Early Tuesday January 10, 2012

I am awake and waiting for the sun. It's suppose to be a record high temp here in Minnesota today - possibly 50 degrees. One more day for family and friends to mourn, honor, and celebrate at Shannon's funeral.

Last night's visitation was an amazing event. The line of people who came to pay their respects weaved all the way out the door of the funeral home. The displays our friends designed with all of Shannon's pictures and memorabilia brought people to tears as they waited in line. Dan and I found strength we didn't know we had. Must have been from Shannon. In an odd way, it was invigorating to see these people - people from our past and present - and to hear the impact that Shannon's fight has had on them. I had been dreading standing there for hours greeting and consoling people, but as each person came, we drew comfort and strength from their words about our kid.

The hardest part for me was seeing the body. It didn't really look like Shannon. It was her - with those long eyelashes and beautiful hands and fingernails, but death takes it's toll on a person's appearance! I don't mean to be glib, but I want to remember Shannon not the way she looked last night, but the way she was: big brown eyes aglow and smiling from ear to ear.

The other most difficult thing was seeing Shannon's peers absolutely breaking down. Girls and boys sobbing at the loss of their friend. There were all kinds of kids there - the popular kids, the quiet kids, the jocks, the loners - each one trying to make sense of it all through their pain. Another testament to Shannon and the way she treated people. She didn't discriminate.

The family's final goodbye and the closing of the casket was emotional. It was all too much for Erin who sobbed the whole way home asking "why"... she is sad and mad and scared. She's endured more than a 10 year old should have to endure over these past 9 months. We got home and stood in our kitchen together, the three of us hugging, and Erin said, "This sucks." I teased her saying "You're not allowed to say that word." And she responded, "I am today!" No kidding. I hope she can find strength for one more day on this journey.

The funeral is today at 4:30 at St. John's. One more celebration and then the hard part begins...