Dear Cailyn

September 3, 2008
Dear Cailyn,

Today I walked up to our meadow. It was just as beautiful as the last time I was up there with you. The rushing river we went through on our bikes is nearly dried up now, there are just a few little streams flowing down the road. It doesn’t seem like the meadow’s any drier though. The only difference I noticed was that there were tiny midges flying around the puddles at the bottom near the road. It looks just as much like Scotland as it did when we were up there. Such a stunning emerald green!

I didn’t stay for long though today. I came empty-handed instead of bringing my notebook and pencils like I was planning to. When I was in the meadow with you there were so many words floating around in my head I felt like I just had to write them down somehow. I’m going to try to go up to the meadow every day this summer and to write and dream in our own little private place.

It’s really amazing up there, how all the problems in the world seem to fade away in the place of sheer beauty. It’s hard to worry about anything when I’m in the meadow, everything just seems so trivial. My bike’s in the shop right now, just getting a tune-up, but it will be back tomorrow. The road’s dry enough (I hope) to ride up there, so I’ll be up to the meadow soon.

My sister brought home two baby trees, you know, the ones you get for Earth Day at school, and I’ve decided to plant mine up in the meadow, in honor of you. I thought it would be neat to have my own little tree to take care of up there. I’m going to plant it right where that perfect place for writing is, with the little groves of scrub oak. I can’t wait to go to the meadow again, and this time I will bring my poetry book, and my other notebooks.

I have to go to school now, but next time I write I’ll send some pictures as well as a letter. I love you, and you are the best friend anyone could ever have.

Lots of love,

Dear Cailyn,

I know I promised to send some pictures of the meadow, but the only time I went to it this week I forgot my camera, so the pictures will have to wait. Anyway though, when I did go to the meadow I saw thousands of tiny butterflies. I guess because of all the snow I haven’t been seeing them like I used to. They were beautiful! There must have been hundreds of different colors, and each one of them was different. They were so inspiring, I wrote some poems about them.

I know what you’re thinking. Me, poems? It’s funny though, because since you’ve been gone, I’ve actually enjoyed writing poems. I think I’ve gotten over my aversion. I know you probably want to read the ones about the butterflies, but they really aren’t very good. I just like to write them. But here goes. Don’t laugh at me okay?
wings spread
lift into the air
so gentle
so free
flowers call
to you
gentle butterfly
wings still flutter
watch you drink
in a way
I never can
gentle butterfly

Okay I know I told you not to laugh, but go ahead. I know you think it’s funny. But then again, being you, you might actually understand what I’m trying to say. But oh well. It’s just fun to try to express yourself with as few words as possible. You should try it sometime. But of course you’ll be much better than me Cailyn, and I’ll end up feeling inadequate with my lame little poems.

Next time I write I promise to send pictures of the meadow and of the butterflies. I may even enclose another poem if I’m feeling generous. But right now I have to go. You are the best Cailyn ever, even if you will be a much better poet than me. I still love you.

Lots of love,

Dear Cailyn,

Here are the pictures I promised to send, and attached to this letter is a crushed butterfly I found in the meadow yesterday. I didn’t crush it, I swear. The meadow is starting to dry out a little more, and I’ve been going up whenever I can. I can’t wait until school gets out, so I can go everyday. That’s not the only reason I want school to get out though, no one really knows what to make of me since you’ve been gone.

When Josh someone nameless found the letter I had been writing to you, he acted so strange. He’s like, “You do know she’s dead,” in this sad voice. I said, “Of course I know, it just helps me remember her.” He didn’t say anything else, even when my eyes filled up and I had to leave to dry my tears. But I don’t want to think about that now.

So do you like the pictures? The spider I saw purely by accident. I know you don’t like spiders, but I thought this was a really cool shot. I was hiking around the meadow with my camera, and saw this web. I was poised to snap the picture, when this spider came out and literally posed for the camera. I thought, well if he wants his picture taken, then I’ll take his picture.

The tree in the mist is our oak we found in the meadow. It was really rainy and I thought it would be a good time to take some pictures, so I hiked up and snapped a couple. The rest were useless, but that one turned out pretty good. I thought you would like it, because it is just such a beautiful shot of our favorite tree.

The leaves are just a random shot of the green of the meadow. It still resembles Scotland, and if possible is even more beautiful. Everything is so green. I decided against putting a dead butterfly in the letter, but I still wanted you to see it, so I took a picture of the poor thing. Well anyway, I hope you like the pictures. And I did say if I was feeling generous I’d let you read another poem. Oh fine.
the grass is wet
with tears
between my fingers
and more roll down
my cheeks
if I could
how to stop
I think I would
but I don’t know how
its been
too long
without you

Well there you go. And I have to get ready for school. It’s six-thirty in the morning, and I felt like I had to write to you. I cried in my sleep again last night.

I love you

Dear Cailyn,

I don’t know why I keep writing to you anymore. Somehow it just feels so right, like sometime, eventually you will get these letters and I’ll see you again. My parents think that I’ve been getting over the grief, but I try to make an effort not to let them see. Mostly I cry by myself, in the meadow. I cry the most when I remember those last days in the hospital.

Before that you weren’t yourself at all, and I could barely stand to come visit you. On April 20, your mom called me, and told me to come to the hospital right away, that you probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I spent the night in a chair next to your bed, holding your hand. That night, you told me that you loved me, and I held one of your hands, and one of your mom’s, and she held yours and mine. We sat like that for hours, crying, all of us. It was the twenty-first, early in the morning when it happened. You squeezed our hands once more, then the light left your eyes.

I can’t remember what happened after that, though I have flashes of tears, screaming, and someone’s strong arms pulling me away from you. The next day I went up to our meadow and watered the grass with my hysteric tears. I couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything. All my thoughts were blocked out. My body shuddered and I couldn’t see anyone. I refused to answer the phone, and I didn’t go to school. No thoughts of anything but you penetrated my shell.

I can’t talk about this anymore. I hope that wherever you are, you know that I am trying everything I can to tell you that I love you, and I miss you with all my heart.

So much love,

Dearest Cailyn,

Every time I think I am getting better, a memory of you pops up in my head, and my carefully built up wall disintegrates with a crash. This time it was the popsicles. You remember them? When we were four, my mom gave us popsicles for the first time. We sat on the porch steps licking them, when you saw a parade of ants crawl by our feet. You immediately turned your popsicle (it was grape flavored) upside down, and dripped it for the ants. We watched hundreds of ants devour the drip, and you just kept your popsicle upside down for the ants.

You were so caring towards everything, even little ants. Oh Cailyn, I miss you so much. I’m going to tell my mom I can’t go to school today. She’ll understand. I’m going to walk up to the meadow to plant that tree I told you about. I’ll write again when I come back down.

I love you,

Dear Cailyn,

I’m writing this from our meadow. Spring has fully sprung, and I’m sitting by that grove of scrub oak we had picnics in. Do you remember how the leaves twirled in the breeze like tiny fairy lights? They are so beautiful, Cailyn, I wish you could be here to see them. I planted my tiny pine tree in the shade of the huge oak, but far enough away that it won’t grow too close. I felt my tears well up in my eyes as memories of you and me drifted through my head. For the first time since April 21, though, I was able to hold them back.

I watered the tree, and watched it hungrily soak up the drops. I remembered the time when we decided to grow a garden…

“Cailyn, Adelene, come inside!” shouts your mom, “It’s too hot too plant right now.”

“We’ll be fine Mom, don’t worry”

You look at me with mischief in your eyes, and that one-ended smile I love so much. You whisper to me that we can plant them anyway, and we stay out for hours more, pouring our souls into that tiny garden. The backs of our necks burned with heat from the sun, and drops of perspiration watered as much as the watering cans did that day.

By the time the sun goes down, the garden is a misshapen mess. We both have ideas about how we want the garden to look, and without planning at all, our ideas have collided. Your side of the garden is wild, with crooked plants, and exotic blooms. Mine is ordered in rows with signs declaring what plants reside in each row, and organized by species.

Days pass, and we faithfully water every night at sundown. I remember late at night, I look outside to see you kneeling in my backyard, fondling the plants. I slip outside to be with you, and before you notice me, I hear you whispering to the plants. Your words would have encouraged anyone, and when you speak, I swear the plants stand up taller.

I come up behind you, and sit down. You tell me how much you want this garden to grow, that you’ve always wanted a garden, and you feel like it’s your child.

“I feel the same way,” I say, even though I haven’t really thought about it before. At that moment, something special passes between us, as if we truly know each other for the first time.

The crescent moon winks above us, and the stars glint in a strange dance. We lay back on the grass, and fall asleep looking at the stars.

Do you remember that Cailyn? I’m sure you do, it was such an important part of our lives that summer. We tended it so carefully, pouring our hearts and souls into that little patch of land.

I’m going to say good-bye now because this is the longest letter I’ve written you so far.
Dear Cailyn,

I don’t know if I can keep writing these letters to you. I feel like I can’t move on from your death until I let you go. I don’t know if I can stop now though, it’s so hard to let you go. I love you so much, Cailyn, you are like a sister to me. When you first got sick, I didn’t know what to do. We have always been like a puzzle, fitting together perfectly. I was so helpless, I researched Hepatitis B so much I could write a book now.

You never did find out how you contracted it did you? It must have been from a needle in that tiny hospital you went to in Mexico, because you never had a boyfriend or anything. We didn’t need anyone but each other Cailyn. You were gone too soon, and here for too short a time.

You never think someone you love could die until it happens to you. It’s always, oh, how sad for someone else. Cailyn, I don’t know what to do. I feel helpless, and I don’t want to let you go. They say if you sleep on it, everything will be clearer in the morning. I will write again soon.
All my love,

Dear Cailyn,

Today is by far the worst since you’ve been gone. This morning, I woke up sweaty and shivering from a dream in which you said I couldn’t keep holding on to you. I had to let you go. I sat crying in my room all morning, knowing you were right, and knowing that there was no way I could ever let you go completely. You would always be a part of me, and I couldn’t imagine stopping my letters now. I sobbed, not knowing what to do, feeling so helpless.

Mid-morning, I came to a decision. I would not cry anymore. This would be my last letter to you, the last letter I will write. I am going to move on, never forgetting you. You will always be with me, and I will always remember the special bond we shared. There is little left to say, now that my mind is made up. I am holding on to the past, and dying a little bit each day along with you.

I would just like to tell you how much you mean to me, and how lucky we were to have as long as we did together. You were an angel, Cailyn, and I feel blessed to have had you. I love you. Now there is only one thing left to do. You know the loose floorboard in the attic? I’m putting these letters in a box, and sealing them in envelopes. I will hide the box in the space, and remember you. I won’t try to pretend you’re still here Cailyn. I love you.

All my love,

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