Dear Kelli

My friend Kelli Stapleton is in jail, and will be sentenced tomorrow, for a crime she committed a year ago. She could get anything from Time Served to Life In Prison.

I've put off writing her for an entire year, but I've never stopped thinking about her. Not one day passes that I don't miss her smile, her cheerleader posts, her passionate conviction that Issy COULD get better, and her generous spirit. 

My friend. My sister. My cheerleader. My inspiration. She has been all of these things to me, and more.

For the past two days I've been wearing a t-shirt that Kelli sent me two years ago. It's for a drive-in up in Northern Michigan, and I fell in love with it when I saw a pic of Issy wearing it. So Kelli sent me one as a surprise.
I love that shirt.
Dear Kelli,
For over two years, I made sure I subscribed to your facebook posts. I loved the back and forth banter between us. Whenever I think of you, I see you in that Hawaiian dress, with flowers in your hair, and your tongue sticking out. That feels like a hundred million years ago.
I only know a portion of what you've been through. There's no way ANYONE can ever know what you and your family have been through. I know you were terrified of living in an apartment with Issy. Alone. Two hours away from Matt. All because of a school meeting gone wrong.
I've felt horrible for the past year, because I hadn't written to you, and I know how important it is to you to know that people still love you, despite your poor choice (Remember, I love you, Kells<3). And I failed you in that.
Because I didn't know how to say this:
I love you. 
I will never stop loving you, or proclaiming you as my friend.
I will never stop telling people that what happened isn't black and white, and that life can change on a dime for ANYONE.
It's not ok, what you did. I hate what you were going through, but what you did is not ok. Not ever. I believe you weren't in your right mind at that time, but it still isn't ok. And I know you know that.
I love you.
I'm so fucking glad you're alive.
I'm double fucking glad that Issy is alive and healthy.
I love you.
I didn't write a letter to the judge, because I honestly don't know what your sentence should be. Because what you did was terrible.
But I love you so much.
I hope and pray that you get a just, yet FAIR sentence. I want you to come out. I want you in my world again. I want to see a picture of you with your bright blonde hair shining in the sun.
I love you.