Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Truth

It is way past time for me to be completely honest about something in my life that defines me, who I am, what I am, and why I am. It is so precious to me that I sometimes do not speak about it as strongly as I should, for fear that I will not do it justice. But I cannot be afraid anymore. I refuse to be afraid anymore.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been from the very beginning and while I did start off on this path because my family put me on it, as I have grown and matured and developed I decided it was time to know for myself. This was in high school, when so many are trying to figure out who they are. I had never felt a desire to leave the church, or to question anything I had been taught because it had all felt so right. But I knew I could not testify of the truth if I did not know it for myself. I couldn’t rely on the faith and testimony of others any longer. So I followed the example of the prophet of the restoration, Joseph Smith. As a young boy, he wanted to know which church he should join. But he did more than wonder. He took his questions to the scriptures and searched for answers. He read in James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” This prompted the 14 year old boy to go out into the woods behind his home and pray, trusting in the promise of the Bible that he would receive an answer. He did receive it, as the Father and the Son appeared to him and told him not to join any of them. What would follow through this faithful young man was a work that changed the world, and continues to change it to this day. Because of him, we have the Book of Mormon, an ancient record of followers of Jesus Christ on the American Continent. Joseph Smith translated the words of prophets in those ancient times, and we now have their testimonies today. They testify of the divinity of the Savior, of His life and His mission and the great mercy and miracle of His infinite atonement. A scripture in the Book of Mormon, given by its final author, a prophet named Moroni, says this: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” That was my signal that it was long past time for me to show the same faith that Joseph Smith did, and ask God if what I had learned, and what I had hoped to be true, really was true.
I did not have an angel visit me. The Father and the Son certainly did not appear to me as they did to Joseph Smith. Lightning did not strike, music did not play, and there was no neon sign flashing the answer at me. But what I did receive is a feeling of warmth and comfort, peace in my mind and in my heart, and I knew—I KNEW!—that it was true. I did not need anyone to prove anything to me. I had asked God, and He had seen fit to reveal it to me. It is true. And that knowledge changed my life.
Because I know it is true, I live my life differently. Instead of viewing my religion as a responsibility or a sign to wear around my neck, it has become a part of me. I don’t just do “Mormon things” because I am supposed to. I AM a Mormon. There is a difference. Knowing what is expected of me is one thing; knowing why it is expected and what I can become because of those expectations is much better. I try to live my life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. This means that I hold myself to a higher standard. Yes, my church has high standards. Some might say we are old fashioned, and I’m proud of that. In the world we live in today, who wants to be on the forefront of the tide of liberality that takes away every moral guideline that was ever in place? What will be gained if we give up our souls?
The high standards of my religion are in place for protection. My high standards for myself are in place because I belong to the Savior and Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ. He has ransomed me through His atonement, and my weaknesses and sins and mistakes, my hurts and my longings, my grief and my loss, are swallowed up by that. He has paid the price for me, so that even with my shocking amount of failings, I can be made clean and whole. I can live forever with Him and our Father in Heaven after this life, if I am worthy. I have devoted my life to Him, to His work, and to His children. Am I perfect? Of course not. I am far, far from it. If I had to spend a minute on my knees in prayer for every sin and weakness that I commit in a day, I would be kneeling until the end of time. But He takes my efforts and puts them on His mighty shoulders and carries me. He knows my heart. He knows that just because I mess up does not mean I am a bad person or lost or weak – though I might argue with Him on my weakness. He sees my heart. He knows that I am trying. And that means something to Him.
I love Him with all of my heart and all that I am. I will never be able to comprehend His suffering, or His goodness, nor will I ever be able to express gratitude enough for a fragment of what He has done for us. I am eternally indebted to Him, and that is why I have given myself to Him.
We are all children of a loving Father in Heaven, who laid out a plan for His children so that we might learn and gain experience through mortality. He knew we would mess up, which is why He sent our brother, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He has a plan set for each of us. Every trial, every hardship, every good thing is in place in our life perfectly so that we can become the people He wants us to be, the people He needs us to be, so that His work can go forward. He wants nothing more than for us to return to Him. He loves us beyond our comprehension, and He will never leave us to face this world alone. Never!
There are so many questions in this life. Confusion and turmoil run rampant and it is only getting worse. But I can testify, with every fiber of my being, that we are not alone. That the answers are here. That peace and understanding and guidance are found here. Honestly and earnestly seeking for answers will result in revelation of truth. In a time when we do not know where to turn, I know where to turn for my solace and consolation. I know where to go for my answers and problems. I am not a great person, I have no power or influence. But I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is my Savior. He is the Master and Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. He is the Messiah, prophesied of for generations before. He is the source of peace and goodness and life. I know that God, our loving and eternal Heavenly Father lives and loves us. I know that He sent Jesus Christ to the earth to save us, to help us back to His presence. I know that families can be bound together for eternity, not just until death to you part, but for eternity. Love and families are eternal, they were meant to be eternal. Heavenly Father wants us to be together forever. He has a plan for that. He has a plan for everything. And His plan is perfect.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ upon the earth. I know that we have the fullness of His everlasting gospel. I do not say this because I am the #1 fan of my church, although I might be. I say this because I have studied scripture, I have searched for truth, I have asked, and I have received. What I know I know. Anyone can know with surety for themselves if they will follow the example of prophets and apostles before: search for truth and pray for answers. If you ask with faith, if your heart is in the right place, if you yearn to know so that you can do God’s will, YOU WILL KNOW. I know this is true with all of my heart. I know we have a prophet on the earth today. His name is Thomas S. Monson, and he has been called of God in this day to lead us and guide us in the paths of the Lord. He is just as much of a prophet as those found in the Bible. He is the purest example of Christlike love, because he knows the Master. He strives daily to be more like Him, to see all as He sees them.
I hope one day to be able to say the same about myself. But for now, I am trying.
I know this has been really preachy, and not at all like my usual humorous posts. But this is important to me, and I do not and will never take it lightly. There is much trouble in the world. But there is also SO MUCH GOOD. There are so many good people who are trying to be like Jesus, who want to do what is right, and who serve their fellow man with grace and charity and love. There is hope in the world, and there is hope in His gospel.
So come into the fold. Bring the goodness that you have found in your life and see if more can be found here with us. And together, we can build the kingdom of the Lord. We can walk in the Savior’s footsteps together. We can help each other on our journey through life. And when our mortality is through, we can rejoice together in the kingdom of our Father, where peace and hope are eternal and love never ends.

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God bless.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Adventures of the Imagination

The last few days have been quite the adventure for me, but not in the way you would think. I'm still living and working in Morgantown, I've not done anything especially exciting or adventurous, I don't have any more money now than I did last week [in fact I have less], and tomorrow will be pretty much the same as today. But not all adventures are things you can see or that are apparent to the outside world.
In the world of a writer, most of your adventures happen inside your head.
Don't get anxious, I'm not crazy. I just have a really overactive imagination. And when I get fixed on something, it takes over.
I have no idea how other writers work in their craft. I'm fairly certain we're all different in our methods and madness. For me, it gets pretty intense and I have to watch out or I get carried away on extraneous stuff and lose the story itself. In this case, however, I just call it research.
I have a story. It's completely different from anything else I have ever written, which is probably why I'm so fond/proud of it. All along I thought it was a 3 book series, of which I have completed the first, began and laid out the second, and plotted the third. I had a general idea of what people looked like and how they acted, but nothing specific. I had a general idea of what the outfits and locations looked like, but nothing specific. And I don't need specifics. Not really. That's what imagination is for, right?
Anyway, I've had this all ready for over a year. The first book was finished in the middle of last fall and it just sat there. I had my two advanced readers look at it and they loved it. But then, they tend to love everything I've written. I got some advice and suggestions, which I took and adjusted, but being in grad school sucks time out of your life and so it just sat there. Eventually, I asked two others to read it, and got positive responses from it. But I still didn't have time or energy to let myself get back into it.
Then school got out.
And the fun began.
I am one of those people who writes to music. I can listen to a song and put a scene to it. Within reason.  So I usually line up a playlist of the sorts of music I think works with the material I'll be working on. If a particular song works exceptionally well [ie. is perfect for what I am writing at the moment or distracts me enough to put a new scene in my head], it goes on what I call the "official playlist", meaning it will be used later or when I put together my actual soundtrack when all is said and done. Yes, I do official soundtracks. It makes me happy.
So I was working out the other day listening to my unofficial playlist and ideas just kept coming. And suddenly I realized that three books wouldn't be enough with all I wanted to do, so it became four books. And possibilities expanded. Battle scenes, emotional scenes, new characters, characters I'd forgotten, tragic deaths, spontaneous hilarity.... It was overwhelming.
So I decided to step back and get some specifics. I generally try to have what I call my "dream cast", meaning if I were one of the lucky few who got to have her work immortalized on the big screen, who would play my characters. Obviously, it's not a perfect system, but it helps me to be able to picture how the features I've described my characters as having or possessing work on real people. And having real people to go off of makes planning out actions and emotions and nuances easier. For me, at least. So I set about finding my main guy. That came pretty easily. I know you don't know the story, but if you are nice, I'll give you a teaser later. Anyway, the main guy to know in this story is Nash. He is quiet, strong, loyal, and carries a dark past. He is also observant, kind, and just the slightest bit insecure about himself, but he knows in his heart that he is a soldier. So, for him, I chose Max Irons.

He might be too pretty, but we'll see.
I knew who I wanted for a couple of additional characters, and I won't spoil it for you, but the hardest one by far was my main character, Liv. Liv is tough, hardened by life and circumstances. She will do anything to save her family and does not care about anything beyond that. Until her own past is brought up and she finds out she's a part of a much bigger world and plan than she could ever have imagined. The adventure in the book is hers, as are most of the drama and emotions. I had absolutely no idea who I wanted to play her. I couldn't think of a single actress that had everything I wanted or saw in Liv. That could have been just me being picky and protective of my character. I spent ages on IMDB looking at pictures and profiles and movies. I tried lots of actresses, but some looked too young, too old, too pretty, too girly, etc. No one was perfect. So I moved on to other characters and got just about the entire series cast.
Then I accidentally clicked on "birthdays" and scrolled along to see who had a birthday that day. An actress I had never heard of piqued my interest and I looked at her. She was blonde, which meant I had to think if she could work as a brunette. Then I found a picture of her as a brunette. And the search ended.
Meet Sophie Lowe, my inspiration for Liv:

I won't tell you how excited it made me. You wouldn't understand. But having faces to go with my names makes this real. I know I'll never make it to movies, and it's highly unlikely I'll even get published, but I'm a writer. I write. I don't do it to make money or to become famous. I do it because I love it and I have stories to tell. And now my characters are more real than before. And more adventures can take place.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This is hard

Alrighty, it's about to get real up in here again. Sorry about that, but this is my blog and I can vent if I want to.
Life is hard. I know life is hard for everybody and we all have our different challenges and trials, but right now my life is HARD. Hard enough that I don't want to get out of bed in the morning unless it's Sunday because that is the only day that feels safe. Hard enough that one day at a time is all I can do. Hard enough that I feel like I'm being pushed to the very edge of a cliff and have to figure out how to stay on when everyone and everything around me is shouting "JUMP!" I have never felt so stretched in my entire life.
Now, to be fair, I am a ridiculously emotional and sensitive person. It is the end of my first year of grad school, and I'm exhausted in every single way a girl can be. Everyone tells me I'm in the homestretch, but it feels like the end of the obstacle course in American Gladiators where they put the hardest stuff all at the end and do their very best to break you. I always thought I had good life endurance, but this all makes me feel like a weakling.
I know what part of the trouble is. I'm trying to live righteously. That's not a bad thing, not by a long shot, but it does invite the devil to be hard on you because he wants to break you. I read numerous talks yesterday where the thought was said that when things get really hard, take that as a sign of encouragement that you are on the right path. That made me feel good, but it didn't help me to figure out how to get through it.
I've been praying with more sincerity than I ever have, and I always hope for miracles. But I'm starting to think this is one of those "push through it" times where heaven steps back and says "We're here, but you have to do this. Come on, one more step. One more day." I pray for strength for myself, which I always receive (sometimes by the end of the day I'm on my hands and knees, so to speak, and crawl home, but I make it) and other days it's like "Whew, I made it. That could have been worse." I pray to be positive, because I have to remember that with all of this hard stuff, I am an example of the gospel of Jesus Christ and people watch me. So I bite my tongue when I want to complain. I smile when I want to scream. I pray when I don't think I can do it. It's hard, but I have to do it. I pray for the people who are making my life miserable, because I don't know what else to do, and the Savior told us to pray for those people. I think it helps. But even the Spirit can only go so far in some cases.
I thought I had learned this lesson before now, when I was in a similar situation feeling just as lost and confused. I thought, "Hey, at least I won't have to do that again." I can see now that was to prepare me for this time. This place. These people. This is the real test. At least I hope it is. If it gets any worse than this in the future, God and I are going to have to have a serious talk.
I want to quit. Every day that thought pops into my head. "You don't have to do this. You can go home where there are people who love you. There's a job there you can go back to. You don't even want to do this. Go home. Give up." And never has any temptation been so enticing to me. Would anybody blame me for quitting? No, they've told me as much.
But will I quit? NO.
I may not know why the Lord sent me here and put me in this situation with these people and this place, but I KNOW THAT HE DID. I may be mostly alone here, fighting for my life, so to speak, and without any idea of how far I've come or what I'm doing right, but none of this matters. What matters is getting through it, even if it's by the skin of my teeth, and not letting go of what I know to be true. Nothing will shake my testimony of the Savior and His Atonement. Nothing will make me break the covenants that I have made. Nothing will take away the fact that I have been sealed to my family for eternity. Nothing will actually break me. I may crawl home at the end of the day, I may break down in tears on the phone with my mom because I want to go home, I may feel so hurt that my chest actually aches, I may wonder why in the world do I have to do this (and more terrifying, what could this possibly be preparing me for?), and I may have to talk myself out of bed every morning only to roll on the floor to my knees and pray for the strength to go further, but I will not be broken by this.
Others have gone through worse things, and no trial lasts forever. The scriptures always say "And it came to pass" not "And it came to stay."
So when I feel like my best will never be good enough, when one more day becomes too much, when I am tempted by the thought of giving up, I will remember my Savior, who knows exactly who I am and what I am going through, who has felt everything I am feeling, who endured far worse with far less complaint, who has never left my side and never will, who picks me up at the end of the day and brushes me off and says "Good job, you did it!" He is all the strength that I need.
If that is all I need to learn, that truly relying on Him is the only way, then I say BRING IT ON.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a very dim light and a very long tunnel, but it is there. One step at a time, I'm getting there. Hands and knees some days, but I'm getting there. I am being built for something, and I want to give the Lord the best version of me that I can. He deserves the very best.
I am so grateful for my friends and family that remind me every day that this isn't it, that I am more than this, who make me laugh and tell me it'll all work out and say all sorts of sweet things to make me feel better. You make the day brighter, and I love you for it.
I will make it. We will all make it. We may have bumps and bruises and scrapes and scars when we're done, but everybody knows that bumps and bruises and scrapes and scars come with the best stories. So in a future day when we're all around the camp fire with s'mores telling our stories, I go first. Pass the chocolate.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Time to discus something that is super personal and drives me crazy and my parents crazy and no doubt my friends crazy, but it is something that I have been dealing with for some time now. It doesn't seem like a big deal, when you look at it, but it can be. And for me it has been.
This big, ginormous, annoying elephant in the room is worry.
Seems like no big deal, right? We worry, we're human. Parents worry about their children. Kids worry about getting in trouble. Students worry about passing exams or classes. Girls worry about impressing boys. Boys worry about impressing girls. Worry is a part of our lives.
Worry can take over our lives.
I don't believe I'm alone in this, but I have had moments where worry has been so intense that it has taken control of my mind. I become anxious and panicked and cannot think straight. Perspective goes out of the window. All I can think about is my worry. What if. Those are the scariest words for a worrier.
I do a decent job of pretending to be tough and trying to keep a good perspective, but worry eats away at you and sits on your chest until you can hardly breathe. It makes you think the Spirit is telling you something is wrong, even though you know in your head that you're fine. It can make you think you're having a heart attack. It can make you want to vomit. It can take the feeling away from your knees. You can feel completely paralyzed and paranoid because you feel like the floor is going to fall out from under you.
People can tell you that none of this matters, that you're fine, that life is not about this, and all of that is true. But you can't hear that when you are worrying. Because for this moment, this IS your life. For where you are and what you are doing, this is important. Will it determine the course of your life? Probably not. Will it take away from who you are? Probably not. Do you lose anything because of it? Not really. But you worry as if all of eternity is resting on this one thing.
I don't have any secrets on how to fight this. Every person is different. All I know is it's not healthy, it's not right, and you cannot live like this. So for me, I just pray, take a deep breath, and go through my life one day at a time. Someday, maybe I'll figure this all out and have secrets to help others. But for now, I've got today. And it's a beautiful day to be alive.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Year

A new year. It always seems like that should mean something to me. Every year since I was a teenager, I have pretended that a new year means that I will set new goals and become a new person. That works for a lot of people, I know, and I respect that. But ever since I was that ornery teenager, all of my goals and resolutions have been the same, and they tend to fall away before Valentine's Day.
I don't know if any of you know this about me, but I have very little self-motivation. If it is left up to me to get myself to do something, it will wait until the absolute last minute if it is a necessary thing, or it will not get done at all if it is not necessary. I am also prone to sporadic spurts of energy or devotion or fascination, which inevitably become old and fade away. This makes my rare moments of self-motivation success fade just as much as the rest of them, since they, too, become old.
For example, take my devotion only a few years ago to becoming fit and healthy and toned and thin. I worked out five days a week at a gym and did core workouts at home every night. I was dedicated for a few months and there was nothing that would stop me from my goals. Then it got cold in the mornings. It became too easy to stay in my warm bed and just do my workouts at home. Then I swapped my pushups for being propped up on pillows with a book in my hands. And thus was the end of my fitness fad.
Anyway, that's how I am. My resolutions have been the same for years. Delve more deeply into the Gospel. Be a better visiting teacher. Pray with more feeling. Be physically healthy and more active. Be positive about life and love. Etc etc etc.
Last year I decided to try something different. I knew it would be a big year, one in which many things about my life would change, and I was nervous. So instead of resolutions, I opted for a theme. After much deliberation, I chose this one: Have hope. No fear.
I wrote it at the end of my [very] occasional journal entries and it became my mantra. When I had a rough time for one reason or another, I repeated my mantra. It helped a lot more than my random resolutions ever had.
So. This year I will also have a theme, because this year, I will need extra help. My life is HARD right now. A lot harder than I ever thoguht it would be. I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I tossed around a few ideas of what could help me. Nothing has seemed right, for one reason or another. But right around the new year, two new phrases popped into my head, mostly because they are on a ring my friend gave me years ago, which I wear every day, so I see these words often. But after reading my "Daily Message" from yesterday, I am decided. The message was President Uchtdorf's talk from last General Conference called "Of Regrets and Resolutions", and this was the quote that struck me today:
"Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it."
I needed to hear that, and I need to remember it. My life is not exactly what I want it to be right now, but it is not in my hands. It is in the Lord's hands, and He is the one who will get me where I need to be. I need to be happy regardless of my situation and have faith that all will be well.
My theme is similar to last year's, but has one distinct difference: Be Brave. Love Life.
I need to be brave in the Gospel and in my faith in the Lord. I need to love the life that He has given me and remember what a blessing it is to even be here.
So, for the year of 2013, I will be brave and I will love life.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fifteen and Twenty-eight

Today is fifteen years. I met my youngest brother fifteen years ago this morning. Probably right around this time, actually, I can’t remember that. He was born late the night before, and we went to visit him in the NICU as soon as we could. I remember thinking that he didn't look sick, though I knew he was. I knew he probably was not going to live very long, but my twelve year old brain didn't really comprehend what that meant. After all, I had a big brother that I had never met and I knew he was dead, but I’m sorry to say, that never really meant that much. I didn't know him, I had never seen him, and aside from a few pictures at our house I saw on occasion, I never really thought about him that much. Except that I wanted to meet him someday. When we found out that Andrew had the same disease, I thought about Timmy more. But it had been thirteen years since he had died, and medicine was constantly evolving, so I knew it would be different this time.
I would never have expected that meeting one small baby boy would change my life so profoundly.
He didn't look sick, and if you ignored the wires and tubes hooked up to him, all you would notice was that he already had a belly, which I thought was really cute. He had big eyes, like my sister, and he had dark hair like me. To a twelve year old, a baby is a baby, and they’re all pretty cute, but I immediately felt that he was different. This was my brother. I knew it and I felt it, and he was just as much my brother as Chris was. I remember wondering to myself if Timmy was there with us, looking out for his little brother, wanting to be with him just as much as the rest of us did. That is the first time I can remember feeling that there was someone else in the room with us, someone that we couldn't see.
I talked to Andrew a little, not much, because there were nurses around and Mom and Chris were with me and I didn't want to look like an idiot talking to a baby. I wish I hadn't felt that way. I wish… Well, I wish a lot of things. But I remember telling the little guy that I loved him and that I would come back to see him soon.
I would not see him again. Not in this life.
That hurt. I promised my brother I would see him soon, and I couldn't keep that promise. I take being an older sister very seriously, and I felt like I had failed my littlest sibling.
The second time I remember feeling that someone else was with us was at the funeral. I had spent days trying my best to be brave, all the while feeling sick inside. I had seen my parents handle this second tragedy with remarkable grace, poise, and faith. I remembered wondering how they could do that. They had to be hurting like I was, even more, because he was their son, their little baby. This wasn't something you got use to and going through it again didn't seem fair. I didn't feel like I could complain or tell anyone what I was feeling because they didn't. If they weren't going to scream and yell and ask why, then neither would I. But I wanted to.
I stood a little ways from whoever I was standing beside when my father said the prayer at the cemetery. I felt numb, cold inside. And then I felt as if a warm hand was resting on my shoulder. I cried and I smiled and I kept my eyes closed, because even at twelve years old I knew that my brother was there for me. Which brother, I don’t know, and that doesn't matter. He was there, and I felt at peace. I still hurt, because, obviously, I would much rather have all of my brothers in one place. But I no longer felt pain. Sadness, but no pain.
I never realized until that moment that death is not an ending. It is a transfer. Instead of having three brothers here, before my eyes, I have one brother here and two elsewhere. My little brother had a different course to follow than I did, and my big brother was already on that course. They were still my brothers, and would always be my brothers. They would be there for me just as surely as Chris always has been. I remembered hoping I would feel them again somehow, somewhere.
Meeting Andrew in the flesh was a life changing. Seeing him, touching him, talking to him, and then that sweet experience at the funeral. It changed my perspective of life and families, even at twelve. And it made me develop a relationship with Timmy as well. I think about him more as I get older, and I like it. I wish I could tell you their personalities, but I can’t. But I have a feeling they know all of our private jokes, and they find them just as hilarious as we do. Come on, we’re Connollys. We all have the same crazy sense of humor.
I know they've been around for important events in our lives. They are my brothers, why would they miss out on things here just because they don’t live with us? I know they were at Jenny’s wedding. I know that because I felt that my whole family was there for that moment in time. I know that they will be here at other times, and I know that sometimes they are here and checking in on us.
Sometimes we talk about them. Not always, but sometimes. One time in particular was hilarious. My sister was making a sweet gift for our aunt that involved all of the names of the family, and we had counted up the names, and there was still one missing that we couldn't figure out. Then she suddenly shouted “Andrew!” There was a moment of silence, and then she muttered, “Little brat probably did that on purpose.” I don’t think we've laughed that hard in a long time. Because a little brother would do something like that to his big sister. A Connolly certainly would. And Andrew is our little brother, and he is most certainly a Connolly.
It’s okay to talk about them. It’s okay that sometimes I won’t want to. It’s okay to tell someone that I only have one brother, because saying I have three requires a longer conversation that is too personal. It’s okay that I still cry during the four days on the calendar that they were here, and random other days. It’s okay to miss them.
Fifteen years is a long time. Twenty eight years is a long time. But it’s not forever. It’s just for now. Timmy and Andrew are not lost and gone. I haven't broken my promise to Andrew. I will see him soon, in the grand scheme of things. I haven’t lost two brothers. I still have them. I have three brothers and I always will have three brothers. I miss all of my brothers, and I miss both of my sisters. Some are farther away than others, and for a longer time, but it will just make the reunion that much better. Connolly reunions are always loud and crazy and full of laughs and hugs. Imagine the stories we’ll have to share then.
And on that best of all days, I will look at the two of us that have been gone the longest and say “We knew you were there.”