Dear Third Grade Me,

You won’t have the words to describe which phrase bothers you most,

“It’s life, grandparents pass away,”

“She’s in a better place now”

“I’m sorry”

They all sound like words off a script; a playwright that does not fit in your little life. You’ll become numb to them. You’ll be ridiculed for crying in class, crying all the time, crying simply at the mention of her name. You’ll learn to become numb to the sudden memories, that way you don’t look silly in front of your friends anymore. You’ll feel really big emotions – resentment and jealousy – and not know how to express them.

You’ll feel like an oddball. How come no one else is as phased by their grandmother’s death? You’ll have nightmares. When will these stop? What if I don’t want them to stop; I don’t want to forget her face? Truthfully, you’ll never really stop crying. ​Why her? Why did she have to go, why couldn’t I say goodbye? ​For years, you will tear up at any thought at all of her; full of too many, so many feelings.

Healing is a funny thing. Just when you think it’s getting ‘better,’ you’ll hear a story from a family member that you hadn’t heard before, or one you remembered wrong. You’ll start to feel inadequate and question how much of her you really truly remember as the years pass on? This will spark a whole new sort of pain.

But,​ there is a beautiful sort of light that shines through stained glass windows after a rainstorm.

One day you will finally recognize the weight that you carried. ​There was so much anger.

Anger about lack of answers, anger about lack of acknowledgment, anger about apathy.

And you my sweet girl, you will let it all go. You will cry, but it’ll feel different this time.

You’ll finally let the light shine into the cracks of your broken heart; filling the pieces of you that you let her take beyond this life.
You’ll feel an overwhelming sense of comfort at the thought of her.
You’ll start to think of her during the calm, instead of during the chaos.
You’ll realize that she is always closer than you may think – in a breeze, in a song, in your own eyes.
& You’ll realize that you are not ​over-sensitive,​ but so extremely lucky to have known a love so pure and so great in your first decade of life.
So, sweet girl, filled with nearly as many emotions as she has freckles, know that you are never really alone.

Know that, you are going to do big things.
Know that, she was right, the sun will rise again tomorrow; ​soak in the light.​

And know above all, that she would be so incredibly proud of you.

By Ashley Eppolito

for her Memérè