To The Sister In Heaven During The Holiday Season

To The Sister In Heaven During The Holiday Season

Thinking about the holidays without you always seems to become more difficult, but I know you are always here in spirit.


Dear Emily,

Seven years on, and it yet it almost feels as if it was yesterday that you departed this life. It feels as if only yesterday, I was still at the hospital, saying goodbye before you took your last breaths. That day remains the most difficult day of my life to contemplate, yet I seem to meditate on it every day.

During Christmas, however, I seem to consider it more. The staggering loss we felt when you departed. Maybe it's just because this is a time of year when family convenes, maybe it is just because you always enjoyed the holidays.

Regardless of what may cause it, your passing weighs heavily on me during this time of year.

I always feel a bit emptier around this time of the year than I usually do. There is clearly an Emily-sized and shaped hole at all of our family gatherings. We miss you walking around the house and your characteristic grunts and laughs. The way you'd smile and interact with all of us made everyone feel better during the holiday season.

I'll never forget the time after you went after grandad, demanding that he sign "thank you" to you after a job well done.

Sometimes I struggle to articulate my thoughts on this matter. However, I can state this clearly — I miss you dearly. Immensely. There is not a single day that passes without you coming to my mind or the mind of your mother, father or little brother. You remain an indelible part of our lives despite not being among us anymore.

We remain forever proud of you — for your fight, your tenacity and willingness to be outgoing.

Emily, you remain crucial to who I am as a person. You remain crucial to why I want to enter medicine. You remain integral to my path forward. Regardless of you passing, you remain among us. Always.

I love you, kid. I hope you enjoyed celebrating Christmas with the angels and the relatives who preceded you. We remain forever proud of you.


Your brother, Jake.

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.


1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten

Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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