Happy Birthday Rachael. Used to be the first words out of my mouth as soon as I saw her. She would be 32 today, the same age as I am. I never got to say goodbye. That’s what hurts the most. I was on deployment when she suddenly left the world, not able to make it back in time for the funeral. This happened two times to me, both deployments I lost someone close to me and couldn’t make it back either time. It sucks. I think I saw her the Christmas before she passed, I can’t remember exactly because it was years ago but in my head I saw her, happy and healthy, and was able to say Happy Birthday to her one last time. I just didn’t know that it would be the last time I would ever be able to say it to her. She was my best friend growing up, always having sleepovers at each others houses…..those continued on to even when we were adults, she had her own place and I would go stay the night at her place. We were close, so not being able to say goodbye bothers me to this day. We had nicknames for each other, I was Paco and she was Pablo, how we came up with them I have no idea but I will never forget them. Every Christmas morning I still wake up and say it, quietly to myself, I know she is watching down over me and hears me say it. One day I will be able to say it to her again, when my time has come and I go visit the big guy upstairs. Until then, I know my Grandma and other family members got to say Happy Birthday Rachael. I love you cuz and I think of you often. I hope I am making you proud and living life the best I can for both of us.