Four years ago today my sister passed away. March 15, 2008 will forever be ingrained in my head as the worst day of my life. There is not a single day goes by that she does not pop up in my mind at least once. I see her in the face of her beautiful daughter and I am so grateful for the little piece of Brittany that was left behind. It's funny because I thought I was coping, and I thought I was doing better. I am. Doing better, that is. But it still hurts. And I can see the pain it has inflicted on my parents to lose a child. In the process of losing one child, however, they gained another with Gigi.
I look back on what has happened since then. Who I have become since that fateful day. I am a stronger person both physically and emotionally. I feel as though I have seen a glimmer of what hell is like, but I have been rising above it. I stand today as a testament that I have made it through. There will always be tough days. I miss my sister a lot. She was my ally in several ways I can't even begin to express. Funny that I did not realize that until she was gone.
A friend of mine told me today that she knew Brittany was proud of me. Not only did my friend have a feeling about it, but she felt as though someone had whispered it to her. My friend knew that my sister was proud of me and my choices and she loves me. That, above all today, has been the greatest gift ever. I know Brittany is watching over us and I consider her my guardian angel. I can feel her presence sometimes when I'm with Gigi or when I'm distraught or lonely. I know she's there reaching out for me to lift me up.
I know for a fact that Brittany is especially proud of my decision to join the Navy. She always admired the people in the armed forces, and it was she who really understood the power and the beauty of serving your country. I have only just begun to see it. So it is for her that I will go to basic in August. It is for her that I will serve my country. It is for her that I will become a United States Sailor with honor, courage, and commitment.
Jake Taylor graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He is the author of The Tales of the Unluckiest Lucky Girl series. He is also an avid reader, traveler, movie-watcher, and music lover. He currently serves in the US Navy and is stationed in San Diego, CA.