Dear Kirstee (my beloved sister),
Not a day goes by where I do not think about you. I wish every day that you were still here in flesh and bone, but everyone’s memories still carry you along through life. You left a lasting impact on every person you encountered, including me. You have saved my life a countless number of times and I know you are always keeping an eye out for me. During my time in residential, you were right by my side helping me get through every step, always keeping me safe. My time in residentials and hospitals has been the hardest time in my life since losing you and I do not think I could have gotten through it without you. Although you were only here for four years of my life, you have taught me so many things that have made me into the person I am today.
First, you taught me to never give up. I struggled with this for a while because I didn’t think there was a point in living without you, but I now know that it is my responsibility to live for you. You did not get the chance to continue your life, but I do and that is a blessing. Additionally, you taught me to live my life to the fullest. You only had twelve years on this planet, yet you lived every day like it was your last. In your time here, you impacted people in a way you could never imagine. Your smile has stayed in people’s hearts. For many people, including me, you are the reason to keep living and fighting on. I hope in my lifetime I am able to make you proud and achieve my goals for you. Finally, you taught me to be myself. Life is too short to be somebody else. For so long I hated who I was, but then I thought, “Kirstee loves me no matter who I am”, so I finally became me. I am your brother, who is not ashamed of himself or the struggles he has been through. I work to better myself every day, so I can hopefully become half as great of a person as you are. When I came out as a transgender male, I worried that I would be betraying you in some way and that you wouldn’t remember me the same. But I am the same person now as I was when you were alive, so there is not a doubt in my mind that you accept me and love me for who I am. I think you have watched me grow and develop into the proud man I am today. I decided to keep my name, Kassidy, because my name connects me to the past that I have with you. I do not want to lose anything that ties me to my times with you. Those are just three of many lessons you have taught me in my lifetime.
Sometimes it can be hard to think of you because I just get overwhelmed with sorrow and grief, but I am really working to change my mindset to be a little more positive. Yes, you are not physically here with me anymore, but I believe you are still with me, reading this letter as I write it. Also, as sad as I am that you are not here, I am okay, our family is okay, and life is okay. If you were alive, there might have been a different chain reaction of events and I may not be where I am right now, and I am becoming happier and more comfortable with where I am now. I used to get mad at God for taking you away so soon, but I have to say, he chose a wonderful angel to be by his side. I used to question why he would take such a kind and beautiful child away so soon, but I think he just needed you for things in Heaven. I am not mad anymore, although sometimes I still get pretty sad. What I struggle with most is that it is hard to remember you. I was only four when you passed away, so the memories I have are second hand and I wish so badly that I had a memory of you that came from me. I want to know everything about you and your twelve years of life, but it is hard for people to talk about you because they get so sad, so I don’t know as much as I wish. The pictures of us together bring me so much joy because you were always holding me so closely and I still feel that connection with you now. I think I get most happy when I am looking at pictures of us. I could probably write to you forever and about everything, but I will end with this: I love you more than anything Kirstee Lee Pemberton and not a day goes by where I do not think of you.