Sunday December 2, 2012

It has been a whirlwind weekend and Sunday night has come much too quickly.  Dan and I spent 14 hours traveling on Friday, had 12 hours at home, and then Saturday morning we were on the road to Mankato for a two day basketball tournament.  Two games Saturday, one night in the Best Western, and two games again on Sunday.

Smiley played a lot of minutes this weekend and even made a great move to the basket for a left handed layup today.  She enjoys the tournaments, but it's as much about the time with friends as it is about the basketball.  When you are an only child, it's good to have teammates.  Shannon's buddy Anna was also along for the weekend to watch her little sisters play.  Erin and Anna have a sweet big sis/little sis vibe, and this picture Dan took of them is so damn cute I have to share:

Now, we will settle in for a busy week ahead.  The calendar has turned to December, and that brings us full circle in some ways.  A year ago, we knew that Shannon's condition was deteriorating, and we made the decision to go to Memphis and try and take part in the clinical trail at St. Jude.

A year ago this coming Tuesday, Shannon skated for the last time.  Ever.  December 4th.  The universe is a strange place - Tuesday night will be at Graham Arena again, this time as a part of the Mayo vs. JM/Lourdes Girls Hockey game being played in memory of Shannon.  Full circle.  We will speak briefly to share our message and our mission, and then we will watch Shannon's friends out there on the ice.

Dan and I have spent a lot of time together this past week and we've spent some of that time sharing and reflecting.  Here are some of the things we think we know:

- We're not so good at small talk anymore.  Meeting new people and getting to know someone is always going to be a challenge from here on out.  Our story of who we are has an element of sadness, no way around that.  

- We still like being together and we enjoy each other's company.  Dan and I are a team.  Thank God for that.

- We are so lucky to have Erin, and when we are away from her, we can't wait to be back together.  In many ways, she's our leader now.

-  We still like to laugh and we laughed a lot this weekend.  Sometimes it's gallows humor, but if we didn't laugh, we'd go crazy.  

-  We can tell stories about Shannon endlessly.  It seems to be coming up more often and more easily these days.  Thank God we have people who will listen.

So, the holiday season is here.  We are treading lightly on these days.  We are not alone, as the holidays are a tough time for many people. We aim for kindness with ourselves, and we try to take each day, and each memory, one at a time.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato