Dear Eli,

I totally don’t know what to call it. Death day? Death Anniversary? We were calling it your graduation, since you graduated from this life, but graduation anniversary doesn’t seem right, either. So, when it comes up, we just call it the 17th. [One cousin who read this post uses “angelversary”, which is a good option].

We’ve come full circle. This week, a year ago, we said our earthly goodbyes. One year down, and many more to go, until we are reunited with you as a forever family.

We spent the last two days at the Dragonsteel Convention. You may remember that I bought tickets for the convention last year, but it ended up being the week after you died, so we didn’t make it. I bought the tickets knowing you probably wouldn’t be up for going, or not even alive, but after having expected your death, just to have it postponed so many times, I decided it would be better to just plan for your life.

So that became the rhythm for the final months, to make plans for life and adapt them for the ever changing circumstances. I remember that last Monday. It was the day I set out to help you to let go and transition to the next life. You were so frail and in pain, but you were still awake all day, every day, sleeping only at night. The first time I thought you were nearing the end, you had slept more and more, until you hardly woke at all, so, when you just didn’t do that again, when it was time, I felt like something held you back from that final transition.

That last Monday, you, Dad, and I talked together about your concerns. You had things you hadn’t finished and we tried to help you to accept that it was okay if you didn’t get them finished. I remember telling you that it was good that you still had things you wanted to do and that leaving when you hadn’t done them all meant you had lived a full life. I try and remind myself of that when I remember something you and I meant to do, but never did. For example, I never did get you to Evermore, like we talked about.

Well, this year we managed to make it to the convention. I expect you joined us there, from time to time. I really could have used your help when Noah got me to play Magic the Gathering in the game room with him. I admit that was one of the more difficult things about being there without you. You were the one who taught me how to play when we were in Houston for the clinical trial. I don’t think I played that game with anyone else, so it was emotionally difficult to play it again.

Noah won both times, of course. I hardly remembered how to play, but I came close to beating him the second game.

We also did a couple scavenger hunts they had going on. First we had to find clues to figure out who stole Wayne’s hat (Mistborn reference), then we had to find clues as to where the hat was. All the clues were QR codes attached to the underside of little hats scattered about the convention center.

By afternoon of the second day, Dad and I only needed Location Clue #10 to solve the last puzzle. Dad had even found a computer hack of sorts to find most of the second set of clues, but we were still missing clue 10. We went back to the scavenger hunt creator, again, to get more hints and, ultimately, we found the clue and solved the puzzle. Dad also told the scavenger hunt creator how to prevent others from hacking the clues like we had. It was fun.

At the end of the eveningat the end of the convention, after the book release main event was over, we did some last minute browsing of the vendor floor. I was stopped by the scavenger hunt creator and he gave me one of the clue hats to keep as a souvenir. I was so happy.

After I walked away and showed Dad the hat, I realized it was the last one we had been stuck on. Well played.😊

Tomorrow we light Christmas lights in your honor.🎄🎗❤

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