Tuesday February 12, 2013

The kindness of others... we use that phrase often, but I have learned the power of it in action.  Nothing lifts us up like hearing from someone that they are still thinking about us even as time passes by.  It's a great fear after a great loss that your loved one will be forgotten.  

Today a card arrived in the mail from Erin's preschool teacher just saying, "You are on my mind."

Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a high school classmate saying how she's been inspired by our story and wants to honor Shannon.

While it's nice that people are remembering Shannon and remembering us, there is a bigger message for me in these notes we receive.  The kindness of others shows through people taking time to act on their thoughts, sending a card, writing a note.

This is one of those things we've learned as a by-product of our experience.  Kindness and empathy do wonders for others.  Give what you have to offer - a note of encouragement or a shoulder to cry on.  I am mindful now to be present for people.  Really present.  I've always been a nice person (in my humble opinion), but now I want to offer what I can to those it may help.

That's heady stuff for a Tuesday afternoon, but I was struck by these interactions this week.

Our world is so much bigger now through all the connections we've made because of Shannon.  And more chances to connect are just around the corner - speaking at events and book signings will be just another chance to share the human experience with others.  This is something that I could never have imagined myself doing, but now, it seems right.

It's amazing to me to think I have more people in my life now than ever before.  Sometimes, it's hard to reconcile that - how can I be happy about relationships that blossomed because of the loss of my daughter?

But, somehow each interaction, each connection I can make usually feels good.  At least that's how I feel now, almost 22 months since Shannon's diagnosis.  Sure, sometimes something or someone catches me by surprise and brings pain and heartache rushing in.  But most times now, I feel - or choose to feel - lucky for these connections.  Each time I cross paths with someone who knows I've been changed, well, it's a little gift from Shannon.  And, most days, anything Shannon related makes me smile.

You can bet we will be smiling this Thursday when we hand out the first Shannon O'Hara Memorial Scholarships.  It's so exciting to see this come to fruition.  To each and every one of you who has bought merchandise or made a donation, thank you.  Hope to see you Thursday night!