Graham Arena Memorial

"Give sorrow words;  The grief that does not speak whispers the o'er fraught heart and bids it break" - William Shakespeare

Man, have I been taking Shakespeare's words to heart this week!  It seems all I've been capable of doing is remembering Shannon, memorializing her.  I keep wanting to tell stories about her.  I keep remembering events - mostly times where she was full of life and in control.  I guess like I said the other day, this time of year is so reflective - another school year starts, another hockey season is gearing up, it all seems so normal and yet, not.  

Grief does come and go in waves, but this week it's kept me in pretty close company.  Understandable because much of my time and energy this week was spent working on the memorial display for Graham Arena.  With the help of friends (thank you, Amy) and Rochester Youth Hockey, a permanent display case was placed to remember Shannon.  Yesterday, we filled it up.  

We've mentioned here that Shannon's favorite place on earth was Lake Hubert, but Graham Arena was a very close second.  From October to March each year, it was her happy place.  Oh, how I wish she was bouncing through those halls, carrying that ridiculously large equipment bag, prepping for another hockey season.

But, now her jersey hangs in remembrance.  I guess I can think of the display case as a way to continue telling the story.  All of Shannon's team pictures are in the case, and those girls who were her teammates through the years are a part of the story, too.   

A plaque is being donated by Shannon's team from last year, The Rebels, and it will explain the display to curious visitors.  It reads:

Shannon O’Hara:  July 29, 1998 - January 6, 2012

Shannon fought a nine month battle with brain cancer.  Hockey was her passion. She loved the game, loved the rink, and loved to compete. Her last skate was here at Graham Arena just 33 days before her death.         

In her memory, the Rochester Girls Hockey Tournaments will compete each year for the Shannon Cup.  A scholarship fund has also been established and the Shannon O'Hara Memorial Scholarships will be awarded each year to deserving seniors who participated in Rochester Youth Hockey.  To donate, please contact RYHA.                 

I read recently in one of my grief and loss books that grief can build up like a pressure cooker.  To release the pressure, we need to speak.  Tell a friend.  Tell another friend, or tell the same friend again.  As often as you need to, tell your story.  

Part of our story is now on display at Graham Arena.