Leap Day

There is no daily meditation to read in our book today - I guess they didn't plan for you to use it in a leap year!

Erin is home sick today - lots of crud going around school and this cold and cough finally got the best of her. Hopefully a day of sleeping in and rest will help her fight it off. She's been a trooper this winter and hasn't missed a day of school since Shannon's funeral. It hasn't been easy ...

Erin has been struggling with memories, and music has been a source of many tears this week. And, as you know, we love our music around here. Songs and lyrics seem to constantly remind Erin of Shannon. Where Dan and I have mostly found solace and comfort in listening to our tunes, Erin has felt pain. Maybe that's the difference between being in your 40's and being 10.

So, yesterday afternoon I cranked up the iPod and Erin and I listened to show tunes from some of our favorite musicals: everything from West Side Story and Annie to Wicked and Memphis, with a little Hairspray and Mama Mia mixed in. There may have been dancing involved. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say in my next life I'm coming back as an ensemble member in a Broadway hit. Erin laughed and cringed asked me to stop dancing ...

I tried to frame for Erin the good memories that are associated with these songs. The time we saw Mama Mia from the front row in Vegas when we could see right into the orchestra pit. Or seeing Wicked from the balcony at the Orpheum in Minneapolis. Or our night when we saw the real deal on Broadway in NYC with the Tony award winning Memphis.

Those are good memories, but it's a hard realization at age 10 that you don't get to make any more good memories with your sister. Erin told me the other night that the bad memories of the end of Shannon's life are so close for her, but the good memories are getting farther away.

So, for Erin the goal is to keep the good memories alive and carry Shannon's spirit within her while still looking forward,forging ahead, and finding her own path in life. That is a hard but necessary goal. Erin can't quite comprehend how to make that happen and that makes her frustrated and sad. My only motherly advice is to try and do it one day at a time...

At the end of the musical Wicked, there is a song about the life-altering friendship between the two main characters. While one of them is dying, the other must carry on and carry her friend's spirit with her. From the song, "For Good":

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart

...Because I knew you
I have been changed for good.