Thursday January 19, 2012

We are doing the tough, but necessary tasks. For Dan, that means being in Utah all week and training with the newly formed company. The days are busy for him, but the nights in a hotel are lonely. Not easy, but necessary.

For Erin, that means getting up each day and going to school. Trying to focus and concentrate and find some contentment in being around friends and teachers who care for her. Not easy, but necessary.

For me this means dealing with Shannon's belongings. Tasks like shutting down her Facebook, and disconnecting her e-mail and cell phone. Erasing the little traces of her. Is it too soon? Is it the right time? It felt right to me. It felt like progress. There is no handbook for how to do any of this. Yesterday, I tackled the big one - Shannon's room. Not easy, but necessary.

All those team pictures and trophies and jerseys, her favorite t-shirts, her favorite hat - they are all stored neatly away in a couple of plastic bins for safe keeping. Two of Shannon's prized possessions were passed on to her friends: one pal has a new loft bed and another pal has a new iPhone. Passing those things on felt good. Shannon would be happy for them.

So, physically, we are doing what needs doing. Coping and taking baby steps forward. The mental part of grieving, that's the more difficult part. Erin and I met with our social worker yesterday. Erin is so sad and lonely and the rhythm of our household has changed. We need to find ways to fill the void that's in our lives now. We need to be willing to change our patterns and try new things. What will bring our downsized Team O'Hara some joy?

The trick is, staying busy, but also allowing ourselves time and space for grief. It's o.k. for us to be sad and to have bad days and to let the grieving continue. You can't just "get over" a loss like this. People keep reminding us to be kind to ourselves. Not easy, but necessary ...