To My Mom Who Is Now An Angel

To My Mom Who Is Now An Angel

Four months ago, one phone call from my dad changed my life forever.

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Dear Mom,

I miss you. I miss your voice. I miss your laugh. I miss the smirk you gave me when you were about to say I told you so. I miss your sarcastic comments. Most of all, I miss you being there every day. It's almost been four months since you died and even though every day creates a gap in time I still feel like you could walk through the door any minute. You're on vacation looking at seashells in the Outer Banks listening to some Zac Brown Band in the sand.

I remember that concert last summer like it was yesterday. Our last concert. We sang and danced and drank our lime flavored drinks. You smiled every time a new song came on and your eyes lit up along with it. You loved music so much. I too loved the nights when we sat outside by the firepit talking while holding our glasses of wine and watching the night pass us by. Sasha and I would be dancing in the back while you Dad and I huddled around the warmth of the fire. It's nights like those that I'd kill to go back to. I didn't realize how fleeting these moments are until I lost you.

You used to love to tell me the lyrics of that Darius Rucker song It Won't Be Like This For Long. I laughed and nodded my head in agreement as you told me to pay attention to the words. The words that told me to not take any moment for granted. Each passing day I wake up and know that you're smiling over me but it still doesn't make it any easier. There's a battle in me because I regret all the times we fought whether it be about school or the makeup I chose to wear that day.

You wanted me to be just like you. To be perfect. I can't thank you enough for giving up the success you could have had at your kickass job in order to make me into the best person I could possibly be even though we sometimes disagreed on how you did that. Despite the highs and lows, our relationship went through, we came out of it stronger.

You were the strongest person I know fighting stage four cancer so bravely for so many years. Even in your darkest moments you still looked out for me and made sure to check in every day to make sure I was ok. You recognized my challenges and encouraged me to be the best version of myself I could be.

You taught me an immeasurable amount through your spirit and I'd give anything to have time to learn more and for you to see more. You won't be there to see me kill it at my internship this summer or be at my Villanova graduation which you advocated for or see my kids someday. I will spend the rest of my life trying to be half the woman you were.

Each day my heart still feels so broken that you're not here and I cry for all the times and experiences we missed out on. I love you with all my heart and I know you're watching HGTV up in heaven somewhere. I know your spirit is keeping the angels dancing.

Love you.

Kendall

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When You Give A Girl A Papa

She'll learn enough lessons to last a lifetime.
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When you give a girl a Papa she'll have the best adventures.

She'll run around atop his shoulders and learn to fly. Her imagination will never run dry and she'll always be down for a laugh. He'll tell her stories and wipe away her tears. When you give a girl a Papa she'll have memories to last her years.

Papa is German for Dad but in America, it has become a slang term for grandpa. And while it is just a word, for some, it has a deeper meaning. Papa isn't just a grandfather, he's a best friend, the instigator of mischief, a protector, a storyteller, a rock, the strongest man you know and, most importantly, a hero.

Papa can turn ordinary, everyday activities into an adventure. From a young age, I was running behind him as quickly as my little legs could carry me ready for that day's adventure. I was always down for anything Papa was doing, following him in his daily chores and mimicking his every move. Cuddling up and watching sports in his lazy chair was my favorite time of the day because he always told the best stories. Sitting there hanging onto every word he said because it was the most important thing I ever heard.

Papa is full of experience and wisdom. His wise words provide comfort every time I am sad. He can always make me laugh to fight the tears away. I'm not sure how, but he always knows what to say to make me feel better. Papa is a fearless force that never bows and is never broken. He can weather all of the storms while smiling and laughing. I can only hope to have that resilience when facing life's problems. And when Papa was struggling with his own battles, I will stand right next to him, ready to fight and do all I can for him.

Papa can do a happy dance via the phone so he is the person to call when something good happens. He is always there to celebrate life and all its joy. And, even though he tried to hide them, he cried happy tears the day of my high school graduation. I pretended not to notice.

Leaving Nana and Papa's house is always the worst part of the trip. Driving away waving my hand in the air with tears welling in my eyes because I can't wait for the next adventure. Disappointing Papa was the scariest thing you I could think of, but I knew that he would never stay that way for long. There was always a lesson to learn from mistakes.

He is the man I model all men after. If they don't treat me the way Papa demonstrated, they are not worthy of my time. If they don't make me laugh or have that twinkle of passion in their eyes and fire in their soul like my Papa, then they aren't the man for me.

Papa is my hero. I would give anything to be like him, to stand strong and hold the world together when it just wants to fall apart. To be able to make anyone laugh and feel right at home. To fight for what I believe in and work hard to achieve my goals. To have charisma and charm. To deal with people who wrong me with class and kindness. To follow my faith with questions because that is the only way to make your beliefs stronger. To be the person everyone speaks of with a fond memory in their eye.

At the end of it all, he is my Papa and no one can take his place. I can and will drop anything to be by his side. He has shaped me into the person that I am working to be. I will always call him for advice and kind words.

Best friends come in many forms, but my favorite will always be my Papa.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Goddard

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A Letter To The Moms In My Life

The urban dictionary provides plenty of definitions for what a mother is.

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The urban dictionary provides plenty of definitions for what a mother is like: "the best person on earth because she raised you to be who you are and probably loves you no matter what" or "the most amazing, strong, loving, and heroic woman you will ever know."

To my mother, I want to thank you for raising me to be independent, self-sufficient and driven.

Because of you, I am so much stronger than I ever imagined.

To my boyfriend's mother, I want to thank you for being the mother to the man I love.

Because of you, I have a kind, generous man to take care of me and cherish me. I have a second motherly figure in addition to my own to rely on.

To my grandma, I want to thank you for being a rock for me, and our whole family.

Because of you, our family is seemingly capable of anything. You are so loving and supportive and it has a lasting effect on everyone you meet.

I never knew how blessed I was to have the women in my life until I moved away to college and now that I know, I can't repay them enough. There's no way I would be who I am today without the influence of the incredible women in my life.

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