Dear Steve,

Wow it has been a long time since I have written you a letter. So much has happened in my life since you’ve been gone. Sometimes it seems like you have been gone a lifetime and sometimes it seems like you just died yesterday. The memories of you dying are still very vivid and real in my mind but the time we spent together seems so far away. It’s hard to think about all the good things you missed out on. When you were alive I was a teenager and having my parents around was not my favorite thing.

Now that I am 38 and not 19 I can truly appreciate the love you had for me and I wish you could see how good my life turned out. It seems like you got the short end of the stick only being here for the hard part of growing up and never getting to experience the joy of knowing me as an adult. You dying really took a toll on everyone you left behind and we all struggled so much just to get through the day. The days kept on coming and they turned into hard years but finally somehow they did seem to get better.

There are 20 years filled with memories that you are not a part of and that you never got to see. Yes, some of those years were very hard and filled with heartbreak and sadness but some of those years were filled with joy, happiness, success and love. It took a long time for me to be okay. It took a long time for the pain and anger to work its way out of my life but it’s finally gone. I am not angry at you or mom or the world any more. I don’t hate myself for all the mistakes and hurt I caused so many people. I finally accepted my life and myself for who I am and now things are getting better.

My life is actually pretty good. I have a job where people like me. I am the Athletic Director at a K-8 school. I know it’s hard to believe I work at a school seeing how much I did not like school growing up. I am trying to make a difference in kids’ lives by being an adult they can trust and someone to look up to. I want kids to know they are not alone in the world. I want to be the teacher for them that I wish I had. It’s hard growing up and if I can help make it a little easier or make going to school not so bad. That’s what I try to do.

I have a husband who truly loves me and who is my best friend. I never thought I would meet someone who loves me for exactly who I am. My husband has never tried to change me or make me be someone I am not. He is in love with me as I am. We have our dogs that drive me crazy but that I can’t imagine my life without. I am happy. I know it seems like a small statement but it’s actually a really big one.

All I wanted my whole life was to be happy and I finally am. That is what makes it so hard that you are not here to see. You missed my wedding and it was the best day of my life. I wish I could get married every day because it was so amazing. Everything was perfect. The flowers, band, food, and our family had so much fun. Even Amanda was out on the dance floor.

You would be so proud of our family and for how we all turned out. You would be so proud of Makena. She is smart just like you. Even though you are not here I can see you in her. She has so many qualities that you had and she acts like you in so many ways even though she doesn’t remember you we all get to remember you through her.

I never got the chance to tell you that I love you because you died as I was walking in the room. Instead I just sat there and hated you for dying and leaving me without a dad. I don’t hate you anymore for dying. I can now see how much you loved me and how much you loved our family. I can see the good memories from when you were alive and all the things you taught me. I teach kids every day how to play basketball and how to shoot a free throw exactly how you taught me. You might not be here or get to see the impact you have made on my life but every kid I coach I get to pass on a little of you.

I love you and miss you,

Sara Lovstrom is the Athletic Director at Pardes. In this role, she teaches physical education to the lower school classes, serves as a middle school advisor, coaches the middle school after-school sports teams, and coordinates many special events throughout the school year. Coach Sara holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grand Canyon University and is also a certified Sports Life Coach. She has been a valued member of Pardes faculty for eight years and the Athletic Director since August 2017. When not at school, she can be found in the gym, hiking our beautiful mountains, and spending time with her family and dog Duke.