Losing a loved one is never easy. Those we love forever live on in our hearts, but each day that passes without them is hard no matter how long they have been gone.

It has now been almost 16 years since my Dad he passed away, although it still feels like it wasn’t that long ago. The day that my mom told us all what had happened is forever etched in my mind.

Today, it has been exactly three years since my step brother passed away. Three years… I still can’t believe it.

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Loved Ones Who Have Passed Away

My dad died from colon cancer when I was around 10-years-old. It all happened really quickly to me at that young age and for all of my siblings it was extremely hard. I always want to try to remember my dad for the amazing man that he was and all of the wonderful lessons I learned from being his daughter. I try to take the hardest of days to remember the happiest of memories and to do all that I can to celebrate the fact that I was born into this born with two loving parents, one being my amazing dad.

Three years ago, my step brother was killed at a young age in a tragic car accident. Exactly a week after our wedding day, I still remember the phone call from my mom like it was yesterday. It has been hard for our family, especially my step dad. But, he was such an amazing and special guy that it’s easy for me to think about him and smile.

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Since my father’s passing, we all take this day to celebrate his life and to remember him. No matter where any of us are, we get white balloons and write messages on them for him, then we let them go outside. We have always just known that they make it all the way to heaven for him to read:) All of my siblings even did it on my wedding day. balloons for dad

My family has done this every single year without fail. Now, we include our own children and extended family in it. My husband and my daughter’s write their own messages to him and although they never actually met him, I think it connects us all in a way that cannot be described in words.baloons for dad

We also do it now for my brother who passed away three years ago, in his memory. It’s truly beautiful.

Loved Ones Who Have Passed Away

I also can’t help but think about this fact as I am writing this. This date will never change, it has and always will be one of the most important dates in my life. But, I really feel like God has a reason for making this the day that my twins will made their way into the world. For some reason, June 23rd that usually surrounds my family in a lot of tough emotions will also be one of the happiest.

It gives me a lot of strength going into the delivery of these babies to know that I have my dad watching over them and watching over me.

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And my wedding anniversary, while a happy memory, is always followed by the memory of my brother’s passing. But, something that I know about the man that he was is that he tried hard to help the marriages of those around him, and he loved seeing people thrive in their love and their relationships with the Lord.

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The passing of a loved one, especially one so close to you, is never easy. Taking the time to remember them and share those memories with the loved ones that are still here with you makes all of the difference in the world when it comes to healing.

While I still feel sadness about my dad and the fact that he wasn’t there to walk me down the aisle, or see his grandchildren, or just see all of his own children as adults, I feel so loved and lucky to have had him for a father for the amount of time that I did.

*Here’s to all of the loved ones who are no longer with us*

joanna at motherhood and merlot