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.

Love,

Your brother, Jake.