This Is For You
“And if I didn’t know better
I’d think you were talking to me now
If I didn’t know better
I’d think you were still around.”
—Marjorie, Taylor Swift
In just a few days, I finish up the first phase of this new career. There will be a ceremony. You were supposed to be there. You were supposed to watch me come full circle. You were supposed to hug me and tell me, “Be safe, kiddo,” in the voice you always tried to keep emotion out of.
I’ve wanted to call you so often these last few weeks. I almost did a few times. I needed your forwardness with me, especially when it got tough emotionally. I needed you to ask if I was scared, remind me that I’m human, and I’m not as scared as I think I am.
I’ve wanted to send you more pictures of my life here, to show you how happy I am, how much I’ve grown. I wanted you to see that I’ve healed. I’ve wanted your encouragement, your advice, your words of wisdom, your reminders. I’ve wanted your voice. I saved some of your old voicemails just for those moments.
Sometimes, I feel like you are talking to me. There have been moments I have almost felt you say something to me, or I thought I heard you say my name. It’s not always out loud; usually, it’s internal, like it’s in my heart. It always happens in the moments I need confidence or strength or a reminder that I can push through.
I’m going to have to move forward here without you. I didn’t — and still don’t — really know how. I never thought I’d have to finish this journey without sharing it with you, yet here I am. It’s incredibly painful. I know, though, that as I continue this path, you will be right there with me.
Mom and I went to visit you a few weeks after I found out I’d passed what I needed to. I placed an invitation to the ceremony on your grave. As soon as I stepped back, I felt the tears break free. I could just picture your face receiving that invitation, how happy you would be, all the questions you’d ask me. Mom wrapped me in a hug as she began to cry and said, “She’ll be there.” Because, no matter what, you were always there, and that won’t change.
The Chaplain reminded me that I am your legacy. That comment got me through these last two months. That reminder is the reason I’ll be walking across that stage and taking that oath. That reminder is the reason I will not quit.
You are the reason I am, and will be, strong.
Featured photo courtesy of Jr Korpa