Dear Grandma,

It's been quite some time since I've seen you last.

On one hand, it feels like just yesterday that we were at your bedside, rooting you on as your body struggled to do the simple things that our bodies can do without us even thinking about it. On average, most of us take nearly 25,000 breaths a day, and generally, each breath is without conscious thought. We just do it. For you, each breath took more energy than you could afford to give.

On the other hand, it feels like it's been an eternity. I think of you every day, and I'm not just writing that because it sounds good. Some days I think about how proud you would be of how far I've come. Other days I think about how you would probably scold me for my picky eating habits, and how untidy my car is.

There's something about thinking about you that brings me much peace. Most days, I can feel you here with me, but I often wonder what it's like seeing this world from heaven. Do you enjoy it up there? Although we're far from each other in different worlds, does it bring you joy that I still feel you around?

You taught me more than I could have ever asked for. You were the single most influential person to have ever been a part of my life. There are days that I wish I could continue to learn from you. When you passed, I was at a much different place in life. As I've gotten older, I've become more receptive to the lessons that life is trying to teach me. I could learn a lot from you today, Grandma.

I wish I could tell you how much I appreciate all that you did for me. The way you gently wrapped me in your arms when my house was a battleground of harsh words. The way you never took sides, and instead, viewed every situation objectively in order to find a solution. The way you would sing me to sleep when my parents weren't home. The way you unified the entire family. You were the cement that held us all together, Grandma.

You never missed a birthday, an anniversary, graduation or any significant event. Sometimes it tears me apart knowing that you won't ever meet the man that becomes my husband. You won't be at my wedding one day. You'll never be able to meet my children, and they will never be able to learn from you the way I did. You won't see me graduate. I won't have my biggest cheerleader beside me for some of the most monumental moments of my life.

But if there's anything you taught me, it's to enjoy the simple things. Embrace the ones you love with tight hugs and wet kisses. Don't spend your time wishing things would change, and instead, make the change. Never expect things to just work out for you. Things work out for those who work hard. Remember that nothing happens by chance, and instead live each day knowing that you are shaping your future.

And above all, the number one thing you taught me was to base your life on the notion that love is the healing factor in every circumstance; that love will always be the answer; that love is the only thing you can continue to give away and never become poor by doing so. Center your life around love, and watch it transform. Thank you for this lesson.

I love you, Grandma, and I miss you.