Letter to a Loved One: Rylee

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Dear Mom,

It’s been six months since you left this earth. That’s 182 days without you, your unwavering optimism and your infectious belly laugh. 

I miss everything about you. 

There’s a hole in my life where you used to exist. A hole in each morning where we used to chat on my way to work. A hole during the day when I have the urge to tell you about a new accomplishment or failure. A hole every evening as I wait for your daily sign-off text, “goodnight bb girl ️”. 

You were right — grief is hard. 

They say the pain you feel after you lose someone is a direct measure of how much you loved them, and I believe it. 

I remember in your final weeks, I found you crying. Not because you were scared, but because you were so sad to know we would be hurting soon. It was a moment that perfectly defined you: completely empathetic, unafraid to show emotion, always putting family first. These were some of the qualities I admired most about you and I’m so grateful that I inherited them...it makes me feel like I’m carrying you with me. 

It’s true that our family is hurting, but I think you would be happy to know that this whole experience — losing you — brought us even closer together. It’s the silver lining you always encouraged us to look for. 

We’re at the halfway mark of what everyone says is the hardest: the first year of grieving. Part of me doesn’t want to move forward because it feels like I’m moving further away from you, but I know you wouldn’t want me to put my life on hold.  

In the letters you left, you told me to “turn that frown upside down” (which makes me smile every time I read it), “laugh until you can’t breathe” and “love with all your heart”. So, I’m doing just that. 

I miss you more than you’ll ever know and love you just the same. 

To the moon and back.  

Rylee (your bb girl)

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Thank you to Rylee Irwin for sharing and being a part of opening up the conversation around grief. If you would like to share a letter please email info@maryyoung.com