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She would’ve been 35 today.

She would’ve been 35 today. 🦋 And, I realized last night that in 365 days, she would’ve been 36. And she will have been gone for longer than she was here...

Grief is often mean and tricky, and if it had a playbook this page would’ve been completely ripped out. It’s not entirely a moment you see coming, not a moment most encounter — but still — I heard her voice win out.

Still. I know how proud she is of the life we created — for all we accomplished and how hard we fight daily. She is our fiery side — and deep within our souls, she lives. Even if you never met her, you know her — because you know us.

Dynamic and, oh yes — as all Shimanskys are, she was fiercely stubborn — she was a Leo. A warrior. Brave.

You always knew how she felt, and when she felt it...she hid nothing. She never let you question who she was. And she almost always knew how to get out of trouble — rules were just guidelines, after all.

She lit up a room, would draw you out of your shell, and she had the best fucking laugh. Also, she cursed like a sailor — something I never really dared to do until she was gone and I realized...well, rules really were just guidelines.

And felt like there were no more rules anymore.

She protected me — the quiet, sensitive, older Taurus that always took far too long to rile up — thinking back on our juxtaposition, I smile.

She would roar before I could charge.

But, mostly, we protected each other — because that’s what sisters do. Me, carefully reminding her about rules, as she would find new ways to do her own thing anyway.

The quintessential middle child. Except, she was impossible to ignore.

She did everything in her 18 years full force...and I think that’s the biggest element of her legacy she’s left to us — her passion, her drive, her “take shit from no one” — I know it’s what’s made me who I am today...

Going through photos and seeing the ones I selected for today, again — I smile. Those photos are from the only two other times in life when I had short hair — at age 9 and 18. (Also, long live the waist bag. 🤣)

I know she's proud.

I have no idea how we’ve lived so long without her — except to tell you, she’s never left. She lives on in each of us. Happy 35th, little sister.

Last year, I promised to do something with these words (and memories).

“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”

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