Friday July 27, 2012

It's get away day at the cabin... the ritual clean up has begun - sheets have been washed and are drying on the line, we are shaking out the rugs and sweeping the floors of a week's worth of sand.  Same as it ever was.

Our time up here at the lake has been mostly good, though sometimes poignant.  I think you could say that about life in general for the three of us - mostly good, sometimes poignant.  And, we are coming to accept that the poignant moments are good, too, in their own way.  It means we feel Shannon's presence and we are thinking of her.

Family and friends have been checking in with us this week, knowing that it might be a hard week for us.  We are so grateful for the continued support, for those who recognize that this grief, this loss, this learning to carry on is ongoing.

I wrote an epilogue for the book while I was up here, sent it in, and I got almost immediate feedback from my editors.  They feel it's a great ending, because its not really an ending.  It will never truly end for me or for Dan or for Erin.  As long as we live, this will be a part of our story, something we live with and live through.

So, we finish another first today - the first family vacation at Lake Hubert without Shannon.  We did well.  We had fun.  We felt close to Shannon through the memories.  We felt at peace.

And yet, another big first is looming, of course.  Shannon's 14th birthday should be Sunday.

How does a mother, a family, acknowledge a child's birthday when the child is gone?  It doesn't feel quite right to have a party, and it doesn't feel quite right to not do anything.  People are asking what we have planned.  The straight answer is, right now, we have no idea what to do.  We're making this up as we go along, trying to allow ourselves to feel what we feel in the moment.  We can't predict how we will feel on July 29th, so we'll take it as it comes...