Sabrina Puckett lost her twin sister Elizabeth Caitlin Puckett to leukemia on August 2, 2016. That same morning, Sabrina felt compelled to share her grief on imgur by posting one picture for every year of that Caitlin had been alive. The touching post subsequently went viral, and it’s easy to see why.
Elizabeth Caitlin Puckett, who preferred to be called Caitlin, was sadly just 19 years old when she passed away. She had been battling leukemia – an aggressive form of blood cancer that usually affects people over the age of 50 – for five and a half years.
As a result, Sabrina started the online photo album, entitled “A Photo of You for Every Year You Got to Live,” to help express her grief. Indeed, the post developed into a touching eulogy for her lost sister.
“You kicked cancer’s ass four times since 2011, but you were also so tired,” wrote Sabrina. Then she went on to describe all the things that made Caitlin who she was. For instance, she wrote, “You were a dork,” and “You made the best faces.”
The deeply personal post went on to show Caitlin posing for photos alone, at home with her family and out with friends. “You loved your friends and family and you were gorgeous,” wrote Sabrina.
Sabrina further described her sister’s ambitions. “You loved animals,” she wrote. “You wanted to be a vet tech, before you got sick.” It’s a humbling insight into the aspirations of a young woman who was taken too early.
“You graduated high school this year, a whole year behind me,” continued Sabrina. “But I’d never seen a whole stadium give a standing applause like the one they gave you.”
Sabrina bared her soul with this tender, raw and desperately honest outpouring of grief. “We were twins, even if sometimes people didn’t believe us,” she wrote. “And I never imagined having to live life without you.”
Sabrina’s final comment in the post is incredibly moving. She wrote, “We turned 19 two weeks ago and now you’re gone. Rest in Peace, Elizabeth Caitlin Puckett. Eternal love from your sissy, Sabrina.”
The reaction to this inspiring, brave and selfless post was huge. In fact, since being posted to imgur, it has been viewed more than 465,000 times, and people from all over the world have been moved by the story.
“I have never been so moved by a post,” commented imgur user navicat. “Me and my twin are estranged, I just called off work this weekend to see her. Thanks.”
“Reminds me of my late girlfriend’s four battles,” added stealthrs. “My heart goes out to you. Tears down my face here. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth [with] us.”
Sabrina herself was a little overwhelmed by the positive reaction to her post too. “The response this has gotten has floored not only me, but our entire family,” she wrote. She added, “Caitlin would have found this hilarious, I bet.”
“Thank you all so much for your overwhelming support,” Sabrina continued. “I mostly made this to get some emotions out of my system, as I really don’t like crying, even in front of my family. And it turned out to be therapeutic for everyone involved.”
The family had hoped to raise $2,500, but after just five days, thanks in no small part to Sabrina’s imgur post, it had made $4,000. Consequently, they decided to split the money between Lana’s Love and the local children’s hospital at Erlanger, Chattanooga, which looked after Caitlin during her illness.
“The support you guys have given us is phenomenal and unreal,” she wrote. In fact, it seems that the Puckett family as a whole has been helped through some of their pain by Sabrina’s honest and heartwarming post.
But next comes Caitlin’s memorial service, though the teen wished not to be buried. In fact, Caitlin had told her family, “I will not go into a funeral home, alive, dead, or anything in between. They’re depressing.”
“Thank you guys so much for all your support and love and internet hugs,” concluded Sabrina in the comments section below the post. She added, “My sister would be so happy that she ended up making such a difference in so many strangers’ lives and supporting her favorite charity. Thank you.”
There are many ways that people express themselves at a time when their whole world seems to be crashing down around them. – Thankfully, Sabrina did it in a manner that not only celebrated her sister’s life, but also perhaps reminded thousands of readers about what the important things really are.