For The Aunt And Uncle You Never Met

For The Aunt And Uncle You Never Met, But Hope Are Looking Down On You

I hope they're proud.

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The aunt I am named after died before I was born. In fact, she died before I was even a thought — my mom was 6 then, my aunt was 21. My uncle died when my dad was two. He was alive for 18 hours and didn't make it.

Now, even though I never got to meet them and they didn't get to live out their full lives, there is not a single day that goes by that I don't think of them. So this article goes out to them and all the things I wish I could say to them.

To the aunt and uncle I lost too soon, here's what I want you to know.

I love you. Every single day I wonder what life would be like if you were here. Would we have a good relationship? Would you be proud of me? Would I be your favorite niece (the answer to that one is easy — yes)?

I hope you know that I'll never forget you, even if I've never met you. Aunt Gail, you live on in the stories that are told of you and your artwork that graces our walls. Uncle Jeffrey, you were here for not even a day but a stocking hangs on the mantel for you every Christmas. Even when the rest of the family may not mention you and want to let your memory fade, I hope you know I never will.

When I think about what life would be like if you were still here, it makes me sad to see where I am and to know you never got to experience any of it with me. Neither of you will ever be able to read any of my writings. You never got to see me graduate, or will see me get married.

I hope you're looking down on me from Heaven.

I cannot wait for the day when we are reunited and I finally get to know you. I hope you're proud of me. I hope you love me as much as I love you. Aunt Gail, I hope you know how much I strive to keep your name alive. I wish I looked more like you. You're my guardian angel. You would have been the peace-keeper of our family. I like to think you'd take my side, being the aunt I go to for advice or for a nice hug.

Uncle Jeff, I hope you are everything like my dad and nothing like my dad all at once. I hope you have all of his good qualities and none of his bad. I like to think that you would have been the prankster of our family, always keeping us on our toes. You would probably give my future boyfriend a hard time, being very protective of me. I hope your hair would be curly, and maybe just a little bit red, like mine.

I wish you both had gotten more time, but I know God has a plan for everything. Whatever His plan was/is for all of this, I know you are so much closer to Him than me, thus keeping you in a better place.

I've said it once, I'll say it again: I love you. I love you forever. We've never met, but I love you so much more than you could ever know.

I'll see you one day, and I cannot wait for that day.

Love,

Your (favorite) niece.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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True Tales Of Growing Up In A BIG Family

Spoiler alert, I get tackled a lot.

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I was born into a fairly large family. I have upwards of twenty-something first cousins, many of who are around the same age as me. It has honestly been both a blessing and a curse to have so many people around me all the time. Some of my favorite memories come from family gatherings where all of my cousins were there. However, since most of my cousins are male, there has also been a lot of physical violence where people get hurt, even if the intentions were innocent. I have so many stories about my family, some of which I won't share here because they are a little bit inappropriate, but others are too good not to share.

The first story I want to share is from this past Easter. Most of my cousins on my Dad's side were at my Papa's house celebrating the holiday. There was so much food we could probably feed a small army. Some of the older cousins decided that we were going to play a game of whiffle ball. All of the cousins who were playing were at least sixteen and some of them were much older. Many of us had or are playing sports in High School or College so this game of whiffle ball got extremely competitive very fast. I ended up being the Umpire/pitcher because I played softball for so long. The game ended with my brothers winning and my other cousins upset that they lost, but it was still one of the memories I will cherish the most even though I definitely threw out my shoulder pitching.

I can remember playing a game of football on Thanksgiving when I was young (maybe five or six). This game, not unlike the whiffle ball game we played at Easter, got super competitive super fast to the point where even I, as a six-year-old, was being pushed and tackled to the ground by much older boys. I honestly can't remember much about that game, maybe I got hit in the head too much, but I do remember having so much fun playing with my cousins.

I've been on a cruise two times in my life, both times with my extended family. One cruise was to Mexico when I was very little. What I remember about that cruise was getting extremely sea sick and that the cleaning staff would make towel monkey on our beds. The cruise was to Alaska when I was a lot older, I think I was fifteen. Since I and my cousins were much older on that cruise, we caused a lot more trouble and were able to get away with it. Every night we would go to the pool and swim. Then, we would go to the buffet and only eat pineapples and mac and cheese. We, also, may have or may not have gone into a bar to sing karaoke. While the cruise was fun, I wouldn't have had such a great time if I wasn't with my family.

While sometimes they can be a pain, having so much family has taught me a lot about communication and playing right. Again, I only have scratched the surface here in regards to the plentiful stories I have, many of which are so much funnier. I love my family so much and I would never trade that in for the world.

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