Dear Mariah,

Hi, how’s it going? How’s heaven? I hope it’s good. I really miss you. You were my best friend. I’ll never forget you. We were pretty much sisters. We did everything together. We went to movies, played Game Cube and old school Nintendo, we had water fights, stayed out until midnight just laughing and talking about life. You were always a funny one. No matter what, we were always laughing at something, no matter how stupid or dumb it was.

You always made me laugh, always. We have so many memories together — like Disney World, going to Las Vegas, and Flathead Lake.

Oh, wow, Flathead Lake. Tubing on the boat was the best part, even though we didn’t get to tube much the second time. The big Mabel was the best thing ever! We loved to ride on it! We went out on the tube so many times during the summer. We loved it so much! Just thinking about it makes me laugh out loud. Riding over the huge waves and screaming our heads off where no one could hear what we were screaming. That was the best part. Swimming in the lakes and jumping off the side of the boat was always fun too. You would make fun of me because my goggles always looked stupid. I couldn’t help it! I have contacts! We even took it out on Long Lake by my house. Remember when we were riding the tube and it started to sink? Ha-ha, you jumped off and screamed “Abort, Abort! She’s going down!” Then we pretended to be the Captain and the First Mate on the tube. I don’t know where we got the name “Scotty,” but that’s who I was. “Dang it, Scotty!”

I’m going to miss your voice. Just hearing you talk made me happy and made me smile. Your laugh made me laugh and my laugh made you laugh, so we’d just be sitting there laughing nonstop. You would always say my name really funny too. You would just see me and scream “Bear!” your voice got high and your jaw slid to the left, your eyes opened wide. Then we’d always make that one weird face, I can’t even explain what it looks like! No one else could make the face funny except for you and me. I’m going to miss making that face. I don’t know if I can ever make it again.

Whenever I watch Disney movies, of course, I’m going to think of you. Our favorite movies were the Lion King and the Little Mermaid. You always said I looked like Ariel, but I always wanted to be Pocahontas. We also liked to watch scary movies, but we would laugh at them the whole time. Like when we were in Harry Potter 4, and Voldemort was attacking Harry, we were laughing. Everyone was gasping and in shock, we were laughing at how Voldemort looked like a toad because he had no nose. I don’t think anyone cared that we were laughing so hard, but we tried to stay as quite as we could, without peeing our pants. “Jesse did it.” You would always blame everything on me when we were little because I was such a little trouble maker.

“Jesse did it.” That’s what you always said. I was a mean little brat sometimes when we were younger. “That’s mine!” I would scream, and you said that I would ‘attack’ you. I, personally, don’t remember that. Oh well. You remembered it pretty well. And you never let me forget it either. We grew up together, naturally curious and loving towards each other. We spend almost every waking moment together when my family came to Butte – 14 years, 14 great years. 14 years of your smile. 14 years of your laugh, 14 years of Mariah to remember, 14 years of memories. You were the funniest person I knew, you had a great heart. You were a people person; you liked to see people happy. You always made people happy. You made them smile, you made them laugh. I know that people are never going to forget you.

You had a lot of favorites. Your favorite number was 6. Your favorite colors were pink and green. Your favorite Disney movies were the Lion King and the Little Mermaid. Your favorite pops (whenever I called it soda, you would always get mad, so I called it pop just for you) were Slice, Mug Root beer, anything that was related to orange pop, really. You would show me how your tongue would turn bright orange after we drank a few cans of Slice. Your favorite stuffed animal was Po. Ah, Po. I remember the very day we went into Toys R Us and you go Po. We were about 6 years old, and you say her on the bottom shelf. You ran over, picked her up and we proceeded to check out. You had a hard time choosing between things. You would usually have 2 different toys in your hand, and couldn’t decide which one to get. You sometimes got both toys, and I just laughed remembering this. Then we would always sneak snacks into the secret room, or into the basement. Your favorite restaurant in Spokane was Tomato Street by Toys R Us. I remember when we started a little riot to make our parents take us all to Tomato Street. We made signs and everything, but they never took us that one day, did they? We had to go to Toys R Us whenever we went to Tomato Street. It was always a ‘tradition.’ You were really into traditions, and doing everything the right way, or the old way. The way we all used to do it. We had a lot of traditions. Going to the 4th of July Parade was always a tradition. Eating Thanksgiving dinner at Grammie’s was always a tradition. Spending New Years Eve at your house was always a tradition. You didn’t like change that much; you preferred to keep everything the same way. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Speaking of the secret room, we spent a lot of time down there, didn’t we? We were always hiding from Nicole, although the would always find us down there. All the little animals were fun to play with too. You loved all the little things. You loved little stuffed animals, little toys and trinkets. You always loved angels and anything to do with good luck and Irish stuff. I remember the numerous times when we made Nicole run upstairs to get us pop and food. We usually got Cheez-its or something. We really liked Cheez-its. The secret room was so cramped; you and I could barely fit in there. I was always the one stuck in the tiny corner in the way back where I could barely fit and you got the big space closest to the door. We had a secret code to get in. We would knock 3 times on the first landing above the secret room so we knew when the other was coming. You loved that secret room so much. You always hid the key in a new spot every time, and I could never ever find it. And I don’t think I ever will. Saying goodbye is the hardest part. You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you. You are still my best friend. I know you’re watching over me as I write this. I know you’re going to be watching me in school, when I’m at home, and curing the holidays. I know that you’re always going to be there, watching. I’ll never forget you, never. You always wanted to be an angel. You loved angels so much. You loved a lot of things. You loved drawing, reading and writing. You absolutely adored mice and dogs. You loved your friends; you talked about them so much. You loved me, and I loved you back. As much as I hate saying goodbye, I don’t have much of a choice. It’s not really going to be a ‘goodbye’ it’s more of a ‘goodbye until I see you again in heaven’ kind of thing. Wait for me, Mariah. See you in heaven.

Your Little Bear, Jessica