Dan and I were in two different states today, physically, but somehow we were in the same state of mind mentally.  He called me this morning from South Dakota to say that he was feeling a little down.  I had just finished showering and I had spent those quiet minutes under the hot water feeling the same way.

Hard to believe that a silly holiday like Halloween could trigger melancholy.  But here we are.  Dan is in SD, Erin is off trick or treating with her buddies, and I am home alone handing out candy, thinking about the days when we would take our two girls up and down the street trick or treating.

For years, Shannon and Erin would trick or treat with our neighborhood buddies Abby and Tessa.  Then they would come home with their buckets full of candy and dump them out on the family room floor.  Shannon taught Erin to organize her candy by type so they could see how much they had of each kind. Then they would decide if there was any trading to do.  I think we caught Shannon trying to dupe her younger sister into an unfair trade on more than one occasion.  Erin was a quick study, though, and soon learned to be skeptical of her big sister's offers.

Now, of course, intellectually I know that Shannon wouldn't be trick or treating with Erin at this age, but it's the memory of those days when they did that has me feeling a little off kilter.

There have been a lot of Shannon related interactions this week.  These are good things - talking with hockey teams who want to honor Shannon, and working on paperwork for the foundation - but they also have me feeling blue.

On the one hand, it's exactly what we are aiming for - ways to remember Shannon and keep her spirit alive by helping others.  I don't doubt that that's where my energy needs to be.  I know that I must do these things as part of my own healing process and to make some sense out of this whole tragedy.

But I realized today, that there's a piece of me that's angry that this is my life.  Of course I want to honor Shannon, and I will, but I wish I didn't have to.  On some level, I still wish it wasn't so.  I didn't sign up to be a crusader or an example for others.  I didn't think I'd write a book about losing a child.  I signed up to be a mother and then 12 years later, all hell broke loose, and now I have these new roles that I am not completely comfortable with yet.

But, anger is a part of grief and I just need to remember that whatever I feel, it's o.k.  No right answers here.  This is one of those times when I just need to give myself a break and admit that I don't have it all figured out.  

So this silly little Halloween holiday has me thinking about Shannon, and remembering her in her  costumes through the years. In chronological order:  cat, cow (twice), elephant, tiger, princess, cheerleader, witch, vampire, soccer player, football player, nerd.

While I was in charge of the costumes in those early years, it was pretty standard fare - animals.  Once Shannon took over the costume choices, she tried on a few different personalities.  For those of you who knew her later in her life, it might be hard to picture her as a princess or a cheerleader, but trust me, as a six and seven year old, she owned it!

Thinking of her in each of those get ups makes me smile... and cry.

Erin is out there tonight dressed as Barbie complete with blond wig, tight pink dress, and shiny leggings.  Maybe when she gets home, Erin will sit on the family room floor with me and organize her candy by type...