My dear, darling, daughter,
Well, here we are, your 23rd birthday almost over. We've had an OK day, mostly just taking care of stuff, talking to friends, like that. Ashley and the girls left lovely messages for you on Facebook, I think Mom did too. I've been thinking about what I wanted to tell you, and really didn't come up with anything special, even though there's been a ton of things going on. So I' think I'll just catch you up on some family news, and let you go on to whatever you're up to now.
Saddest things first: some passings: Jamie, a dear friend of Sean's passed away just before Sean's birthday. He'd been mourning Sean since his death, kind of like you. Trying to get past the absence and I think it just caved in on him. He had called mom every year on Sean's birthday, and this year didn't call. We found out when BG (remember her?) called to let us know: we were on our way to pick up the new puppy, who we named Moe. A real furry bundle, he won't get to be as big as Oliver, but probably bigger than Bella. Who, by the way, is doing great. You really picked it well when you left her to Katherine: it's been a really wonderful thing to watch them grow together. Also, Jula, Paramo's mom, passed away Sunday. She was 95. I'll write some things about her in a few days. you only met her once in Zurich 7 years ago, but in her time she was a pistol. So that's the end of that side of the family, unless we have an unknown brother/sister. Which I wouldn't put past either of the Chiara men, but no-one has surfaced to date.
Happier is that James is getting married in October to, ready for this? Ashley. Yep, another Ashley for our fam. I haven't met her yet, but the reports are very good. :-)
Ana is almost done with 7th grade, and you'd be proud of her. She's had her struggles and has come through really well. She's got a couple of health issues, but we're looking out for her and the whole family is now on the South Beach diet and acting like we're going to be all fit and stuff. We'll see; we've had good intentions before. It may be that Ana keeps us on track, that girl has steel for her decisions.
Mom and I saw the doctor for our annuals today, and he's not terribly happy, but we've promised to eat better and exercise more (see above). Seriously, I want to be in good shape for Katherine's wedding, if and when. No, she's not engaged so don't panic, but sooner or later she'll find someone and I'd rather not be a blimp when that happens. Since I can't look forward to yours, and Ana's is very far away we hope, Kath's is next up as a goal.
I've missed you terribly. I cry sometimes, and wish I could howl like a coyote at the moon in pain. It feels like there were things that really only you could advise mom and me on, especially around Aliana and the Parmley girls. And the talks we had! God, I wish we could have one more. I've talked to the moon, hoping it would reach you, but no answer. So I think we're on our own. Which truly sucks. Ana is pissed at you! Whoo, boy. Seriously, that girl is scary sometimes.
You would have just finished your sophomore year at UMBC, if things had gone as planned, and Katherine would have graduated from TFA, and now what would you be doing? Looking to transfer to somewhere? Totally involved in college? I can't see, you were always unpredictable. It was simultaneously one of your best and worst traits.
We had dinner tonight with Rene and the kids (Charlie is out of town on a shoot), we went to an Argentinian restaurant. A real family meal, like you loved: all of us together, eating and having fun. You were such a family kid for as much as you wanted to also be on your own. Not at all like me at your age, really; I just wanted to get out of Dodge. You looked to the family to give you, I don't know, a good feeling for just being you, not something you had to work at or for. You were always so loved and wanted. Did you know that? I think you worried you weren't loved, and maybe weren't lovable. But you were, more than you'll ever know. And if sometimes we wanted to wring your neck, that was part of the package, too.
Well, it's Ana's bedtime, and she's already been to my office door (which I close when I write so I can not be interrupted by cat after dog after child), and so I think I have to go. I'll cry for you some more tonight, as will Mom, and then we'll sleep and get up and go on. The world is grayer without your light, my dear, but still it is a beautiful place, just like you wrote on your arm. take our love with you wherever you go, and always know that I have always and will always love you.
"I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."
Sweet dreams, kiddo,