Shannon's 19th birthday

We are at Shannon's favorite spot, the O'Hara cabin on Lake Hubert, on what would have been her 19th birthday. Morning coffee in my lime green adirondack next to the Shannon rock is the perfect place to reflect on so many memories of her days up here.

The excitement she would have when we'd first arrive. How she was always ready to go jump in the lake, no matter the weather. Hours and hours and hours of swimming and making up silly games in the water. She was a fish.

She and Erin would negotiate who got the bed by the window on the porch. Shannon always came out on top in that negotiation. Trips to our favorite breakfast spot, trips to the grocery store for s'mores fixings and maybe a movie rental. Trips to Rafferty's pizza and the Chocolate Ox for candy. This place is full of Shannon memories.

I know that Shannon wanted us to go on living after she was gone. She told Dan and I that in her last days. "You have to be there for Erin so she can have a good life..."

Erin's life is full of love and laughter. Not just with Dan and me, but with the friends she has made and chooses to surround herself with on a daily basis. Many of those people are here with us this weekend. Erin's two best pals, Lexie and Liz, plus their families and another friend Marcus have joined us. 13 people here to celebrate Shannon's birthday with us. She'd love that.

Shannon has blessed us with so much. She continues to impact our lives in ways we are still figuring out. She changed us for the better in so many ways. Our relationships are deeper and our lives are full of meaning. We live with the hole in our hearts always. The pain never goes away. It ebbs and flows and sometimes hits us when we least expect it. It's ok to feel it, though. She deserves to be remembered.

Happy birthday, Shannon.