Friday March 6, 2015

Erin and I have this new game we play in the car. We hook up a phone via bluetooth and then we put our iTunes library on shuffle and see who can name the song title and artist first. A modern day version of Name That Tune.

Erin is a savant. If she knows the song, she can name it in the first three notes. I only beat her if Jackson Browne or Crosby, Stills and Nash come up in the rotation.

This has made our early morning car rides to Mayo HS a little more enjoyable...

Erin has been having a tough week. She told me she's just sad, and she doesn't know why. This is a tough parenting dilemma for me. My fallback position is always, "of course you are sad about Shannon." But what if that's not it? Does everything we feel have to come back to that event?

I know I still think about Shannon every day.

But, Erin is navigating high school and all the emotions that go along with the day to day life of a teenager. Maybe she's sad about a grade or a friend or who knows... maybe it has nothing to do with Shannon.

And yet, everything seems to always come back to that. At least for me. The loss off Shannon.  It is the specter under which we live out our lives.

I am working my new job now and loving it, preparing posts for the Mayo Clinic News Network three days a week. Even that feels like it's because of Shannon. I mean, would I have become a writer if it weren't for our journey with Shannon? Most likely not.

I guess I have to accept that my life is the way it is now partly because of Shannon. Losing her changed me in ways I'm still learning about 38 months later. Is my new job a gift from Shannon? I guess I have to try to think of it in those terms. Maybe there is a tinge of guilt that I feel for having good things come from something so horrible.

And yet, isn't this better than the alternative? I could just say screw it and check out and curl up in a ball. I have to be confident that the best way to honor Shannon is to go on living.  Make a life for myself and Erin and Dan. I have to believe that's what Shannon would want for us.

It doesn't really get easier, though, it just gets different...

"Grief can't be shared.  Everyone carries it alone.  His own burden, his own way..." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh