Tuesday June 26, 2012

Erin has me playing taxi driver this week:  To and from the gym in the afternoon for basketball, home in time to rest a bit, eat some dinner, change shorts, and then back to the gym for volleyball in the evenings.  By the time we get home, Erin needs a shower and a nighttime snack.  Once we've accomplished all that, this mama is tired and needs to go to sleep.  I do believe my 11 year old is capable of staying up later than I am these days!

Erin is growing in front of my eyes, but I've really been struck these past few days by seeing Shannon's classmates at the gym.  Guess what - they are growing up, too.  They are high schoolers now.  It's hard to reconcile in my mind as I watch those kids mature that Shannon will always be that tiny, 13 year old girl who left us too soon...  Seeing her peers progress and grow and thrive will be hard for us, and there will be so many milestones that will make us feel our loss again and again.  But all we need to do is remind ourselves that Shannon would want the best for all of them, so we can honor her memory by wanting that, too.  

Time does march on.  And, slowly, we are finding our stride, incorporating our thoughts and memories of Shannon into our lives that are happening right now.  Her name comes up often when Dan and Erin and I are talking.  As we travel through our first summer without her, we are visiting familiar places and remembering when she was there with us.  We are really comfortable with that.  We want others to be comfortable with it, too.  We find that most times, even though we miss her like hell, sharing a memory of Shannon can make us feel good.  

I realize now that most people who have been through some type of life changing event - even a terrible loss - still want to talk about it.  Even many years down the road.  I didn't know that before, back when I was a "civilian"... you don't know what you don't know.

But, I now believe that I won't hesitate to ask someone who has suffered how they are doing.  Not just the small talk version of "How are you?" but the genuine, "I am here and I am listening.  How are you?" And, I now believe we will always be ready to talk about Shannon, about our loss, if someone feels comfortable asking.

I came across this quote in our daily readings this week.  Couldn't have said it better myself.

"There is no more ridiculous custom than the one that makes you express sympathy once and for all on a given day to a person whose sorrow will endure as long as his life.  Such grief, felt in such a way, is always 'present', it is never too late to talk about it, never repetitious to mention it again..." - Marcel Proust