Friday November 29, 2013

We are enjoying our holiday weekend - and it's only Friday.  That makes Erin and Dan very happy.

Thanksgiving was a good day spent hanging out with cousins Laurynn and Jack, having plenty of turkey and plenty of laughs.  Dan and my brother Eric are in a tight race for who qualifies as craziest uncle.  They convinced us to walk out on the ice on the local pond.  As Jack said, "If Uncle Dan says it's ok, what could go wrong?"

We didn't talk about Shannon much, but she is certainly on their minds.  They proudly wear their Shannon stocking caps, and Jack even has a Shannon wall in his room featuring pictures of her and momentos of his big cousin.   They remember.

We actually kicked off our giving thanks on Wednesday.  I had my one year post-cancer mammogram and my scan was clear.  Both Dan and Erin accompanied me to my afternoon appointment.  Erin wanted to be there and hear the details with her own ears.  It reminded me of the days when she would attend Shannon's appointments so she could ask her own questions.  Erin knows her way around an exam room. My doctor walked in the room, saw Erin and said directly to her, "Your Mom passed her mammogram!"  Perfect.  

We got a rundown on the plan going forward.  I will continue taking Tamoxifen and will have checkups every six months for the next 5 years, but for now, we can set the worry aside.   The three of us had all been carrying some angst about this appointment, and needless to say, we were all relieved.  Walking out of there, Erin turned to me and gave me a high five...

Today, we slept in to combat the food intake from yesterday.  Then, we actually pumped ourselves up and did some shopping.  You heard it hear first - Dan O'Hara was at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Black Friday.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  A broken coffee pot cannot be tolerated in this house...

While we were out, we picked out a Christmas tree.  Erin was pumped to start decorating.  Little Miss Craft Project got the hot glue gun going and created some new holiday decorations - a homemade wreath, a tiny tree, a cute shadow box.  We've also got lights, fake snow, and a door wrapped like a Christmas present.  The tree is up and decorated.  We are looking pretty good.

Some poignant decisions had to be made - Shannon's stocking?  It is hanging next to Erin's.  Right where it belongs. The ornaments that Shannon made?  They, of course, still belong on our tree.  

I was struck by how many angel ornaments we now own.  It must have been a popular gift to us last year, but I honestly don't remember, which is strange.  I can tell you about all the ornaments pre-diagnosis - where they came from or who gave them to us.  But, this bevy of angels we now own,  they are a mystery to me.  Last year, I must have been in a fog.  Even though I can't remember where they came from, I like them, and they now hang on our tree.

I've been taking part in a bereavement group for parents who have lost kids to cancer, and this very thing was our discussion topic this week.  How do you honor your lost one during this festive time that's about celebration?  There are no right answers, and as we've said before, the second year is no easier than the first. 

But, everything we did today felt right, and Erin is on cloud nine.  She thanked us for decorating and told us, "I love Christmas."  

We will take each day at it comes, but today was a good day...