Later Thursday

Today has been a better day than yesterday - not without it's moments, but better. We have been buoyed by people and their words of kindness and support. Reminders of what a great kid Shannon is help us to carry on. We received an e-mail from a mother of one of Shannon's classmates this morning. We don't know her and she didn't really know Shannon, except through her son's words. And he spoke highly of our girl. This mother's note brought us to tears, but then it lifted us up by reminding us of Shannon's spirit.

So, we trudge on in this state of limbo. Shannon's vital signs have shown an ever so slight decline from one day to the next, and the kid hasn't eaten in 11 days, but her heart and lungs keep working. She continues to fight, even though we've said it's ok to give in. We should have known she wouldn't give in easily. This has been her pattern her whole life, why would she change now?

This is the kid who, as a two year old, bloodied her lip by banging herself against her crib rail until someone would come and pick her up. She wasn't going to bed until she was ready.

This is the kid who wouldn't give up her pacifier until we bribed her with a boom box for her room. I'm pretty sure if you're old enough to operate a boom box, you shouldn't still have a pacifier!

I think Shannon got the stubborn gene from both sides of her family tree.  But, sometimes stubbornness is an asset:

This is the kid who, when given a terminal diagnosis, wouldn't take any shortcuts. She did every school assignment, attended every sports practice, and carried on with all her responsibilities even when everyone around her was telling her it's ok to take a pass.

Which brings us to today. With barely enough strength to muster a cough, and taking in one small swab full of water at a time, Shannon worked and worked and worked to try and clear the secretions from her lungs. After all the effort she could muster and 90 long minutes of wheezing, mission accomplished. Shannon can't really communicate with us anymore, but she's still showing determination.

If only a strong will was enough. If only prayers and well wishes added up to extra good days on this earth. If only ... but it isn't so ...

Instead, another night of watching and waiting is ahead, keeping vigil at the bedside of Shannon the Cannon...