July 29

This day will still come every year, and every year we will have to find a way to deal with it, to honor Shannon, and to carry on.  Damn.  This one hit us harder than the last, yet another reminder that grief doesn't necessarily get better with time.  Perspectives change, time moves on, but the pain can still hit you harder than you anticipate, and sometimes you have to work just to get through the day.

15...I think that's why this year is so hard.  We can all remember being 15.  We can all remember our sophomore year of high school, who are friends were, how we filled our time.  It has been hard to reconcile that Shannon didn't get to be 15.

But, our plan for this birthday of Shannon's was to spend it at Lake Hubert and invite my family for the weekend.  Grandma & Papa Harkins and Eric, Jen Laurynn & Jack arrived Saturday, weathered 36 hours of howling north winds and October like temperatures, and finally today we were rewarded with sunshine and warmer temps.

We enjoyed coffee by the Shannon rock and shared stories of the day Shannon was born.  We've all got great Shannon stories and memories of times together with the cousins.  Those can bring a smile to our faces, albeit short lived.

Today brought  the Lake-a-Thon:  the Shannon invention that involves Olympic type events such as the crab walk, the flip flop distance kick, and, of course, tricks off the dock.  Laurynn and Erin keep the tradition alive, and Jack throws his whole heart into the competition.

Jack was the big winner this year (again :) but the highlight of the day might have been Erin pulling out a front flip off the dock.  This, of course, was enough to make me nervous, which was a part of Erin's master plan, no doubt.  The Lake-a-Thon was a success, and it lives on for another year.  Shannon's spirit in another form.

Our company has all left now, and it's just the three of us.  We enjoyed a quiet evening and dinner out, and we've got a few more days here.  We will golf and shop and read and sleep and swim.  Just the three of us.  Damn.  I don't know exactly why it feels more poignant this year, but it does.  Three feels lonelier this time around. 

Happy Birthday, Shannon.