It's been 10 years. 10 years without you and it still hurts just as much as it did the night you died. I was just 11 then. A kid who was growing up, a kid who didn't know who she was or who she wanted to. A kid who didn't quite know what her purpose in the world was.

I'm 21, nearly 22 now and I'm still not quite sure if I have this adulting thing down yet. My personality has changed quite a bit, okay, it's changed entirely. I'm no longer shy, quiet or afraid to talk. I'm loud, I'm bold, I'm not afraid to speak my mind and I'm learning how to stand up for myself.

I've figured out what my passion is. When I was growing up, all I could talk about were animals. But, to my surprise, and yours, my passion is writing. I got back into it during community college and everything fell into place shortly after that. Writing is one of my biggest stress relievers. It's one of the few things that makes me happy.

I also attend many concerts and music festivals with my friends. I've seen and met many of my favorite artists over the last few years; you'd be blown away at the amount of concerts I've attended, so I think it's safe to say I found a new hobby.

Whenever something exciting in my life happens, I can't help but get sad and think about how much you've missed and how proud of me you would be.

I've basically grown up without you. I went through my entire teenage drama filled years without you. I became an adult without you. I went to the casino for the first time without you on my twenty-first birthday. Every exciting step or milestone in my life, you've missed, and it makes me cry thinking of how many more you won't get to see.

If you were still here, life would be so much different. I wouldn't have made as many mistakes as I've made, I wouldn't be so sad today and more importantly, I'd still have my best friend.

The family is so different now. We aren't as close, we hardly talk and holidays are no longer spent together. They are separate. We have two thanksgivings and two Christmases. I know that's not what you would want. I know you'd want the whole family together and it breaks my heart how we all fell apart after you died.

Weekends that used to be spent at your house are now spent at home on my computer writing my heart out or with friends attending shows or driving around town. The things I would give to have one more night with you, papa and the cousins together again playing Yahtzee and eating popcorn as we watch The Tonight Show with Jay Leno one last time.

The things I would give to spend one day with you, to hear your voice, to tell you what I've accomplished and get advice from you one last time.

Some days are harder than others. Some days, all I want to do is cry for no reason and wish you were here so you could tell me what to do, and other days, like today, I'm writing these letters letting you know how much I miss you.

As I grow up, I know life isn't going to get easier. Time isn't going to slow down and I'm going to go through more things. However, I know that it'll get better and soon I'll be living my best life.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about you. I wish you were here to see how much I've grown and to see what I accomplish next, but I know you're in a better place now and you're no longer hurting.

I love you, so much, mama. Until we meet again.