First: mom, dad, and Christina, please don't read this. I don't want to upset you more today than you already probably are.
Second, to the rest of you, an apology.
Different people have different ways of grieving and remembering the people they've lost. Mine is writing, and sometimes I feel like when I write stuff like this, I become a bit of a drama queen. I don't know if that's accurate, but it's how I feel about my writing at times.
If this upsets you, I'm sorry.
April 6, 2016
I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I've wanted to text you with something funny or call you about what happened in Star Wars or tell you -- again -- what a dumbass you are (sister's prerogative).
Elli is four now. She decided last year that on her fourth birthday she would turn into a big girl and wouldn't be afraid of bugs anymore. Shortly after that, she started pre-school and piano lessons, and she loves both. She does her piano homework every day. When she wants to talk to you, she looks up to the night sky and talks to the moon and stars.
Alex turned one two weeks after you died. He started walking and now he loves to run. And climb. There are lots of pictures of him climbing on chairs and standing on the kitchen table. It usually involves food. He laughs all the time, unless someone pisses him off and then he says "HEY!" He's almost the spitting image of you when you were his age. Christina has shown him your picture enough times that now when he sees a picture of you he says "Dad!"
It's really shitty that your kids have to grow up without you, especially because you're a great dad and you love them so much.
We celebrated your birthday with a cook out and presents for Elli, Alex, and Liam. Legos, which we put together in your memory.
In the fall, the crew at Volition planted a tree in your memory.
For a guy who said he hated people, you sure have a lot of friends. Hundreds of people came to your memorial service and told us how good of a friend you'd been to them and how highly they think of you. Your friends miss you and talk about you when they feel up to it.
Mom, dad, Christina, Jeff, and I talk about you too, as often as we can. I like to tell them about stuff you did when were little, and because I'm the big sister, some of it's not so flattering. And because I'm the big sister, I don't care.
I remember the day you were born, and I remember the day you died. I've done a lot of remembering in the past year. All of us have. Our lives are now divided up into "before Bart died" and "after that."
I've lost track of the times I've said "Fuck cancer" or written "fuck cancer" or thought how unfair it is that cancer fucked with our family and continues to do so to other people.
But mostly I try to remember you when you were healthy. How you used to make all of us laugh. When you texted me a video of Elli singing happy birthday to Alex, even though it was for my birthday and you told her to tell me a happy birthday too. (I still have that video on my phone) How Jeff used to catch you reneging in euchre when we were in high school. The time you shaved your hair into a mohawk. (I still have that picture somewhere) How we used to play slap jack when we were little and that it usually ended up in us just slapping each other's hands for fun. How you spent one whole summer holed up in your room listening to ZZ Top and the Top Gun Soundtrack. How we used to listen to the audio tape of Star Wars while we played battleship or legos in your room. The time the puppy peed on your rug, and I laughed while you scowled at me and the dog. Playing with play-doh and eating dad's pizza eggs on Saturdays.
So yeah, I miss you and I'm still grieving (we all are, we probably will be for the rest of our lives), but I'm so glad that I got to be your big sister. I wish we'd had more time. I promise that I'll take care of mom, dad, Christina, Elli, and Alex. I promise to keep talking to Liam about Uncle Bart, and laughing with Jeff about the stupid things the three of us used to do together.
I hope that wherever you are, there are lots and lots of legos.