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.