Dear Janelle

Dear Janelle, 

I don’t know where to begin… the last five years you have taken me on a journey to places I didn’t even know existed within my potential. After receiving the news in the hospital that your time was near, you looked back at me so stoically and said, “you will be okay.” I took these words as an affirmation that I would be okay and have held onto these words for dear life ever since. 

While reading your eulogy, I put out to the world that I wanted to become an oncology nurse. I realized my irrational fear of blood and needles could never amount to any level of pain you endured so brave and boldly. From here, I changed my major and hopped on a plane to Australia the following semester. Instead of facing grief head on, I attempted to run as far away as possible… After three plane rides and 11,614 miles around a 24,901-mile-wide planet… I’d like to think I did a pretty good job. Although, a few years later I would eventually learn that you can always run, but you can’t hide. While abroad, I discovered my love for travel, the beauty of human connection, and met many of my lifelong friends. Upon return, the world shut down and we faced a global pandemic. The world came to a screeching halt and suddenly, my long legs could no longer run. At only 23 years old, I felt like life had burnt me out. However, you were the light, the force, and my inspiration that kept me going. I was slowly able to regain traction and finish out nursing school. I am now an oncology nurse at MGH caring for patients just like you. You are the link between me and every patient I care for. It’s the full circle moments that keep me going. Despite feeling lost in this world, you’ve helped me find my purpose; proving true that every cloud has a silver lining. This past fall, I booked a one-way flight to Costa Rica and completed my 200 hr yoga YTT… one of your many goals that felt aligned with mine. I remember you used to try and correct my form during yoga class, and I would actually get so mad at you (it’s what some might call sisterly love). Of course, I would do anything to have you critique my form once more, but I know you continue to flow through each yoga pose with me no different than how you’re flowing through life with me… maybe even critiquing some of my decisions from up above. Life has been filled with so much change, all of which only becomes inevitable with time. We even sold our childhood home. The timing finally felt right and so we packed up our belongings, ready for a new chapter. Walking through the empty rooms created waves of nostalgia, as memories of us played back in my head like a vintage film. Saying goodbye to a house filled with 20 years of memories with you was not easy, but 11 Algonquin was never home sweet home again without you. 

I’m no longer the homebody you might remember me as. Since you last saw me, I’ve traveled to 10 different countries and many new places within the U.S.. On the other hand, some things never change. I still hangout with all of your friends and your best friend Kenna has become my saving grace. Together, Kenna and I have traveled the world, carrying on your legacy with us wherever we go. Each trip is unique in its own way, but our most recent trip in Portugal was extra special. I still follow Zaya who did your lavender tattoo in London on Instagram and she made a post that she would be in Portugal around the same time I had plans to visit Kenna there. To me it is no coincidence that we both just so happened to cross paths IN Portugal. I know I’m probably the last person who you think would get a tattoo, but to me it was a sign. Do you remember that postcard you sent to me from Amsterdam? I now have your words tattooed on me to honor the love and bond we shared. Who would have known this 4×6 postcard would one day become my most valued and protected item. It’s proof that at the end of the day, love and human connection is all that matters – just like your favorite Rupi poem says. I wish we could celebrate these moments and exciting changes together, but your words on my arm are the perfect reminder that you’re already here with me. Our souls are eternally intertwined and for that, I am thankful. Thank you for leading me down a path of greater knowledge, once in a lifetime opportunities and one that I never could have imagined. I didn’t believe you when you first said it five years ago, but I guess I’m doing okay… I hope you’re doing okay too 🙂 

Love always, 


3 thoughts on “Dear Janelle

  1. dearest Holly- tears streak, my broken heart deeply touched. You are an amazing woman and gift to this world. I sit in an airport about to fly to visit my baby brother for his 65 birthday. He has stage 4, metatastis (sp) inoperable cancer throughout his body. Your
    beautiful letter reminded me though this is probably my brother’s last birthday celebration with me, I am blessed to have him to share it with. Thank your for your undying devotion to our beloved Janelle and for remaining in my life. You bless me.
    Shalom with love always,


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