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To My Old, Healthy Self Before Your Diagnosis

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Dear Jade,

I guess… well, I guess I’m finally saying goodbye. It’s been about four years since you faded away. I almost feel like I watched you leave. Every day you took one more step away and forced this new me to take a step forward into your life. And with every step I begged you not to go. Even now, without a trace of you left, I wait and wish for your return. Because I know you’re the one who is supposed to be living this life. The thing is, you’re not coming back in this world. And I have no choice but to pick up where you left off. To become you.

The thing is, I never really got to know you. You were barely 18 when you left. I’ve seen pictures. Read what you’ve written. There are traces of you left in me. You were so magnificently young. You had no idea what you wanted. No idea what the future held, but you knew it would be wonderful. You were smart. You were proud. You were fearless. There were no limits to what you could do. You believed in yourself and knew you could do anything. I’m so sorry that was taken from you.

It’s time to face the truth. I can’t keep wishing you were here and I wasn’t. What’s the point? Where will I get? I am just a trace of you, but that is still so powerful. I am grateful this illness picked someone like you. Because you were strong enough to take it. And, even after it ravaged your mind, body and soul, you were so mighty that what you left behind was still strong. You were a warrior, Jade. And so am I.

Every day brings a new challenge, but I’m a fighter. I can’t do what everyone else does. I can’t think like everyone else thinks. I can’t live like everyone else lives. That’s OK. You would have said, “Who cares?” This is a new life. A new journey. A new battle. And I will fight with the pride of carrying your name and your past.

Thank you for never being afraid. Thank you for the voice inside me that tells me I can do this. That I’m worth it. That the people we love, they’re worth it, too. Thank you. I love you.

This post originally appeared on Chiari Warrior.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: February 1, 2017
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