My sister is in town and last night we were going through old photos and reminiscing about past memories. It was so fun to look at the old pictures of us with our siblings, holidays, family trips, and just the everyday moments in our home. As I was looking through the photos I was so incredibly grateful to my mom and dad who took them! It’s such a great blessing to see those wonderful times captured in pictures.
Today is the 12th anniversary of my sisters disappearance and death and as I was looking at the pictures of us when we were younger I was full of mixed emotions. It was so fun to see the pictures, but so hard to think that is all I have left of her. We came across some pictures that we took right after she disappeared and it is still hard to imagine that it all really happened.
But it did and as crazy, that would never happen to us, as it is, it is my family’s reality. And we made it through this traumatic experience together and intact, give or take the natural effects of such an event. As a family we’ve had our ups and downs, but we love each other and through the savior Jesus Christ we have been able to find joy again.
I was scrolling through old blog posts I have written on the 24th in the past and wanted to share something I wrote a few years ago.
“Time has healed me a lot, but time will never be able to replace Brooke in my life. I have learned so much during this experience and it has shaped who I am today. It was not a one time event that happened and was done, it was a part of me and my life and I am me because of it. While I would never want to go through it again or wish it upon anyone else ever, I am grateful for the things I have learned and the person I have become because of her death.
Some Things I have learned over the years:
Joy can be found in suffering. Brooke’s death is very bittersweet for me ~ I have grown so much as a person through this experience and I have learned to enjoy life in different ways and to love so much more even through the pain of her death.
Everyone can do hard things! People say “I could never do that!” But, the truth is – we are not extraordinary, we are regular people who made the choice to persevere and we did not do it alone.
I am nothing without my savior Jesus Christ and the atonement. The savior and the atonement are what get me through everyday and without him I could never be where I am today.
Always put family first. My family is the most important thing to me and through this journey we have had our ups and downs like any family, but we are so close and so much stronger when we are together as a family.
Even trials can be a blessing. People wonder how anything good can come out of such an awful event, but the truth is many wonderful and great things have come out of Brooke’s death. She was and continues to be an amazing person and I am constantly blessed to be her sister.
I will see her again. I believe that through the power of the atonement families can be together forever and I know that one day I will see Brooke again and I cannot begin to imagine how wonderful it will be!
Love unconditionally. The last thing Brooke told me was that she loved me and throughout her life she made sure that I knew she loved me and cared for me. You never know how you might touch someone or how long you will be able to tell someone you love them. Take the extra time to love those around you it’s worth it.
Happiness is not found, it is created. We have all control to decide whether or not we are going to be happy. It is a choice and even when we are faced with unreal tragedy we can make the choice to be happy.”
While I would much prefer my sister be here with us, I’m grateful for the knowledge of eternal families. I’m grateful for the beautiful example she is to me and one day to my children. I’m grateful that one day I will see her again and I can’t even begin to imagine what a joyful day that will be as I get to embrace my angel sister. Until then I’m grateful for all the beautiful memories and pictures I have to remind how truly blessed I am to call her mine.