From The Girl Who Lost A Sibling

From The Girl Who Lost A Sibling

My story.

At only five years old, my world was rocked. September 14th of 2004 would be a day to forever haunt me. A day I could have never seen coming. I had always wanted to be a big sister. I was so excited when I found out I’d be getting a baby brother. It was absolutely a dream come true. As soon as my brother was born, my happiness didn’t stop.

I loved being his big sister. I loved to help with feeding, bathing, changing, anything to be close to him. I loved him. I loved him so much. I can’t remember the 14th perfectly, but I hope I kissed his little head goodbye on my way out to the door to school. Unfortunately, it would be the last time.

The day was confusing from the start. Why was my mom’s friend picking me up from school? Why couldn’t I go home? Why couldn’t I go play with my baby brother? And later, why are my parents in tears? And finally, why did this have to happen? That one had no answer. My mom had been holding my beautiful brother when all of a sudden, he stopped breathing. There was no warning. There was no way to help him. The next few months, years even, were a blur. All I remember was sadness. But the years after? I remember hope.

The Ryan Wolfe Kossar Foundation was founded to prevent this tragedy from happening to more families. While unknown to many, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) takes the lives of over 2,000 infants a year. Infants just like my brother. Infants with loving families just like mine. So, I will continue to share his story - through the foundation, through word, and now through my writing. I will share until no other sibling has to come home from school to find out they were an only child again.

And to my baby brother, I love and miss you every day, Ryan. It’s surreal to me you would be a teenager today. I wonder what you’d be like. I like to think you’d love baseball like me and your daddy. I like to think you’d look like me, with big green eyes and a big smile. I like to think we’d be so close. I know we’d be so close. We are so close.

I can still talk to you. I can still thank you for being my guardian angel. I can thank you for giving me strength through struggles and guiding me through life. I want to make you proud. I want you to smile down on me. I hope you do. I’m proud of you. I’m inspired by you. I live for you. And I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

The thoughts of a girl who lost both of her grandpas too early.

Dear Grandpa,

As I get older, my memories are starting to fade. I try to cling to every last bit of memory that I have of you. There are certain memories that have stuck well in my brain, and I probably will never forget them, at least I hope I don't. I remember your smile and your laugh. I can still remember how your voice sounded. I never want to forget that. I catch myself closing my eyes to try to remember it, playing your voice over and over in my head so that I can ingrain it in my memory.

I always thought you were invincible, incapable of leaving me. You were so young, and it caught us all by surprise. You were supposed to grow old, die of old age. You were not supposed to be taken away so soon. You were supposed to see me graduate high school and college, get married to the love my life, be there when my kids are born, and never ever leave.

My heart was broken when I heard the news. I don't think I had experienced a pain to that level in my entire life. At first, I was in denial, numb to the thought that you were gone. It wasn't until Thanksgiving, then Christmas, that I realized you weren't coming back. Holidays are not the same anymore. In fact, I almost dread them. They don't have that happy cheer in the air like they did when you were alive. There is a sadness that hangs in the air because we are all thinking silently how we wished you were there. I hope when I am older and have kids that some of that holiday spirit comes back.

You know what broke my heart the most though? It was seeing your child, my parent, cry uncontrollably. I watched them lose their dad, and I saw the pain that it caused. It scared me, Grandpa, because I don't ever want to lose them like how they lost you. I can't imagine a day without my mom or dad. I still see the pain that it causes and how it doesn't go away. There are good days and there are bad days. I always get upset when I see how close people are to their grandparents and that they get to see them all the time. I hope they realize how lucky they are and that they never take it for granted. I wish I could have seen you more so that I could have more memories to remember you by.

I know though that you are watching over me. That is where I find comfort in the loss. I know that one day I will get to see you again, and I can't wait for it. I hope I have made you proud. I hope that all that I have accomplished and will accomplish makes you smile from ear to ear. I hope that the person I marry is someone you would approve of. And I hope that my kids get more time with their grandpa than I did because the amount I got wasn't fair.

I want to say thank you for raising your child to be the best parent ever because they will one day be the best grandparent ever. Just like you.

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn McKinney

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My Sister Is Now A College Grad, And This Is Weird

Get ready, real world.

It felt like just yesterday that you were riding your bike ahead of me around the neighborhood. You were just coming to say goodnight to me at my bunk in front of all of my friends who were jealous that I had an older sister at camp.

I remember watching you throw your cap in the air at your high school graduation. Soon enough you were moving into your freshman year dorm. I was watching you with excitement; you were a college student–that was cool.

Now I’m the college student. You’re a college GRAD.

You were always three steps ahead of me, so this should be normal, right? Nope. On your eighteenth birthday, we all told you that we couldn’t believe you were an adult. However, you weren’t really one yet (no offense).

Now, though, it’s legit. You’re living in the big, scary world. You’re getting a REAL job, with a desk, and no summer break. Soon enough, home for you will be some tiny apartment. Coming to us will be a departure, rather than a return.

Weird stuff.

I don’t mean for it to sound bad. I mean, this is REALLY exciting. You graduated college. You’re about to start a career, create a new home, find new friends. There is so much unknown ahead of you, and it’s all going to be great.

I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things that you do and all of the amazing places that you go. Thanks for always being three steps ahead of me, so I can watch you and learn. I know you have BIG things ahead of you. Good luck, college GRAD. The real world doesn't know what's coming.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Rosenfeld

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