Friday July 13, 2012

A few days at home recuperating has done me some good, for sure.  Family and friends who are eyeballing me on a daily basis told me yesterday that I was looking human again.  I guess I'll take that as a compliment.  The pain is subsiding and the daily PICC line infusions are going fine, so I am crossing my fingers that I am turning the corner.

In the midst of my medical crisis, we really didn't do justice to the Shannon memorial at the lake last week, so I'd like to backtrack:

Lake Hubert is such a special place in the O'Hara family.  O'Hara kids and their kids have been coming there since the 1940's.  It's one of Dan's favorite places on this earth, and it became special for me, too, over the years.  It's a simple cabin on a quiet lake.  We don't own any motorized water toys.  It's a place for swimming and playing and reflecting.  It's been our family summer vacation for a week each year since Shannon was born.

When Shannon was first diagnosed, she went through a list of dreams that she might never get to realize:  going to high school, going to college, being a mom, being a grandma.  But then in true Shannon form, she started thinking short term about what she could do last summer if her body allowed.  First on her wish list was to get to Lake Hubert.  We managed to do that twice last summer and Shannon was feeling good both times.  She and Erin played in the lake for hours on end, made trips into town for pizza, candy, and ice cream, and enjoyed sleeping in the beds on the cabin porch while listening to a storm roll in.  Perfect.

Fast forward to last weekend which marked six months since Shannon's passing.  27 of us gathered to ceremonially help Shannon stay at Lake Hubert forever.  As we gathered around the Shannon rock, we shared stories and memories and then each grandparent and aunt and uncle and cousin placed some of Shannon's ashes beneath the rock.  It will be a place for each of them to be with Shannon, always.

One final piece of the ceremony for us was to sprinkle Shannon out in the lake.  Out in the spot where she and Erin would spend hours on end playing in the rowboat and swimming and making up silly games and laughing so loud that it would echo through the trees.  Out in the spot that was just deep enough to make mom nervous, which, of course, was part of the fun.  Giant tears flowed from Erin as the three of us and Sunny sat there in the rowboat.  The memories are so vivid and the loss so painful.

We will have our annual family vacation at Lake Hubert in just over a week.  The cabin and the beach and the lake will be the same as they have for the past 60 years.  But, for this family of three, it will be a brand new experience...