This is a letter I wrote in honor of Sarah’s 16th birthday that I wanted to share with you guys in memory of her today.

Hey Sarah Rose!

Happy birthday, sweet girl! Ahh I cannot believe you are 16! You are the most beautiful, compassionate, intentional, and genuine person I have ever met. It is a pleasure to know you, grow with you, and be a light in your life.

Life has been quite challenging since you went to be with Jesus. To be honest, it has been the hardest seven months of my life. However, despite the sadness and grief that has loomed over my life, there have been so many bright moments that remind me of the joy of knowing Jesus. Being able to spend time with your family and friends has been so amazing. They are all so sweet. We still see your impact everywhere we look. People still post beautiful sunset pictures that remind them of you. Gracie and I still talk about you when we miss you. “Hey Friend” is still going strong, in memory of you. I remember you told me when I came to see you at Riley that you wanted to fulfill God’s plan for your life and make an impact for Him, and you’re still getting to do that!

There have been so many exciting things happening lately! We had a massive competition for all the teachers at the school (the Hauser Games), and they really enjoyed it. I know you would have loved seeing Mrs. Tom and Mrs. Dickerson shooting each other with nerf guns, and Miss Dressler hyping her team up because they won. Also, some of our favorite Christian bands have released new albums, and they are SO GOOD. Your mom’s blog is absolutely amazing (Grace In Grieving), and I love being able to spend time with her, Libby, and your dad. They are so sweet to me and always make me feel right at home. Also, I got a scholarship to pay for college. Even though I’m not going to Ball State, I am really excited to stay close to home to be able to spend time with my friends, family, and work on the podcast.

Anyway, I guess this is really why I wrote this letter: I miss you. I miss your tight embraces, your silly text messages, and your sweet Snapchats throughout the day. I miss waking up to cancer updates, even if they weren’t always the greatest. I wish you were celebrating another birthday here with us. However, your mom is constantly reminding me that you are always here with me, even when I feel alone. I miss sharing stories about my love life, senior year stress, and new songs with you. I miss you commenting on my Instagram posts and being able to exchange wisdom with you on the really hard days. I miss you asking me to bring you Chick-Fil-A, even though we both knew you would get it the next time you had to go to Indy for tests, chemo, or radiation. More than anything, I just miss your presence and knowing that I could reach out when I needed to, that there were no restrictions on when I could text or call you.

Regardless of how I feel, here is what I know for sure in my heart, more than anything: You are in a better place. I would never take that away from you, no matter how many more years I got with you in exchange. I know that you are whole. You are shining oh so brightly with the joy of being in the presence of Jesus. You’re singing praises to Him and you are surrounded by believers who have gone before you, and that is all I could want for you.

It hurts every day because you aren’t here, but I am so thankful that you don’t have any pain anymore. That gives me hope. I love and miss you more than you’ll ever know, Sarah. Thank you for being my best friend.

Cheers to an eternity of cancer-free birthdays,