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letter from Jake

To Helen’s vast circle of friends, family, loved ones, acquaintances, grieving bloggers, and then some:

I am Helen’s older brother. My family and I, and Paul, and his family, have found great solace in the past ten days in the massive outpouring of thoughts, memories, anecdotes, photos and stories on helenhill.org.

Thank you, Cristin, for starting and maintaining this living tribute to my sister.

My family and I can’t imagine how we should begin to repair the hole in our collective heart. Paul is trying. My mother is trying. My stepfather Kevin, who married my Mom when Helen was six, is trying. Paul’s family is trying. Helen’s father in Portland, Maine is trying. My wife Brett, and my son Wyatt, are trying. I am trying. And I imagine that little Francis Pop, in his own way, is trying.

I don’t want to sink into rage and despair, but damn it is hard. But I think that what Helen would want, more than anything else, is for us to try to heal ourselves, as best we can, in whatever way we can. To cherish the lives on this earth that we still have, and to make those lives even more fulfilling, loving, compassionate, ebullient, gregarious, selfless, quirky, forgiving, patient — all in all, to make them more “Helenesque”. Honestly that is the only thought that seems to mean anything to me right now.

I’m back in New York now, where I live, but will be back in Columbia this weekend, when I hope to add additional photos, mementos, etc. on Helen for the site. Maybe even some really amazing entries from the journal she wrote when she was 12. Helen had multiple dimensions. I would like to contribute some items reflecting the little girl from Columbia, South Carolina, who loved boiled peanuts, gag gifts from the Cromer’s novelty store downtown, and giggling with her friends late into the night during sleepovers.

I also plan to compile a “time capsule” for Francis Pop when he turns 18, including a narrative of the awesome and poignant outpouring that has transpired since Helen’s death.

Below please find some email addresses to contact us if you would like. In part to this site, Helen still lives, and always will. Thank you again.

Jake Hill
924 West End Ave. #T2
New York, NY 10025
jakehillventures [at] gmail.com

The Hill-Lewis Family: hhilllewis [at] yahoo.com (remember to type three Ls)
The Gailiunas Family: paulgailiunasfamily [at] yahoo.com
Helen’s father (in Portland, ME): jakehill66 [at] yahoo.com

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