With the mourning, comes dancing.  With the broken, comes joy.

Miss Jessica Joy,

Thank you for everything.  Yesterday I finished your book for the first time in my life.  I promised myself I would read it in its entirety before five years and I did it.  Walking back through the most horrible thing that has ever happened to us wasn’t easy, but the way Daddy wrote it with Jenna was perfect.  I laughed, I cried, I felt like I was back with you in person.  You continue to make me laugh and think back to the spunky personality you had.  To all the times we would push each others buttons like all sister’s do and five seconds later be laughing and joking again.  It reminded me of the complete angel you were in everyones life.  I am forever changed by you, and I never want to be the same again.

I miss that belly laugh of yours.  I miss seeing that smile of yours sandwiched between the cutest dimples.  I miss playing with you for hours and making up our own worlds.  I miss getting to bake all of your favorite treats with you and attempting to make every possible cupcake we could because they were your favorite.  I miss getting to whisper at night to you from across the doorways of our rooms when we couldn’t sleep.  I miss when we would have to share a bed at nana and papa’s house and you would have me draw pictures on your back to help you fall asleep faster.  I miss playing dress up with you for hours on end and all the silly jokes you loved.  You knew how to make everyone feel loved, special, and laugh uncontrollably.

More than anything, I miss having you by my side.  I miss my best friend, sweet girl.  I wish you could have been there when I graduated high school, when I decided to follow my dreams and stay home for college, and that you could be there to help me through the heartbreak and loss that comes with love.  I missed getting to drive you to school with me in the little red jetta when junior and senior year rolled around or showing you the ropes of high school and all that it brings.  It’s crazy to think you would be a senior,  hearing back from colleges and deciding where you would be spending the next four years of your life.  All of my best friend’s sisters are going through this too and I can only imagine that you would have been best friends with all of them.  I wish you could meet the girls who have come into my life and been the best friends I need.  I think you definitely helped God hand-pick them for me.

Thank you for being everything I could have asked for and more in a little sister  Sometimes I feel like you were the big sister and I was the little sister, you were wise beyond your years and taught me more in 10 months and 2 days than I ever learned in the 14 years I was living prior to your diagnosis.  I’m continuing to learn more and more from you each day, too.  Your faith in God through everything you went through is the role model and example I strive to uphold.  The unending compassion and the pure, innocent joy that ran through your body is teaching me each day to put others first and remember to enjoy the life I’m given.

Thank you for showing me what it is like to love fully and unconditionally, to give without wanting anything in return, and to never, ever lose sight of God’s big plan.  My angel, you’ve changed me in more ways than I ever knew were possible.  I will forever hold onto the special sister-moment’s we share and the memories I hold onto closely because you are in them.  I pray that they never fade away.

As five years comes and goes today, I wanted to share the biggest lessons you’ve taught me since January 5, 2012.

  1. Treasure people.
  2. Give unconditionally.
  3. Love with all you have.
  4. Stay strong in your faith.
  5. Hold onto Joy.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart missy, for always being by my side and helping me navigate this life from up there in heaven with Jesus.  Thank you Jess for teaching me, daily, how important this life is and how much of a gift it is to have.  I miss you more and more each day but I know you’re always by my side.  I will forever be proud and honored to be called Jessie’s big sister.  I can’t wait for the day I can talk to you and say that we did it, we reached your goal of encouraging every kid fighting cancer to never, ever give up.  I don’t know what these next five years hold, but I know you will be there, right by my side, leading the way.

Like Daddy always says, I’ll see you in a wink.

I love you angel.  Forever and always.


your big sis