Friday October 3, 2014

Last night we watched Erin play volleyball against cross-town rival, John Marshall.  Grandma Harkins is here for a visit and got to see Erin play.  Grandma was a little sentimental about being back in the old JM Gymnasium - she spent many a night there watching me play basketball... about a hundred years ago.

The JM team was having Teacher Appreciation night.  Each girl on the varsity and JV had their favorite teacher by their side and said a few words about them.  A couple of my former classmates were there being honored, and one of my favorite teachers was there, too.  My 9th grade English teacher was being honored by one of her current students.  I got to say hello and we talked for a bit. She knew about Shannon and wanted to know more. 

I am happy to say the Mayo Spartans had a clean sweep last night.  That little 9th grader I once was could never imagine that she would grow up to root for the Mayo Spartans.  Having kids changes everything...

It is cold and windy here this morning as I write.  I am hoping the weather will take a turn for the better before tomorrow's Brains Together For A Cure walk.  We will be out there either way.  Grandma is here for the walk and we have brothers and sisters and cousins coming to walk with us, too.

Erin will not be with us this year.  She is getting a chance to be in a debate competition with the Mayo Debate team tomorrow.  We wish Miss E could be with us, but she's her own person now.  I am learning quickly that scheduling anything for a high schooler is a bad idea.  Inevitably, they have other plans. 

This week, I've been thinking back to that first Brains Together walk we did.  2011.  Shannon came directly from hockey tryouts to be a part of the event.  We were all wearing lime green shirts that said "Shannon the Cannon" on the front.  Shannon was honored and embarrassed all at the same time.  We were surrounded by so many family and friends who were watching Shannon battle so bravely.  We hoped we'd wear those every year and we hoped Shannon would be with us, still fighting.  

She's no longer here, but we are still fighting.  Still fighting to honor her.  Still fighting to raise money and raise awareness of the need for research.  Still fighting to keep her with us in spirit.    

I've had some lovely interactions with people this week.  People who have felt my angst in recent days, and offered an encouraging word.  The kindness of others continues to amaze me.  And buoy me.  It's ok that I don't have all the answers.  It's ok that I'm sad and conflicted.  The grief of losing a child doesn't end.  That's ok, too.  Feeling the pang of missing her is real and I like that she's on my mind.  

Under my layers and layers of clothes tomorrow, I might even break out my Shannon the Cannon t-shirt...