Wednesday July 29, 2015

Shannon would have turned 17 today. Our fourth summer without her rolls on...

I often think of how unfair it is in the context of being her mother. I didn't get a chance to see her grow up and I feel cheated.

But sometimes I'm reminded to think of it in the context of what others lost.

My parents, who not only had to watch their granddaughter die, but now live with watching their own daughter go on living with that loss. That's a double whammy.

Dan and his whole family. The O'Hara cousins are getting to spend a lot of time together this summer with two family weddings.  I know they miss Shannon, and their chain of cousins has a missing piece.

And Erin. She really got cheated. She is lonely sometimes without her sister. Summer brings lots of opportunities to realize what she's missing.

Those family weddings - seeing siblings stand up for one another - has an edge to it for Erin. She won't get that chance.

Summer also finds Erin hanging out with friends - and their siblings. Seeing two teenage sisters together - the older one driving the younger one around - well, that can be a painful reminder of what she's lost.

Kids this age start to think about their future. Erin will be here after Dan and I are gone. She will be the one to carry on our story. That's a big burden.

Most of the time, Erin doesn't show her pain and she carries on with confidence and a smile most days.

But every once in a while, she lets it go. Last night there were tears, missing her sister. We sat together and just allowed ourselves to miss her. Nothing wrong with that.

Happy birthday, Shannon.