You Lived, You Died, I’ll Tell Your Story

My Dearest Joanna,

I can’t do this on Thursday. All the energy I’ll be able to muster has to go to the book release. I’m doing that for you. It still seems unbelievable that you’ve been gone for almost two years. Those first few days weeks months were almost impossible. I’ll never get used to you not being here, but I’m getting better at living with the void you left behind.

I went back to writing after you died. I kinda had to. It was the only thing that made any sense. Remember college? When we both wrote like we were running out of time? If I had known you were, I would have kept more of the things we worked on together. I would’ve done a lot of things differently.

I would’ve found Hamilton sooner and, my god, how we would’ve sang. Like RENT levels of singing. I would’ve picked up the phone more, taken more pictures, made all the Sims, played more Cards Against Humanity. And, we definitely would have rolled more dice and finished all the campaigns. We would have lived more if I knew you were running out of time.

It wasn’t enough.

So, I took a year…well, more than a year. And, I existed. I allowed myself to be not okay. My sister was gone and taking each breath took effort. That was my reality. The ruins of what was when you were here. I didn’t give you enough credit for all that you gave me. But, family is like that sometimes. I could barely get myself from one moment to the next. There were people who didn’t understand why I was so broken. They didn’t know you. Or me, really. And, definitely not us.

So, I was left putting things back together. And, out of that came a story – the first of many. I hate that it was borne out of your death, but that’s life. I’m proud of it and you would love it. You’re all over it. It’s the kind of story we would’ve written together. The kind we made up after midnight when we were running out of M&Ms and Pepsi.

But, here we are. I’m here and you’re not. All the things you did, all the lives you loved, they’re still here. But, it’s emptier without you. You had such a huge impact on everyone. My god, you could’ve done so much more if you only had time. It still hurts that you didn’t.

So, as your sister, it’s up to me. There are still dragons to fight and worlds to create. The world isn’t going to change itself and it’s gotten ugly in your absence. There’s still so so much you would’ve done. But, you can rest easier knowing that I’ll pick up where you left off. I put myself back in the narrative. I’ll tell the stories. I’ll make the safe spaces. I’ll create laughter, and magic, and joy, I’ll use my voice for those who don’t have one, and carry tissues for those who need it. I’ll be the friend you taught me to be.

I’ll keep your flame, I’ll tell your story. I promise.

Miss and love you forever,

Me

 

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