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She Will Forever Be Remembered

Courtney Emma (Vinson) Campbell



Remembering Courtney

This site was created in memory of Courtney Emma (Vinson) Campbell.
Our loving daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter and friend.

In honor of Courtney's love for animals, please consider donating to NOAH.

I Love You Courtney

Dear Courtney, 
This is a letter I never wanted to write.  It’s a letter that I had been encouraging you to write.  In some conversations I’ve had since you passed I have said - I need to ‘walk the talk’.  I wanted and encouraged you to work through your grief and pain and find your way to happiness.  Now, I need to do that for you, in honor of you.  Guessing that this will also not be the only letter I write you…

Where do I start? Overall, you were a very easy baby.  You were so happy and full of joy.  You always had the biggest smile and best laugh.  I can’t tell you how much I miss that already.  When you were a baby, we could make a funny face or say something silly and you would laugh and laugh and laugh.  Your smile and laughter brought so much sunshine into our lives.  

You were our ‘mother hen’.  When I was pregnant with Reagan, you would pat my belly and talk to the ‘baby’.  You loved her before she was born.  You had to be near her as much as possible, even when changing her diaper would make you gag.  How you made a friend your first day of preschool because you knew he was sad and you wanted to help him.  How you cried on Reagan’s first day of preschool and had to send her a note to tell her you loved her.  The love you gave was fierce and ran deep.  Whether that was for family, friends, friends that became part of your family or co-workers, you loved with everything you had.  You had so much compassion and empathy for others, and you often took on others pain as if it was your own.  

Since your passing, I have been going through so many things I’ve kept to give you when you got older.  Photos; I am so thankful for the many albums we have to help us remember you and remind us of so many good times.  Creating your memorial video was hard because I wanted to include ALL the photos of you - to show how you stood in your crib so early and walked around furniture when you were only 6 months old, the love you had for Reagan, for the water, of animals of how you told me lately that you were happy to be a ‘crazy cat mom’, all your smiles, all the hugs, all of the love.  It ended up being good planning your celebration of life at the beach, where it’s a bit challenging to show a video…since the video is nearly 30 minutes long and still doesn’t begin to seem enough to  show how much joy you brought to my life (and others), and how very much I love you.   

There are journals I started when I was pregnant with you and continued when you were little.  I had always planned to give them to you at a time when you started a family of your own.  I wanted you to know how much you were wanted and loved, even before you were born.  From the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a mother.  You were the start of that journey and I will forever be grateful for you.  Thank you.  Instead of giving you these journals, you left me with your journals.  Journals that you wrote during what we hoped was your recovery.  Because you shared so much with me (at times more than I wanted to know), it has not seemed an invasion of your privacy to read these journals.  I love seeing your writing, knowing you held those pages, seeing the water mark of your tears as you let your emotions flow, seeing how some views had started to shift, how you were trying to focus on the good things and looking to your future.  How you began to believe in a higher power, a God, maybe not the typical “God’ so many of us think of but, a higher being that was giving you hope and strength.  The notes you wrote saying that you did not want Reagan and I to have to bury you.  I feel your love when I read your words.  Thank you for that gift.

In the weeks since you’ve been gone, I have tried to focus on the good times, the joy and sunshine you brought not just my life but so many others as well.   That doesn’t mean I have forgotten the rough times.  I know it’s important to acknowledge things were difficult for you and you went through more than a child should have had to endure. I am so sorry I wasn’t able to give you the childhood I had dreamt of for you.  The childhood your beautiful soul deserved.  I am so sorry that I wasn’t able to protect you from the many things and people that caused you pain.  My phone is no longer ‘calling me out’ for checking (ok, stalking you) to see where you are, to see if it looked like you were somewhere safe. I hoped loving you would be enough to carry you through, help you move past the pain.  

I believe we have a choice, we can dwell on the sorrow and regrets, the things we could have done differently or, remember the good times, the things we did do ‘right’.  The family vacations, the impromptu trips to the the beach (where I should have known to bring a towel - can I just get my feet wet mom?), the walks with the dogs, the movies snuggled up on the couch,  the nerf gun battles (as long as you had eye-pro), the holidays, the hugs, the laughter. So many things that were joyous and happy.  Again, the things that I had been encouraging you to focus on, and to remember.   I am not quite there yet, I think I’m making my way, I am trying.  Mother’s day was hard, then my birthday and I suspect that each holiday, or milestone will have it’s ups and downs.  Words cannot express how much I miss you.  I will do my best to change my thoughts from, damn it,  why are you gone, why can’t you be here to share in this?  To be grateful for the time we had.  To look at your photos and remember the smiles, the laughter, the hugs, all the love we shared.  To think that you are still our ‘mother hen’ and looking out for us from above. To feel the sunshine and think of you.

Your celebration of life is coming up in just a couple days.  I hope you know that we have tried to make it what you would have wanted.  Some of your favorite foods, the beach.  I know of late you said you wanted your hair black ‘like your soul’ but sweetie, your soul was not black.  It was yellow, orange, it was sunshine and gave so many of us warmth and love. Your family is coming together to celebrate you and how much you mean to all of us.

I hope you know how proud I was of you.  I know that you tried, you were doing so great, you were so happy with your new job and you had so many good things going.  I wish you could have held on, could have taken some strength from me.  I hope you are finally at peace, no more anxiety, no more panic attacks and no longer in pain.  

I love you Courtney Emma, our Nee-Nee.  

Always and forever, Mama

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