My sister is dead. In the seven years since she died, I have gone to college, got married, bought a house and had two children. At this point, I could not ask for more.

The first three months after my sister died at age 16 in a car accident were the most hellish months of my life. I was 19 and living with my parents. In the days before my sister's death, I was packing up to live with my grandmother thousands of miles away. I was a former Christian, then an atheist who partied hard every night of the week. After my sister's death, it was decided I would no longer move in with my grandmother and I began to take care of all the day-to-day housework of the family, from grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and paying the bills. I had even become a born-again Christian, going to Bible study with other young adults.

After about four months of taking care of my parents physically and emotionally, I moved out of the house for the first time in my life, moving in with a friend who was doing minor remodeling projects in a house her parents owned and were getting ready to rent out again. My friend and I slept in tents in the living room while we varnished and painted the upstairs bedrooms. We did minor repairs around the house in exchange for free rent.

Those two months were a really good time in my life, remarkably, considering my sister had recently died. I walked to other friends' houses after waking up around four in the afternoon. I stayed up till dawn most nights doing whatever I wanted- writing, reading, hanging out with friends or drawing.

An ex-boyfriend had begun to come around again. He and I were considering getting back together and getting married. I also had a guy friend who was really more of a boyfriend, especially when we were alone, which was quite often, as the friend I lived with took frequent overnight road trips.

A friend lived quite close to the house my friend and I were residing in, and I walked to her house nearly every day in the evening. One evening an old friend was there when I walked in. He and I shared a lot of the same friends in high school. He was attending a college in a nearby city so I didn't get to see him much. I hadn't seen him for over a year before that particular evening. That night, he and I talked for four hours about everything and anything. We spent the next three days together, and we got married about a year and a half later.

In the years since my sister died, my biggest regret is the fact that my husband never met my sister. Most people my age have never lost anyone close to them. I would never wish it upon my husband, of coarse, but it is quite difficult to know that nobody I know really knows what it's like to lose their sister. Sure, my parents lost a daughter, and my brother lost a sister, but it's not the same as a young woman having lost a sister. The void will never be filled.

My biggest regret from the short time my sister was on earth is the fact that I had wasted so much time without her. She and I didn't get along that well, mostly in part because I never made the effort to spend time with her and get to know her as a person.

One thing I do every single day now is to tell my children and my husband how much I love them. I try to show my love for them every chance I get, and I verbally say it throughout the day. I never go to bed angry because life is short to hold on to anger and regret. I reflect every day on how blessed I am to have the people I still have in my life.