From The Girl Who Lost A Sibling

From The Girl Who Lost A Sibling

My story.
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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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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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I Believe In Big Brothers

A big brother is more than just someone who makes fun of you and beats up the ones who break your heart.

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I believe in big brothers. Whether related by blood or water, everyone needs a big brother. Someone to guide you, find you, and fight for you. Someone you can talk to every day but still have stuff to say. Someone who makes fun of you but won't let anyone else.

When I was younger I would follow around my brother, imitating his every move. My brother would then turn around switch places with me and start imitating my every move. We were close, but then he got older and moved away for college and then a job. We didn't talk as much and I only saw him when he came home for holidays, but even then we were so busy we didn't hang out. I lost my big brother, for a little while.

When my brother moved back home, he became part of my daily life. Every day, I would pick him up from the bus stop, and he would ask,

"Do you want ice cream because I want ice cream? Let's get DQ."

I could never pass up ice cream so we would we would drive around screaming Fergie at the top of our lungs and finishing the treat, making sure our mom didn't find out we had it.

Two Oreo and cookie dough blizzards later and the secrets began to spill. We would tell each other everything- relationship problems, work/school issues, things mom did that annoyed us, secrets we couldn't tell our parents, the TV shows we were watching. As the music blasted through the speakers, my brother gave me advice and explained his problems. Then the radio switched to Taylor Swift and we would spend a couple of seconds sharing our hatred for her, but in the end, our voices synced up as we sang along.

As I left for college, leaving my big brother was so sad. I would miss the ice cream runs, boxing fights, and late night eating sessions. It's hard to be away from your best friend.

But college brought us closer. As I began to follow the same path as my brother, he was able to guide and lead me to avoid his mistakes. Even though we were miles apart we still continued our usual antics.

A big brother is more than just someone who makes fun of you and beats up the ones who break your heart. A big brother is someone who teaches you how to be sarcastic, calls you just to tell you about the terrible show he watched and knows when someone's not good enough for you. A big brother is someone who could have no knowledge of where you are but still find you. A big brother is someone who never leaves your side—no matter how big the fight or how far apart you are.

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