Dear Grandma Jo,

Hey, how have you been? Long time, no talk to. I know I look pretty different now. I’ve gotten taller. My hair is shorter. I can’t believe it’s been ten years. That’s why I’m writing you right now, if you couldn’t guess. I feel like a lot has changed in the last ten years with my family and my life. I bet you’re wondering what I’ve been up to since everything. I’ve been okay. I’m in school now, for writing. I don’t know if I ever told you that I liked writing. Ten years ago, I wanted to be a veterinarian and would watch Animal Planet all of the time. Instead, I went to art school. Are you proud of me?

I miss you, and my family misses you too, more than you know. Or maybe you do know. I don’t know how the afterlife works. I tend to think a lot about what life would be like if you were still alive. What would you think of my weird LARPing hobbie and would you be proud of me for getting into college even though my career choices don’t guarantee I’ll get money anytime soon. I remember when I was young, you were proud that I played french horn just like you did when you were in high school. I don’t play anymore, but I think you’d be happy to know that I at least continued playing until the end of high school. I stopped because I got braces. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that I got braces! It was terrible.

I think you would like to hear that I like talking about you with my friends. I tell them about how you were really great at leather crafting and could make just about anything from dog collars to wallets. You were really talented, but you were so modest about it. They were just things that you made. I’d also tell people about how you were born on July 3rd and that people would call you, “the firecracker that went off early.” I talk about how you’d made spanish rice and salmon croquettes and beef stroganoff and every dish you made tasted delicious. The family considered saving the recipes and making a cookbook out of them. I don’t know why we never did that.

I guess another reason why I’m writing is that I want you to know that I’m alright. That while I’ve gone through a lot of different changes and have had a lot of different life experiences, that I’m fine and I’m full of love and I think about you almost everyday. I want you to know that you are missed and you are loved by the whole family. It hurt to lose you, but we are thankful that we could spend the time with you when we did. I’m glad we got to spend that last summer with you in Minnesota. I am thankful for that last experience. I hope you’ve found peace wherever you are.