To our Karbi,
I have never been good at goodbyes. I mean that sincerely, and I think as I get older it only gets worse. They make me feel awkward, I get all tongue-tied, and I usually end up blurting out something weird or bumping heads while trying to give a simple hug.
But this kind of goodbye is on a whole different playing field of goodbyes I didn’t think I’d have to step foot on for years.
This kind of goodbye is like something I’ve never experienced. It’s like a swift punch to the gut every time I think about you. Every time I read your name. Every time I think about the fact that I’ll never get to hear your voice or see your face in real time; that I’ll have to watch videos or look at pictures to be with you again. The fact that in two months time I won’t get my “happy birthday” wish that you NEVER forget, because you remember all the important dates, ever, for everyone in your life. It’s like a really underrated superpower that should have been acknowledged more often.
I feel that gut-punch when I think about the fact that I can’t remember what our last hug felt like, and that if I had known I would have held you a little longer. I know how cliche that sounds, but you don’t know the truth in those words until you’re desperate to hug someone just one more time.
I’m trying really, really hard to think of you and smile, because I know that you’d be telling me you don’t want to be remembered with tears or sadness. And I know that more than anything you deserve to be celebrated, simply because of the person we all know and remember you to be.
But my god, is it ever hard.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you were a light in this world. A bright one. A light that lead people to safely to shore, like a lighthouse. Even in some of the darkest, most uncertain days of your life you were our small, human lighthouse that has left this larger than life impact on us all, and I promise that in the years to come we will all do our best to keep your light shining.
You are technically younger than me, but I can’t even begin to list all that I’ve learned from you in your lifetime, and all the reasons I’ve continued to look up to you. You were a beautiful example of the kind of mother I aspire to be, and the kind of person that you only get to have once in your lifetime. You are, and always will be, one of a kind. A person with undeniable strength, and a spirit that can’t properly be described or matched. A person with more forgiveness than some of us probably deserved, and a selfless love that was truly inspiring.
You are inspiring.
I can’t help but continue to circle back to your babies. How devastated I am that, more than anyone else, they’ve lost you. That they’re going to miss out on some really important milestones with their mom. That this is something they’ll struggle to understand for a long time, and something so unbelievably out of the realm of what they deserve.
But, in the spirit of trying to see your light through this, I believe that they’re going to be ok. They’ve been so blessed to have been given you as their mom, not only because of who you are or what you’ve given them already in their short lives, but because who you are and the spirit that you have has reeled in a big, beautiful, caring, and generous community of people ready to pick up where you’ve left off, and try their best to be what your babies deserve.
I hope that you can find peace knowing that.
I’m looking outside my living room window as I write this letter to you, watching the wind blow around the grass and the leaves on the trees, wondering how a world that is seemingly untouched, and exactly the same can feel so completely different and empty. Wondering what the coming days, weeks, months, and years are going to look like without you. Wondering what the ripple effect of your loss is going to be. Wondering how the hell we’re going to get through this.
Then I remember something you posted only a few months ago, under the picture of a stormy sky. It read:
“i took this photo a few weeks after one of the worst days of my life. i was celebrating my son’s birthday, and as much joy, happiness and pride as that gives a mother (and it did) – my whole heart was also literally ripping apart at the seams and I was experiencing pain, loneliness and confusion like I’ve never felt before. this moment, even if it were for just a brief while, brought me clarity, peace, and a sense of faith to let my heart go into the hands of a higher power.. whatever that may be. i look back at this picture and it reminds me of the laughter of my children splashing in some amazing humans’ pool.. (I am forever thankful for you all).. it reminds me of the bond of family, the strength and determination that I never knew I had as a mother. it reminds me of feeling numb and suddenly having my faith in the universe feel restored for a moment – before being turned off and on again, repeatedly. it’s amazing how the power of nature can mentally, physically, and emotionally rock you on so many levels. this picture reminds me to never let anything get in the way of your joy, to never stop capturing and documenting moments in your life because someday, you may look back at these moments and they might have a totally different meaning with a totally different attachment.”
And I realize that we’re going to get through this exactly the way you described: with strength, determination, the bond of family, and relishing in small, fleeting moments of peace and clarity. We will look for your light during our dark days, and I know you will guide us to find reasons to have faith in the universe again.
I want you to know, Karli, that even though you aren’t physically here with us on earth anymore, you will never truly leave it. We will carry you with us, in our hearts, with each step through each passing day. You will be in the hearts and minds of your littles as they grow and continue to experience and explore the world. You will be everywhere we are, experiencing the world you left too soon, until we meet again.
Thank you for being the best mother, cousin, sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, auntie, and friend. I promise you will always be remembered, and you will continue to live through us all.
I love you forever, my Karbi.