"Dear Me" to 4 year old Jacob Pippin

Dear Me Letter
The NAGC sent out a call for letters from those who experienced childhood breavement. The letters were to be written to their younger self and hopefully show today’s grieving children and teens that there is a brighter future ahead..

The following letter comes to us from Jacob Pippin.


 
Dear 4-year-old Me,Jocob Pippin mymom

It’s three days after Christmas and your mommy just took her final breath. Cancer just took her life. You don’t understand why, most 4 year olds wouldn’t. You don’t know really understand what all the needles were for, or the wig. You don’t know what leukemia is or chemotherapy. All you know is what they tell you, that she‘s gone and she isn’t coming back.

You’ll have to live with Grandma and Grandpa now, but know that they will love you like their own son, despite the difficulties over the years. Your mom was their only daughter, she was 26. You’ll stand outside a lot and stare at the stars, you don’t really know why but it always made you feel better, it makes the pain seem smaller. Sometimes you wish you were one of those small lights in the distance, far away and above it all. You run around the house sometimes, screaming. The noise helps the world seem silent.

One day you will be 5, then 6, and you will start school. School is routine and you learn to love routines. It keeps your mind busy. You will still feel alone a lot, like there is a veil between you and the world. You see moms and dads all around you and you’ll wonder why you are so different. You’ll visit a tall man in a fancy office, he will watch as you play on the playground and he will write in his journal. He’ll decide you need medicine, you don’t why. You will have to stop by the school nurse and she gives it to you while your class goes to lunch, you won’t like that. You already feel different.

You’ll have to answer questions, questions you will become numb to. “Why do you call her Grandma?” “Where’s your mom?” “Where’s your dad?” You become good at answering them, the words become routine and you like routine. You’ll have to answer other questions too, like “Jacob, what you want to be when you grow up?” Grow up? Be? What do I want to be? You don’t know how to answer it. For you, there wasn’t “when you grow up” there was only tomorrow. Will I be ok, tomorrow?

Middle school will come and go, you will make friends and learn to be “normal,” a survivable normal at least. It will feel like you’ve gone years without remembering her, it makes you feel bad, it makes you feel like you’re losing her again. Sometimes you pull out her picture, you sit and look at it, you close your eyes and pray for a memory. You will go to high school too. You’ll play sports, sports with routine, you still love routine. You find that as long as your busy you don’t have to think, to really think. One day you will look around and see friends making college plans, you don’t. You’ll feel angry about that. Your heart will feel like a broken compass, no direction seems right. You will try college but it doesn’t work out, at least for now.

Life starts to feel like a slow drip. But one day you will meet a beautiful woman and who will ask her to be your wife (she will “yes” so don’t be too nervous). The more time you spend with her the more you worry that she will she how damaged your heart is. She knows that it is but she will love you anyway. One day you will become a Daddy and you will LOVE being a Daddy.

One day, many years from now, you will look back at your life and ponder all the hard questions. One day you will realize that throughout all the years of pain and tears that you were never alone, even though it felt like it most times. One day, child, you will realize that grief is the other side of love, the price we all pay for loving so deeply.

Love,

Future You

"Dear Me" to 16 year old Me

Dear Me Letter
The NAGC sent out a call for letters from those who experienced childhood breavement. The letters were to be written to their younger self and hopefully show today’s grieving children and teens that there is a brighter future ahead.

The following letter's author is anonymous. 


 
Dear 16-year-old Me,

Fourteen years have gone by since your mother died. There have been fourteen Easters, fourteen birthdays, fourteen Christmas, fourteen Thanksgivings, and many more celebrations your mother was not there for. You have survived all of them.

Some of them have been easier than others, but what I want to tell you is that you have kept your mother’s memory alive. People have tried to stop you from being sad or feeling the way you feel, but you have not let them discourage you.

I know sometimes it feels as if none of this is real and when you talk about her it is as if she never existed. She died and it has been very difficult, but you survived. Not just survived; you thrived.

Keep writing to her, keep journaling, and keep talking about her. It is so important and has helped you so much in your grief journey. You found your own way of healing and dealing with the sadness. You created a life for yourself in Florida and have managed to graduate college.

You are now volunteering for a grief center that helps children who have been through similar situations. You are helping other children find ways to cope with their sadness and grief.

Your strength through the last fourteen years amazes me, sitting here thinking about it. You enjoy life to the fullest and your joy is contagious. You never let your situation dictate your life.

Yes, your mom dying definitely played a part in who you are now, but it does not define you or the last fourteen years. You will continue having holidays and festivities, but I know you are strong enough to handle them. I also know she will be a part of all those memories.  

Stay strong my 16-year-old self.

Anonymous

"Dear Me" to 9 year old Me

Dear Me Letter
The NAGC sent out a call for letters from those who experienced childhood breavement. The letters were to be written to their younger self and hopefully show today’s grieving children and teens that there is a brighter future ahead.

The following letter's author is anonymous. 


Dear 9 year old me,

You survived, you made it! Every thing inside me goes out to you, for the pain you had to endure, the emotions you locked up and buried and most importantly the childhood you lost.

I know it hurt to be the only kid at school who didn’t have a mum ‘cause you were. But know what, people didn’t know what to do with that. It’s them, not you.

No one, had the right to take grief from you- that sucked and it was unfair.

Your mother’s death has created a detour in your life, with a wide gaping hole full of emptiness and pain. But, know what- that detour, as horrible as it is- is okay. It will make you into a strong, resilient woman who doesn’t back off and who faces challenges and life head on. You will grow up to realize that being a misfit is a gift is disguise and you will become a person who refuses to follow the herd, who’s not afraid to be herself and to show up no matter what.

You did go to that first day of school after summer and when kids were sharing their summer stories- yours was the most dramatic. Let me tell you that although there will never be closure to what happened all these years ago you will be able to emerge. You will take all this pain and sorrow and learn from it, you will find in yourself so much love and you will share it with your child. And even though your mother isn’t mentioned much, you know that she lives on through you. You are allowed to grieve, you are allowed to feel resentment but you are also allowed to give yourself compassion and treat her with the grace she was denied. You will move on, you will be stronger and this detour doesn’t have to be a cloud that forever overshadows your life. You will also be able to find it in your heart to forgive all those who did you wrong.

You may always wonder how things would have been if your mother hadn’t died and that’s okay. But know that you’re also allowed to let go of all the “should haves”, “would haves” and “could haves”.

You’re allowed to be your beautiful, broken, work in progress self.

I love you.

Your 39 year old self.

Anonymous

"Dear Me"

Dear Me Letter
The NAGC sent out a call for letters from those who experienced childhood breavement. The letters were to be written to their younger self and hopefully show today’s grieving children and teens that there is a brighter future ahead.

The following letter's author is anonymous. 


Dear me,

A minute before I heard what happened life seemed amazing. It was exciting and fun and during the summer. I came into the room where mom and auntie had stood. I looked at them both. Knowing someone died. I hate myself everyday for thinking it was my grandmother. I said “granny” no they said. Dad. I knew in my heart as I fell so the ground it was you who took your own life. In that moment I felt empty. My world flipped. As time goes on you here advice from all walks. But you hear the advice that’s been passed down from generations to generations. I have ways I felt or thought during my loss. I began to forget what my father sounded like. His voice was an absent memory. We had no videos or anything. I felt guilty and worthless when I had forgotten how you spoke. And that was something I learnt is okay to accept. I only began to remember his face, the same face in the picture they held upon the casket. Not the one I saw a week before your death. Time doesn’t heal. It’s just with time you become more lost. Life takes over. The absence of that human becomes a little less painful the more you occupy your mind with other tasks.

To those kids in pain. Maybe like I am or was. To the kids who don’t want help from a professional and to the kids who don’t want to watch people around them be forceful for you to be happy. To the kids who felt they weren’t sad enough. Or didn’t react right. Or feel they morned fast. It’s okay.

Cry in your bed late at night until your pillow is wet. It’s okay. But get up the next morning free of your sadness. Forgot about the loss for a day or too. It’s okay. But don’t hate yourself when you do. When you have fun it’s okay. You deserve it.

To the kids like me. You have to fight. The pain is quite unnatural. The feeling stronger on some days. The pain like a rollercoaster. To the kids like me just know your worth enough to be loved and your worth enough to have a place here. Why go and pay for a cinema ticket if you’re not going to watch the movie. Stay. Watch your life. More important, still live your life.

Dear me.

Me.

"Dear Me" to 10 year old Bonnie

Dear Me Letter
The NAGC sent out a call for letters from those who experienced childhood breavement. The letters were to be written to their younger self and hopefully show today’s grieving children and teens that there is a brighter future ahead..

The following letter came to us from Bonnie Luna.


Dear 10 year old me,

I know you just lost your whole world but all I can say is, you and your siblings will be alright, I promise. You are so strong and you will get through Moms death with the help of counseling, dance, faith, family, friends, & prayer!

Grief is now the center of your whole life, and it will shape you to be the grown up you needed when you were 10. I can’t tell you that the hurt and pain you’re feeling deep inside ever goes away but I can tell you, it gets easier.

You’ll get scared because as each year passes you’ll start forgetting her laugh, her smell, and her smile, but that’s okay because you’ll NEVER forget the way she spread love and kindness like it was fairy dust.

And you too, will try your best to spread love and kindness. I know you’re trying your best to be mature & not break down for your younger siblings but stop, you’re only 10! Allow yourself to be a kid, you don’t have to keep it all together! It is not your job to be a mom now, no 10 year old is ready for that kind of responsibility.

You’ll get older and miss her at every huge milestone, but she’s there. You’ll feel her kind soul every minute. She’ll plant so many wonderful people in your life you never knew you needed. She’ll be there for your graduations, she’ll be there for your small wins, & she’ll even be there for the wedding you’re now planning. She’ll be there, trust me.

Her memory will never leave, you’ll see bits of Her in yourself and a lot in your siblings. You’ll be in your early 20s and finally be able to talk about her without sadness, but with joy! You’ll still get together for her birthday every October and laugh about the cherished memories you have.

Lastly remember she’d want you to be so incredibly happy. So do those things that fill your soul! Never stop working with kids - they bring you more joy than you’ll be able to fathom. Go on those trips, leave the nest( your siblings will be just fine without you) Have the big wedding, it’s okay to smile and celebrate happiness after her. And stop worrying SO much about you’re siblings, they have the same incredible guardian angel you do, they’ll be alright.

Sincerely,

Me