November 6th

One note of business:  today I sent out the first Shannon O'Hara Foundation Newsletter via email.  We will do this periodically to keep our supporters informed.  If you'd like to receive 
these updates and haven't signed up, please do so on our foundation website at:

Today is election day and once I get Erin off to school, I will go cast my ballot here on this Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  After so much negative rhetoric, no matter what the outcome, I hope for reconciliation and collaboration amongst us.  Life is short and we shouldn't waste it arguing.  There is no time for hate.

November 6th also brings us to the ten month mark since Shannon passed.  Unbelievable, really.  More space between us, but still fresh in our minds and hearts.  Time does seem to be moving so quickly and this past week since I last posted was yet another rollercoaster ride.

This past weekend there were happy times including a cousin sleepover.  Jack and Laurynn came to Rochester to spend the night and we heard lots of giggles and goofiness.  Dan and I were happy to hear Erin just being a kid for a little while at least.

The rollercoaster also hit some lows, though, and those usually bring tears.  Tears from Dan who was just missing Shannon.  Tears from Erin who was feeling the pressure of being an only child and having "too much" attention focused on her.  Tears from me because I sometimes feel inadequate in helping Erin - and Dan -  navigate this more easily.  And tears from me because, of course, I miss Shannon, too.

Erin is 11 going on 16 or 22 and she wants independence.  She doesn't want me to "baby" her, and she wants to do things on her own with little or no parental supervision.  I see her as "only" 11 and feel it is still my duty to mother her.  This is not a dynamic that is unique to us.  Ask any mother who has watched their daughter go from girl to young woman and they will tell you there were plenty of struggles and tears for everyone involved.

But, my protective motherly instinct is in hyper-aware mode because Erin lost a sister, a role model, and now she's determined to figure it out on her own, and she's feeling pressure to do it perfectly.  I worry that Erin feels like Shannon never made any mistakes, and that's an impossible standard to live up to.  Truth is, Shannon didn't get the chance to navigate these choppy waters.  She certainly would have made mistakes, just like every adolescent does as they mature, grow, and assert their independence.  I am just sad for Erin that this has happened so fast for her.  The world made her grow up in a hurry.

So, Erin wants less meddling from me, and I want Erin to take my advice more often.  Anybody got any bright ideas??!!  Seriously, though, we do our best around here to keep communicating and being honest with each other, and sometimes that doesn't get us to common ground, but at least we know where we stand.

Dan and I continually remind ourselves to be kind - be kind to each other and be kind to ourselves.  It's ok to struggle, it's ok to not have all the answers, it's ok to grieve and feel, and it's ok to try again.

" Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness...Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying, "You are accepted'." 
- Paul Tillich