17 years later... / by Chel Wolverton

And the pain is gone, the pain is gone.
I recognize it but it's unfamiliar.
Now the pain is gone, the pain is gone.
I recognize it but it's unfamiliar.

I don't usually bring up this day often anymore, but I am this year as it's a terribly symbolic anniversary to my family. 17 years my little brother existed in this world in tangible form, now for 17 years he's only existed in memories.

While to be sure, my parents lost something far greater than I - my brother Zach and I felt our worlds shatter on that day, too. Zach because he had to face death with his gentle heart at a young age and I because lost the "friend I was forced to have", the person who shared every part of my childhood. When I think of that day, I hear whispers of lost chances.

I learned some valuable lessons from that terrible time that have been behind in a lot of my choices this past year. At the heart of it, over years I've evolved into being a stronger, smarter, confident, and bolder Chel. In this last year, that force has become even stronger.

Two lessons I will impart for you from my own experiences in hopes that you may find them as valuable as I have: 1. Always say what you're thinking to people you love, even and especially when it's hard. 2. Make bolder choices because you have a single life. Every word I say is true. Every path I choose is a little more of me. You can make those choices, too.

It's one way I can honor a memory still haunting me 17 years later.

I still miss you, little one.

Source: http://literallychel.com/blog/2015/12/2/17...