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April 2010

"Thank you for a productive week.  Thank you for McDs.  Thank you for cute houses.  Thank you for the smell of fresh cut grass.  Thank you for time with just me and the 'mules'."    SAB 4-30-1998


So here we are.  The day I've been moving toward since January 1.  The last entry in Shannon's gratitude journal...and as so many days before, our lives have once again meshed ... past and present.

I spent the day with Mom.  We bought dirt.  We looked at what we hope will be my nephew's 'cute' new house with his wife and baby son.  We mowed grass and now I'm home, just me and the "mules" - animules.  Oh and we had lunch from McDonald's... and I hadn't read ahead... so I didn't know until now that these were her thank yous for today.

I think I've almost come to the conclusion that writing this blog, this year, is a way for me to finally grasp what it means to live with loss.  In other cultures, mourning is respected, extended, sometimes for years.  There are rules for dress during mourning, "Mourning is worn for six months for a sibling. Parents will wear mourning for a child for "as long as they feel so disposed.  A widow is supposed to wear mourning for two years and is not supposed to enter society for twelve months".  In our culture, or at least in my experience, I was given five days.  Five days to close the chapter and prepare to move on.  I did my best.

I took an extra week off from work, a week of vacation.  I understand there was some discussion about whether I was taking vacation or excused time and 'additional' excused time was not supposed to be granted for a death.  People can be so incredibly insensitive. 

 I wrote my thank you notes, we took Shannon's flowers to family members at the cemetery, we held each other, we cried, we didn't eat or sleep, we went through the motions, did what we thought we were supposed to do. Then we went back to work.  We volunteered for LifeNet, we made bookmarks, we tried to be there for families going through loss.  Our greatest comfort seemed to come when we were embracing, comforting someone else in pain.  We tucked our sorrow safely inside.  We celebrated Shannon's life every chance we had.  I went back to school.  I worked long days and watched a lot of television.  I even spent far too much time playing mindless computer games.  I kept moving, moving, moving.  We created our Angel Tree.  I read every book on the market about surviving loss. I knew that statistics made it clear that 75% of marriages don't survive the loss of a child.  We just kept moving, breathing, and holding on to each other.

It's been twelve years since Shannon's accident.  I think I finally need to write it all down, as many details as I can remember, before time causes the memories to fade.  It's not because of sadness or depression or a morbid need to relive that day, but there is such incredible significance to Shannon 'leaving'.  Nothing will ever be the same and it is all so meaningful, so tender, so profound... I want to be sure that I don't miss a thing.  So here we are, April 30, again.

Sometimes we miss the significance of the details, but here's one that might make clear what I'm trying to say.  You know the Leonard Cohen song " Hallelujah " ( )?  Well, I had only heard it once before I saw the Canadian Tenors on Oprah, and I didn't remember where.   I bought the CD and listened to the song over and over... the harmony brought tears to my eyes... until I really listened to the line..."she broke your throat, she cut your hair", yuck.  It ruined the whole experience for me.  The song took on an entirely different feel.  I was telling Denise, and she said "Oh yeah, that's the song from Shrek".  I said, "But that line about cutting his throat... ick."  She said, with a kind smirk on her face... " She broke your THRONE."  Okay, so hearing is the second thing to go.

I was so relieved.  Now I can listen to the song a million more times with peace of mind.  But you see how relevant the details are?  That was just one word...two letters, actually, and I almost gave up something that gives my heart wings.

Two years before Shannon's accident, she went with me to a Regression Therapist.  I don't know exactly how God planned for us to learn all of our lessons and grow spiritually, but I can't help but think that maybe we do get more than one chance...and I wanted the experience of a Past Life Regression to see what I might remember.  My sweet Shannon agreed to go with me. "What the heck!"  The one love in her young life had ended badly, he was dating, and she was struggling with letting go.  I knew it couldn't hurt to explore her feelings in the alternative setting and to be honest... it was amazing.  She regressed to a lifetime with him where the roles were reversed and she had left him.  Regardless of whether past lives are possibilities or just hooey, Shannon felt better and that was all that mattered.  Well, anyway, the session was recorded and this morning I listened to it as I drove to my Moms. It was wonderful to hear Shannon's voice !

I have thought about Shannon's transplant recipients all day today.  They didn't realize that their lives were about to change, health restored and hope for a future realized.  They didn't know Shannon.  Shannon didn't know them, but we were all about to collide.  Our lives changed in the blink of an eye.

On the night of April 30, 1998, Shannon wrote her thank yous and then on the last page before May 1 she wrote,

"First thing, I'm now 23.  I don't feel older, but people keep reminding me of my age and the things I need to do to live up to it.  Things are back to normal with Gram and I spent this last week of April with her as her paid handy man, as much a blessing to her as it is to me 'cause I need the mula.  I quit WW 'cause I was gaining weight, but Mom seems to be doing well, hope she keeps it up.  I'm thankful for the life I have, nothing I want that I can't obtain, wonderful family and friends, and lucky enough to take my time finding a job.  Of course I know it's time to do so.  Everyone seems to be doing well right now and for that I am thankful."

Tomorrow, I won't have her thank yous to begin each entry.  Not until August 7, which is the date it all began the summer before.  What I hope unfolds as I continue to write, is the beauty of this journey.  We have been blessed with so many messages from Shannon.  Things that have no other explanation.  Things that made us smile in spite of ourselves.

It's okay if you don't believe.....just enjoy and blame it all on imagination or wishful thinking but if it gives your heart comfort, that's all that really matters.


"Thank you for a productive week.  Thank you for McDs.  Thank you for cute houses.  Thank you for the smell of fresh cut grass.  Thank you for time with just me and the 'mules'."    JJB    4-30-2010


"Thank you for a beautiful day.  Thank you for time to get things done.  Thank you for the dogs and Sun.  Thank you for daytime T.V.  Thank you for june bugs."    SAB    4-29-1998

I pushed the step stool against the wall to steady it.  I looked out across my Mom's backyard.  I could hear her in the other room ironing.  We were spring cleaning today.

"Mom, do you remember what you and Shan were doing on this day twelve years ago?"

"Probably washing windows."

Shanembridge I stood there holding a bottle of Windex and a paper towel and thought about how often life repeats and circles and meets itself.  I wanted more.  I wanted her to give me details of that week.  I wanted to know what time they got up, what the weather was like,  I wanted to know what they talked about and if she was happy.  I wanted to know what they had for breakfast and lunch and dinner.  "Probably washing windows" wasn't enough but I didn't say so.  I took the step stool out the back door and as I cleaned the outer panes, the glazing chipped and fell into my hand.  I remembered more.  I remembered Shannon asking me about glazing and if I thought she could do it.  Of course she could...and did... and twelve years later, dry and cracking, a small piece fell into my hand.

I met Jill's bus and I told her about my "low carb" diet.  She offered me carrots instead of chips and then asked if she could watch a movie in the den.  She put the television on Oprah, made sure I had a blanket and as she left the room, she said, "I love you".   "I love you too Sweetie'.  Sometimes it's the simplest thought, the nonchalant sentiment that mends the break.

When Denise got home we sat in the swing, in the afternoon sun.  It felt warm and safe and we talked about that thing we do...that thing that makes us stick our tongue on a canker sore or in a canyon where a filling fell out... or poke a sore muscle or pick at a scab.  It's as if we have to keep checking to see if it still hurts.  I know, to some of you, it must seem like that is what I am doing.  Maybe.  But I realized driving home, that so much of losing Shannon is still surreal.  I no longer listen for her car, or her music or expect to hear her voice when the phone rings...but I never expected to be on the planet without her and that fact is still... on occasion...even twelve years later, a shock to my system.  So, it hurts to relive that last week...moment by moment, and to want someone to remember with me.  But the pain proves that it was real, that I am still breathing, that my heart still holds her and trusts that she is happy and watching and will be waiting, proves that it's not a dream.

Some of you love me enough to want me to be 'happy'.  Please don't worry.  I'm okay...but once a year, I reserve the right, a Mother's right to grieve.  No public displays are necessary.  But in those moments when I'm alone in the car, I will weep. 

I am blessed with people who love Shannon and aren't afraid of the pain that comes with that love.  We can share memories and laugh at the silliness and sit together in silence, wishing for one more day.  Something breaks in us when someone we love returns to Heaven.  We know they are wonderfully happy, that they are in no pain, whole and healthy and aware that we are going to struggle, trusting that we will be okay... but sometimes none of that matters.  Some times, we just want what we want.  We want that other life, the one that was safe and familiar and we could wrap our arms around them and look into their eyes and smooch on their face.  We want them with us... in the flesh !!Girlsbridg

Denise and I both lost our best friend that Friday afternoon twelve years ago.  We both feel the unmistakable, ache, deep down inside.  It's subtle, like something worn close to your skin, beneath your clothes, you know it's there but no one else has to.  With the sun on the back of our necks this afternoon, we remembered our best friend.  The sky seemed bluer, the leaves greener than I have ever seen them before.  Two strawberries were ripening in the pot by the swing.  A tiny speck of metal flashed in the sunlight and drew a white line across that incredibly blue sky, carrying travelers home, or on business or to some adventure.  Jill was watching Indiana Jones and although I couldn't see it, I heard the twitter of a hummingbird trying to visit the bright red feeder, unseen.

Life is ever and always affirming itself.  I'm still here.  I'm still breathing and I'm okay... but I am Shannon's Mom and I can't see her for now, and this will always be the week I give myself to feel her absence ... and her presence, without explanation or apology.

I love you for remembering with me, my Angel or yours.


"Thank you for woodwork, windows and carpets cleaned.  Thank you for everyone who has sheltered and supported and loved us through time.  Thank you for old friends and new.  Thank you for bluest skies.  Thank you for patio swings."   JJB    4-29-2010


"Thank you for gentle spring breezes.  Thank you for the ability to get things done.  Thank you for Free and Clear.  Thank you for yard work.  Thank you for little boys and their baseball games."    SAB 4-28-1998

For a second, I was envious that Shannon spent her last week on Earth in Culpeper.  Selfishly I wanted all of her last days.  I wanted to give her a smooch every morning before I left for work.  I wanted to hear the sound of her voice when I came home in the afternoon.  I wanted to eat dinner with her and tell her about how much I was struggling with my new job responsibilities.  I wanted to hear the water in her shower running and smell Agree and chase the sunset to get pictures of Denise and Todd's house.  I wanted her last week on Earth.

Culpcousins Then I realized how much it would mean to her cousins and to Gram in the days to come.  How they would be able to laugh about their antics and their lunches and how silly Shannon was about sleeping in a bed in a single story house where someone could climb in the window !  I have Shannon's lifetime ...memories that were made moment by moment for twenty three years.  Her cousins were little... they would need that last week to hold on to. 

I'm sad at times, that Shannon didn't have more time with her Louisiana cousins...but distance didn't diminish how much she loved them.  With them, she had crawfish and alligators and learning to water ski.  Old Red Eye and the bayou, dress up and the loft and home movies and Raggedy Anns and doll houses and Fort Morgan and swimming and mosquitoes.    Our vacations were always to Louisiana and she looked so forward to those trips.Louis cousins  

On one occasion everyone was in Fredericksburg for Thanksgiving.  The children made a episode of the Oprah Winfrey show.  Shannon's cousin was Oprah. She was a riot as she interviewed each of her cousins who had  experiences with ghosts and how the experience  had affected their lives.  It is positively hysterical.  

We grow up together, our families.  Weddings, babies, christenings, holidays,birthdays, vacations, graduations... a never ending journey of 'hellos' and 'good byes' and ' I love yous'.

Shannon loved family above all else.  I know without doubt that she is is watching over all of us.

Denise's invitations arrived that Tuesday.  They were printed on the back instead of the front.  I made frantic phone calls to the company explaining that we had to have them by Friday...printed correctly!  Jules and I tried to fix the hot water heater but finally had to accept the inevitable purchase of a new one.

Shannon helped Gram caulk her windows.  She went to the little boys baseball games.  They laughed and they played and they enjoyed their ordinary days.  I watched a repeat of Grey's Anatomy this afternoon. The one where a bomb goes off outside of an operating room.  Meredith asks "What would you do if you knew this was your last day?"  I hope to be surrounded by the people I love, laughing and playing and simply enjoying an ordinary day.   

I envied my family for having Shannon's last week... but only for a second.

"Thank you for Valerie.  Thank you for Jane.  Thank you for Jules.  Thank you for yesterdays, todays and tomorrows.  Thank you for Shannon." JJB    4-28-2010

"Thank you for getting me to Gram's safely.  Thank you for new ideas.  Thank you for new $ ventures.  Thank you for Wal Mart.  Thank you for hot bubble baths." SAB 4-27-1998

I remember that Monday morning.  Shannon was going to spend the week with Gram to do her "handy man" stuff.  Like every morning since she was diagnosed with diabetes I gave her a kiss on her cheek before leaving for work,

"Are you okay?"

"Yes Mom I'm fine!"

"What's thirteen and sixteen?"

" go to work."

"Call me when you get to Mom's."

"Okay let me go back to sleep."

"I love you Sweetie."

"Love you too...even though you are annoying !"

Funny how you form habits that last and last.  When you are experiencing low blood sugars, you can't think, so math became our sign.  If Shannon couldn't think clearly enough to 'do the math', we knew she was in trouble, and could take the appropriate action in time.  Of course, there were occasions when she told me the wrong answer just to see if I could 'do the math'.

  Shanandem Our hot water heater broke that day.  Until this minute, I hadn't realized the significance of Shannon's gratitude for hot bubble baths... had she not been at Gram's, it would have been a cold bubble bath.

This is really all I remember about that day. Shannon had a conversation about going to Gram's with her Dad, and told him that he would have to be home on time on Friday so we could go out to dinner.  Denise was coming for the weekend and they were planning to finish printing her wedding invitations.

Ordinary day.  Ordinary moments.  When I was working with my Mom last Friday, and told her that we had to take a break for lunch, she said that that's the way Shannon worked too.  They'd be weeding or mulching or washing windows and Shannon would have a "Mac Attack" and they would stop and run to McDonald's for lunch.  Wonderful Ordinary Days.

"Thank you for 'I love yous' always said.  Thank you for new azaleas planted.  Thank you for surviving three days without carbs.  Thank you for afternoon IM conversations.  Thank you for that good tired that follows hard work and completed tasks."   JJB    4-27-2010 

"Thank you for moose.  Thank you for blue.  Thank you for dragonfly.  Thank you for old clothes that feel like a second skin.  Thank you for patience."    SAB    4-26-1998

My intent was to place this entry on the 23rd of April but then I realized that it felt more appropriate to share Shannon's thoughts on the day that they would have reached her exchange partner, Annie of Oregon.
~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~
April 23, 1998
Dear Annie,
One of the suggestions the GAP made was to send a note and a picture of yourself, so that's what this is, which is probably obvious.  Just in case you wonder when you see 'Planetary Synthesis', I'm 23.  I became interested in art in high school and majored in studio art in college, whether that's apparent or not when looking at my interpretation of global unity is questionable.  My Mom and I did this together (her match is from England, so her exchange is truly on the global scale).
Planetary Synthesis My original idea was to have four hands, each holding a candle, starting with a baby's hand, then a child's, then an adult's, then the older hands which are in 'Planetary Synthesis'.  The candle in the baby hand would be unlit, the adult candle would be lighting the child's, and the elder's candle would be burning.  Each hand was going to be one of the four colors (red,yellow,black and white) representing not only the different races, but also the four directions (north, south, east and west).  Then the candles would represent the four elements with the first candle being the sky (air), the second looking like the ocean (water), the third being grasses (earth), and the fourth being lava (fire, and also the core of the earth).

Annie, I hope I haven't lost you yet.  Anyway, that got to be too complicated, so I simplified it.

The set of old hands melds from red to yellow to black to white ( I hope that is apparent ) representing all of the races in one ~ one form of unity.  The candle has all of the four elements in it starting with lava going to grass to ocean to sky to cosmos ~ representing everything from the center of the earth out to the universe as a whole.  So we all together hold up this light and keep it going just as the earth supports our lives and keeps us going.  I decided on a candle and hands simply because I like them.  And even though I love the idea of global unity, and I think the Global Art Project was a wonderful idea (and I'm glad that I was part of it), I think it's important to realize that there is so much more out there that is beyond the earth.  I don't know how you feel about there being life beyond this planet, but I believe there is, there's just too much space out there for there to be no one else on any of the other planets.
I hope I didn't bore you ( I have a tendency to babble, at times).  I also hope that you enjoy 'Planetary Synthesis' or are at least inspired by it.  You probably know this, but it's done in colored pencil.  It's not exactly what I pictured, but I think it gets the point across.  This project has made me realize that it may one day be possible for everyone to live in harmony, at least I hope so.  Best wishes with everything that you do in life.  Hoping this will find you well and happy.Shannon copy  
Shannon A. Broom
P.S.  I also like that the exchange starts the day after Earth Day (April 22).  I'm guessing it was done that way on purpose, which makes the project that much more profound.
  ~  Shannon
~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~
This year, this week, art is circling the globe.  It is created by anyone who has a vision for a world of inclusion and gentleness.  I am extremely grateful to Katherine Josten for her vision and tireless efforts to encourage, inspire and ultimately realize the dream of global peace. 
"Thank you for Planetary Synthesis.  Thank you for our ever present quest for peace.   Thank you for unconditional love.  Thank you for my Shannon and her vision of unity.  Thank you for open hearts and open minds."    JJB    4-26-2010

"Thank you for The Good Earth.  Thank you for Mom spending $ on herself and me.  Thank you for limitless choices.  Thank you for a drive and time to watch.  Thank you for cute little men that shake hands and introduce themselves when you visit their place of business."    SAB    4-25-1998

There was a wonderful little shop between Culpeper and Madison that Shannon and I loved to visit. "The Good Earth"  had everything from cedar and sage smudge sticks to amazing art from around the world.  There were rain sticks and crystals and books and native american carvings and pouches and organic foods and soaps.  Tibetan prayer flags, wooden flutes, turquouise jewelry, embroidered soft cotton blouses and hand painted scarves.  Everything was Earth friendly and life affirming and it smelled wonderful, like patchouli and honeysuckle and there was always music playing that soothed and lifted, filled with the sounds of babbling brooks and birdsongs.

What I remember most about this day, twelve years ago, is Shannon standing in front of a stained glass window holding a wooden box.  Rainbows danced across her hair as she carressed the box, carved by hand from mesquite that was gathered in the desert in Uvalde Texas and lovingly transformed by the Hummers.  Each box on the shelf was unique with tiny hidden drawers that perfectly complimented the curve and texture of the wood.  Shannon wanted one but they weren't inexpensive so she decided to wait and let me give her one for Christmas...Christmas and this was only April... always planning... always thinking ahead. 


On the way home, we stopped at a new nursery that had just opened in Spotsylvania, in an old farm on Route 3.  It was family owned and when we got out of the car, Mr. Mullins, in his bib overalls and straw hat, greeted us, introduced himself and shook our hands.  We purchased hanging baskets of soft pink geraniums.  It was sunny and warm and we had driven all day with the windows down in the van, just enjoying the breeze.  I had no idea that Mr. Mullins had made such an impression on Shannon until several weeks later when I read her journal.

We never know as we move through our days, how precious the little things are, or will become. 

After Shannon returned to Heaven, we returned to The Good Earth to get Shannon's box.  While we were there, we asked the couple who owned the shop if they could give us a way to contact the Hummers.  With their help, and the kindness of a group of strangers in Uvalde, Texas, the Hummers carved ten more of the smooth drawered boxes.  We attached  small brass nameplates engraved with Shannon's name to each one and each drawer safely held a colorful Tibetan  pouch with some of Shannon's ashes.  Our family is very traditional and without a cemetery to visit they were feeling unsettled.  Jules and I felt that the small memorials, shared with those Shannon loved, might ease their sorrow.

The cute little man, Mr. Mullins, was one of the founders of the Mullins and Thompson Funeral Services in Fredericksburg before purchasing the nursery.  They handled Shannon's memorial arrangements and later in the capacity of landscapers, helped us to create Shannon's Garden.

Each moment is just another stitch in the tapestry of our lives... a tapestry that only becomes clear as we step back and gaze with wonder at how each stitch connects to another and then another to form the artistry of 'us'.

Today is my sister's birthday.  She is with Shannon.  I wish that I could remember her... I was only four when she returned to Heaven but I miss her even now.  For many years her birthday and her Heaven day went unacknowledged.  I only knew from memories of my parent's sorrow that it was better not to mention her name or ask too many questions... until I lost my own child.   My Mom told stories of family members coming in and putting photos away.  I remember a cedar chest with Melinda's little clothes and a doll and the photographs sitting silently at the foot of her bed.  One day I walked in on my Dad, sitting on my child sized rocker holding her picture and crying softly to himself.  I was aware of my Mom's heartache each year as her Heaven Day came and went but we never talked about it. 

After Shannon "left" it became important to me to remember Melinda, and my brother in law, Lee, as well.  I know it seems a little silly, too simplistic perhaps, but it's just as easy to have three names on our Angel Remembrance cake as one and it became another tradition that allows us to keep their days special, and a part of our continuing journey.


Melinda and me

"Thank you for Melinda... and knowing that she is with Shannon.  Thank you for the emotional comfort of celebrating life with cake.  Thank you for new deck steps completed.  Thank you for that secret place inside that is touched by the changing color of sunlight and shadow.  Thank you for love that outlasts memory." JJB    4-25-2010

"Thank you for the extra $. Thank you for next weeks $ opportunity.  Thank you for time to clean.  Thank you for the beautiful weather.  Thank you for the green that I wake up to every morning."   SAB    4-24-1998

Shannon's view 
The view of green from Shannon's window

"Thank you for Paw Paw.  Thnk you for the gift buys.  Thank you for lunch with Mom.  Thank you for invitations working.  Thank you for "Friends" and the right thing happening."    SAB 4-23-1998
Deskscan 357
Shannon and her Paw Paw at Niagara Falls 

"Thank you for the Earth.  Thank you for a good day with Gram.  Thank you for the pansies she found.  Thank you for an abundance of birds.  Thank you for the abundance of trees for them to live in."    SAB   4-22-1998
There were a lot of days when Shan spent the day with her Gram.  I think she worried about her getting older, seeming more frail, and after the January fall, it was a reality we all had to face.  My Mom was diagnosed with cardio myopathy ten years earlier.  Her physician told her to expect to be on oxygen and in need of a transplant within ten years.  Never really buying into the power of positive thought, we had to strenuously encourage her to trust her own power to heal over the best guess of her doctor.  It was a struggle.  I remember giving her a copy of Bernie Siegel's book "Love, Medicine and Miracles" but I'm certain she never read it.Shan Gram Candy
There is a lot to be said for stubborn hard headed determination,  we all have more than our fair share of each.... and we believe in miracles.
Miracles are hard to define with our limited human understanding of the workings of Heaven.  Wikipedia says "a miracle is a phenomenon not fully explainable by known "laws" of nature, or an act by some supernatural entity or unknown, outside force.  Amazon lists 21,195 books with Miracle in the title or synopsis, and 2,219 musical hits, so I'm not the only one who has pondered the meaning or frequency or requirements for and of miracles....but I have no doubt.
There are certain paths that we choose before we come.  At least that is what I believe.  Life unfolds, providing us with opportunities to learn and grow and remember the Divine spark that glows in each of us.  I believe that we have approximate arrival and departure times and those are predetermined but there are certain flexibilities that are to be expected along the way.  When my Mom got sick, I prayed for a miracle.  She is still here so I guess I could assume that we got one.  On the other hand, I prayed for a miracle when the doctor told me that Shannon would never wake up.  Am I to assume that God sits in Heaven with a finite number of miracles to give and based on some arbitrary list of qualifications on any given day decided who is worthy and who isn't?  Absolutely and unequivocally NOT ~
My prayer for a miracle was answered.  I loved Shannon every second of her life on Earth.  I will continue to love her every second of every day until I join her.  But I had to respect that she had done what she came here to do, and it was her time to go Home.  I still have lessons to learn, people to love, air to breathe, flowers to smell and days to appreciate.  I still have to learn patience and find calm.
I'm sure I will never be able to say this with the clarity that I feel it but ... on May 1, 1998, I prayed for a miracle.  I thought I was praying for Shannon to open her eyes, to be whole and happy and stay with me.  I was selfish. I wanted what I wanted.  I couldn't begin to imagine never hearing her voice again.  Everything I had shared with her about the continuation of life and love, and the amazing beauty of Heaven... I forgot all of that for a while.  I just wanted Shannon.
At the same time that I was praying for a miracle....there were other mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers also hoping and praying.  The way that we all touched, anonymously at first,  is the miracle.  A decision that Shannon made when she was nine... fourteen years earlier, answered the request for a miracle.  None of us know when we will depart, but Shannon made it clear that if possible, when she left this life, she wouldn't need her body and she wanted it to help someone.
Shannon didn't die so that someone else would live.  Shannon lived every second of her life and when she was through, she went Home.  The people who received gifts from Shannon are incredibly special.  They gave us the opportunity to be a part of the miracle of their lives.  They allowed Shannon to do what she always did best... give of herself.
My Mom wants to live to be 95.  I want her to do just that.  She is adamant about using every extraordinary means known to medical science to keep her on the planet.  Shannon and I always agreed that we would never do that to one another.  The accident left Shannon's body incapable of sustaining her life but her understanding of and ability to act in selfless ways, allowed her to give hope and life to another family, and that gave hope and life to us.
No matter how hard we try, some things are just too immense to understand with our minds, we have to give them to our hearts and just experience the perfection.  Miracles are that immense, and when we are lucky enough to share in one, we are forever changed.  But because they are immense we might miss them, the whole forrest for the trees thing... so we learn, as we can, to not only understand with our hearts but to see with our hearts as well.Willow angels_edited-1
The spark that glows within us ...  never dims, never dies, always ... if we will only see... shows us our connection to each other and then shows us the way Home... that is truly our miracle.
"Thank you for reminders.  Thank you for the courage it takes to open your heart.  Thank you for the friends that Shannon continues to give us.  Thank you for the wisdom of children.  Thank you for the spark, the undeniable connection that keeps us from feeling alone."  JJB   4-22-2010

"Thank you for getting a day further in life.  Thank you for a new art thing.  Thank you for the bird pictures.  Thank you for the invitations being underway.  Thank you for family caring enough to ask."    SAB 4-21-1998

Sometimes, when I worry about not knowing which way to go in life, I remember when Shannon was getting ready to leave for college.  I was sure that my heart would break when I moved her into her dorm room in August of 1993.  It didn't seem possible that she was all grown up, trying her wings, fending for herself and feeling the exhilaration and the uncertainty of independence.

She didn't know anyone on campus.  Her roommate was a random selection and they had only had telephone conversations prior to moving in.  Shannon had never had to share space.  She had her own bedroom and bathroom, a Mom and Dad that she had never had to share, her own way of expressing anger or sadness or delight.  I was worried that they would have nothing in common...that Shannon would be lonely or homesick or lost.  I needn't have worried.  There were forces at work so much wiser than those of a mere mortal Mom.

In their freshman year, Shannon and Denise were lovingly referred to as the "Hidden Ones".  They were quiet and shy.  They didn't party.  They took their classes seriously and were only five miles from home, so most weekends, they stayed with us. They brought their laundry and their books and most Fridays were movie nights.  I usually went by Giant and picked up seafood salad and Ruffles and soft sub rolls and we all ate seafood salad sandwiches and watched movies.  I loved those nights.

Of course they had arguments and pitched fits but once it was over it was over, and they never stayed mad for very long.  They hated the boys that broke the other's heart and plotted elaborate fantasy revenge on the women that stole them away.  They wrote silly non rhyming poems for entertainment, and after graduation, the friendship never waned.

They designed Denise and Todd's wedding invitations and they were beautiful.  By April 21, the invitations had been ordered with only the basic printing.  The graphics were to be added by the girls the first weekend in May. 

I'm quite certain that no two friends ever loved each other more.  I should have simply trusted that Heaven had it all under control.

I never really thought about life a day at a time before Shannon returned to Heaven.  I always needed a plan and control and I was usually thinking days or weeks ahead so that I could foresee and detour around any bumps in the road.  One day at a time.  It's what we have, what we know and what we can appreciate... but Shannon knew that each day is precious and takes us one step further in life.

"Thank you for friendships made in Heaven.  Thank you for the sound of laughter.  Thank you for today.  Thank you for bluets.  Thank you for TGIF fried green beans."    JJB 4-21-2010