Thursday April 11, 2013

Erin is sleeping in today as there is no school.  We are having yet another snow day.  On April 11th.  This is one of the worst stretches of "spring" weather I can remember.  It's gotta turn eventually...

Erin's birthday was low key, but a success.  Her friends at school remembered her big day and each of her classes sang Happy Birthday.  After school, it was take out food and an afternoon movie - in front of the fireplace.  She finished the day off with volleyball practice and Dan and I showed up at the end with ice cream treats for everyone.

It was the best we could do, all things considered.  Our family has been dealing with some tough news this week, and it has conjured up all sorts of memories and emotions.

Erin's cousin Maggie and her husband, Doug, have been tireless supporters of ours on our journey with Shannon.  They darkened our door many times and shared many words of encouragement with us along the way.  Maggie and Doug are the impetus for our European vacation this summer, helping us plan and planning to be there to share in our adventure.

Doug has two sons, Henry and Owen.  Henry, a student at the University of Wisconsin, started feeling ill over the weekend.  Monday, he walked into the ER and, within a matter of hours, he was non-responsive with swelling in his brain.  Meningitis.  Every effort was made to reduce the swelling, but to no avail.  Henry is gone.

Doug, Maggie, Henry's mom Meredith, and Henry's brother Owen have joined our terrible club.  We are beyond heartsick for them as we know the path they are beginning to travel.  We will be there for them and offer any help and support we can.  Erin's first words upon hearing the news were, "Poor Owen."  Doug and Maggie have built in "safe people" right here on Willow Lane.  I hope that brings them some small consolation.

Rest in peace, Henry Mackaman.  Wherever you are, please find Shannon and say hello.