I realized yesterday that April 5 and May 1 are the two most important days in my life. Each year I move into spring with longing, anticipation, joy, and that whispered shadow that I have embraced as part of my forever.
When we experience something incredible, be it incredibly sad or incredibly wonderful, it is felt and held in every cell. Days come and go, months, years, even decades but the memory is held, passed to each new cell by the worn ones, becoming a part of who we are.
I don't consciously dread or avoid Shannon's birthday and Heaven day. I embrace them and claim them whole heartedly as my month to feel as deeply as I can. To love and mourn and miss and celebrate and remember. Some days I feel numb. Some days I want to scream. Some days I want to open the flood gates and release the tears that stay tucked away in deference to a life that wants my undivided attention. Some days I just "leak" a little and smile and remember small hands and belly laughs and good night smooches and philosophical debates and iced tea in a hammock that miraculously held us both.
If you haven't been there, you can't really understand. That's okay. You might believe that "time heals all wounds" or that after fourteen years "it's time to move on". Neither is true. We live with what we cannot change and hopefully summon enough courage and grace to live a life that is a testament to love's power to lift us . But we live with a wound that truly never heals. I found a quote once, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, "If we are strong enough to be weak enough, we are given a wound that never heals. It’s the gift that keeps the heart open." It is true and although some days I fail miserably, most days, my heart is open and Shannon is there.
Yesterday, you remembered with me. Some of you grew up with Shannon. Some of you grew up with me. Some of you never knew either of us before but have found it in your hearts to love us both. All of you celebrated Shannon's life with me yesterday and I don't have words to adequately express my appreciation.
The new photos are in the garden. My neighbors and their children sat with us. There were bunny cupcakes and lemonade, bubbles and balloons. The wind was gentle and the sun was warm and our conversations danced between protecting two year olds from bridge crossings, sending notes to Heaven by balloon, buttercups under the chin, dark beer vs. light and the precious gift of sleeping babies.
Of course we missed those not visibly present but there was an undeniable knowing that we were in the presence of Angels.
Lori had lunch with me at Sammy T's, Shannon's favorite lunch spot... and one of the few favorite places that has stood the test of time... Sammy's and Jabberwocky ! So grateful.
So, we move into another day, together. There is comfort in knowing that we stay connected and as we share our joys and our sadness, one multiplied and the other lessened by that sharing, we are moving together.
Thank you ... for accepting me where I am, understanding without explanation and for always holding on to the memories that we share.