Today a cousin, who actually reads my Facebook page and blog, tells me that she is worried about me.  First of all, thank you.  It’s good to know that you care enough to take your time to read what I write.  It’s good to know that you care about me. And, it’s good to know you took the risk and the time to express your concern. That’s a leap in my family.

I was going to title this post “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” because I am a believer that whatever happens is what was supposed to happen. So, don’t worry about me.  Also, whatever happens in the short term or the intermediate term may be uncomfortable, but whatever happens to me in the long term, i’ll be just fine.  But, as I was coming back to “reality” this morning, lying in my bed at that time of day when the intellect is still mostly shut down and my intuition can come through the post morphed into writing about ambivalence.

Ambivalence is a funny word.  It’s one of my favorites.  I love the English language because there’s a word for everything (and many words that are just superfluous).  You hear ambivalence so rarely.  It’s often (I think usually) misused.  I worry about the word ambivalence. Because language is a dynamic thing, if enough people use a word a certain way for long enough, its very definition changes.  I think even the dictionary tends to short change the word ambivalence.  To be ambivalent is more than just being undecided. It is more than just mixed feelings.  It’s two opposing feelings coexisting.  To be ambivalent is more than to not care about an outcome.  To be ambivalent means to be torn between opposing desires or opinions.  

As I’ve been blogging this journey I’ve tried to make clear my ambivalence.  I’ve tried to express the balancing act.  I can see how people can read a post or two and think either a.) I’m over this.  I got this.  I’ve got a perspective that has allowed me to just breeze through it.  I’ve accepted the impermanence of life. I’ve realized the transcendence, Shayna is right here with me and all is well. or b.) I’m about to put a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger.  I’ve lost all will to live.   I just want this to be over.  I can’t handle it any more.  The reality is it’s both.  That is what I’ve tried to express.  There was that time when I put a knife to my ribcage and fantasized about plunging it into myself and just getting this over and the time when I fantasized about driving my car off the road and being instantly taken into Heaven. I’m on a Facebook group with about 7,000 grieving parents. Just about every day, at least several times a week, a mother (why is it always a mother) will post that all she wants to do is go be with her deceased child.  Many times the only thing keeping her here is another living child.  My feelings are not unique. They are far from unique. They’re way more common than you’re led to believe because we’re not allowed to express them in our society. People will think we’re crazy.  It’ll make people uncomfortable. Sorry. 

True ambivalence feels like it’s ripping  you apart.  It’s like having two horses one tied to each arm and they’re going in opposite directions.  The forces have to balance to maintain stasis. But, even in that stasis there can be great pain and discomfort.  The good news is as I’m making this journey, the ripping seems to be less.  Every day the gap closes. This eases the tension between staying here with Tywana and Kayla versus being Home with Shayna.  The gap has closed by 370 days from where it began.  If I think too much about the gap and I think about it being years or decades I can get out of balance.  I can’t deal with that.  I just want to be Home. But, even in those moments I know I’m not quite ready to go yet.  The will to live is still there, even if only for a little while.  I can make it another day, maybe another week. As long as I keep the focus there, I’m OK.  For now I can live with the ambivalence and as long as it’s ambivalence, I’ll be OK.

A medium told me Shayna takes great pride in sending rainbows to me. This is a special one. It had not rained at all day. I looked up as we were finishing our round of golf and saw this.

As with most things miraculous, there is a current scientific explanation for the phenomenon. In this case, it is a rare seldom seen rainbow that occurs when conditions are just right. Wikipedia gives it the name “Circumhorizontal Arc:”

“A circumhorizontal arc or circumhorizon arc (CHA), also known as a fire rainbow, is a halo or an optical phenomenon similar in appearance to a horizontal rainbow, but in contrast caused by the refraction of light through the ice crystals in cirrus clouds.
It occurs only when the sun is high in the sky, at least 58° above the horizon, and can only occur in the presences of cirrus clouds. It can thus not be observed at locations north of 55°N, except occasionally from mountains.

The phenomenon is quite rare because the ice crystals must be aligned horizontally to reflect the high sun. The arc is formed as light rays enter the horizontally-oriented flat hexagonal crystals through a vertical side face and exit through the horizontal bottom face. It is the 90° inclination that produces the well-separated rainbow-like colours and, if the crystal alignment is just right, make the entire cirrus cloud shine like a flaming rainbow.

Another reference notes: "The arc is a very large halo and is close to, and parallel to the horizon. Usually only fragments are visible where there happen to be cirrus clouds.” In other words a rainbow so big that it rolls right on out of the sky.
Still another sighting via National Geographic News adds:

“The arc isn’t a rainbow in the traditional sense – it is caused by light passing through wispy, high-altitude cirrus clouds. The sight occurs only when the sun is very high in the sky (more than 58° above the horizon). What’s more, the hexagonal ice crystals that make up cirrus clouds must be shaped like thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground.”

It’s the end of June. For Chrisrmas my brother gave me, as part of my present, a round of golf this Spring. I used to really be into golf. I would watch it on TV. I was constantly buying new clothing, clubs and other equipment. Before Kayla was born I was actually fairly good shooting in the low 80s on occasion.

I played one round last year and I think one or two rounds the previous year. My clubs used to stay in the trunk of my car. Now they sit in the garage. I’m just not into it anymore. Things change, even my passion for golf. My dreams of playing on the Senior Tour ended long ago.

It’s a good day for golf. It’s pretty hot, but bearable. I take the first tee shot wondering if my club will even come in contact with the ball. It’s not too bad. As the day goes on I remember what I liked about playing. But, by the time we reach number 15, I’m ready to head to the clubhouse. It’s never been like that before. I’d play 18 and be ready for 9 more.

Nothing is the same since Shayna passed. Nothing tastes as good. Nothing is as enjoyable. Sure there are times on the course where I actually forget what has happened in my life and I feel good about just being where I am and enjoying that next shot. But then I flash back to when I would be on this course I have played so many times before and I’d think about getting home to Tywana and the girls and remember that Shayna is not home waiting for me and reality would come crashing in to crush the moment.

It’s all a facade now. Any sense of normalcy you see from me is either fleeting or just an act to make other people do comfortable. I can’t talk about Shayna or death 24/7 because no one other than me wants to. But, I do. If it’s not front of mind for me, it’s right there just below the surface, lurking waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

As we are finishing up number 17 and I’m pretty much just ready to have this round over with I look to the sky. It’s been a sunny day, mercifully nixed with some clouds, just enough to make the late June Ohio humidity bearable. It hasn’t rained a drop, but as I look up into the clouds right there in the middle of the sky is a segment of a rainbow. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one like it. It’s just a straight line hanging there in the middle of the sky. Usually they are an arc. I’ve even seen a full circle.

One of the mediums I consulted told me Shayna is proud of the rainbows she sends. The whole time on the course I looked for signs from Shayna and maybe I saw some in the birds and the dragonflies, but this is definitely from her. I point the rainbow out to my brother, but I don’t tell him I think it’s a sign. He already thinks I’m crazy. I know people just want me to get back to normal. The truth is I was never normal though. And whatever I was I will never be again. I am forever and deeply changed, for better or for worse.

Overall, it was fun. I even found myself talking about buying another driver as we reviewed the say sitting on the deck, but the days of my passion for golf are passed. It was fun while it lasted. Life only moves in one direction. There is no going back.

In an effort to develop my intuition, I’m working on listening to it more- not just for big decisions.  It’s there for little things too. I get nudges, hunches and feelings that O ignore.  Many of them can make my life just a little easier, but I’m so analytical and so busy I push right through them most of the time.  

Today I’m finally going to fix that toilet in the girls’ bathroom that’s been running for a couple of months.  Not all the time, just occasionally, we will hear it run for a just a few seconds, maybe a minute. Then it’s fine for hours.  I’ve looked at it a couple of times.  i thought the water level was adjusted too high the first time, so I took it down a bit.  The second time the water level appeared to be fine.  So, I conclude the problem must the the “flapper” (I call it anyway). The flapper being the piece that lifts when you pull the handle and lets the water out, then falls into place so the tank can fill and it holds the water in.  If the seal isn’t water tight, the tank will slowly drain and have to refill.  I’m pretty confident with my diagnosis, so I’m headed out to Lowe’s to pick up a new flapper. I walk out the front door and pull it shut behind me when something says to me I better go back and look at the toilet again.  I had been concentrating on the part of the assembly that fills the tank and hadn’t even looked at the part where the flapper is.  Maybe the flapper is slightly different.  Also, the toilet is only about three years old. The flapper shouldn’t need replacing yet.  I better go look to make sure I’m buying the right part.  I head back inside, up the stairs, into the bathroom and I remove the lid from the tank. Yep. Good thing I came back. This is completely different. This looks nothing like the ones I’ve replaced before.  I pull the handle to lift the flapper which is a lot more substantial than the ones I’m used to making me think it’s probably not worn.  I fell around it for any gashes or cracks.  Nothing.  Completely smooth. Then, I see a thin grayish white line on a black part of the toilet. I think it’s probably some sort of sediment.  I go to wipe it off with my finger and I realize it’s rubber, like a rubber band. In fact, it looks like a piece of a rubber band you’d find in an office, but I’ve never seen a gray one.  I pull it and I realize it’s just a piece, but where it’s wedged, it was prevent the flapper from sealing properly.  My first thought is it’s a rubber gasket that wore out and snapped, but if it is I don’t know why they would such a thin one or one that would wear like this from sitting in water.  It’s a weekend, so the toilet company’s help line isn’t open. I set it aside and hope maybe that has fixed the problem.  My point with this way too long story is something told me the moment I stepped out onto the porch to go back inside and take one more look.  Not a big deal. Worst case I would have made a trip to the hardware store and bought the wrong part, but pretty cool that maybe I fixed the problem with that trip just because I listened to the nudge.

Next topic.  Last night I had a dream that had Shayna in it.  Sometimes a dream about a loved one is just a dream, not a visit.  I’m convinced this was that.  My friend Michelle posted a picture of Shayna a couple of days ago from when Shayna was I would guess around second grade.  That’s the age she was in my dream.  In my dream, she was sitting at a school desk and when I walked up, she was counting on her fingers like she used to do in kindergarten. She was hard at work on a math problem. I bent down to give her a hug and she let me hug her, but I could tell she was annoyed with me. I asked her how she felt.  In the dream I knew she had come back from the dead and I was worried how well the magic had worked and how long it would last. She told me that her stomach ached which worried me.  (Kayla had a stomach ache yesterday-I’m pretty sure that’s where that element of the dream came from).  But, Shayna was annoyed with me because her guides were telling her I really didn’t care about her and I guess I didn’t want her back.  I was trying to convince her that I did care about her when I woke up.  It was just a dream, but I was nice seeing her beautiful little face again and giving her a hug.  I can’t wait to hug her again for real.

OK.  So, I’m watching Vevo yesterday and this video comes on. I was captivated by it the first time I watched it. I think I ended up watching it about five times. I love the way the song builds to the perfect crescendo and whoever directed the video captured the vibe perfectly.

Kayla, Tywana and I couldn’t decide if the song is sad or happy. I think it’s a happy song.  I ended up listening to it twice again this morning.

It’s good to know there are still young people making good music.

A few days ago a very good friend called me to support me through the anniversary of Shayna’s passing. He is one of the few people in my life that I’ve known longer than Tywana. Our relationship spans back 30 years to the days when we were both single.  He’s seen me up and he’s seen me down.  He is the mentor who showed me how to start my business. But, over the years we don’t talk so much anymore. We used to talk every day.  Literally. He’d call me through the computer and we’d talk while we both worked.  It was like being in the same room together. Now, he lives two hours away and has for the past 19 years. Yet, I’ve never met his children and the oldest is graduating from high school.  

He starts the conversation with something like “Well, let’s get the bad part (or the awkward part, I can’t remember which) out of the way first.”  I’m thinking someone in his family must have died or is dying.  He continues “I know you have a difficult day coming up and I was thinking about you.  Kristi and I kept the program from Shayna’s service and we look at all the time and count our blessings.  There’s nothing I can say or do to make this better for you.”  I tell him it’s been a rough year, but we’re making it.  So, with that “out of the way”, we go into our conversation about business, the economy and politics- these are the thing we talk about when talk which is about every other month now.  Get the death stuff out of the way, then keep it light. That’s what we do and we’re both cool with that.

Yesterday I called my parents’ house to get the details on my cousin’s step son who passed recently.  We have also had a prominent member of our Monticello (Jefferson) family pass this week.  Dad picks up the phone. This means Mom is not home.  I ask him about Joe’s son and he tells me what he knows.  Then he mentions Shay (my relative who also passed this week).  He tells me that he knows we got a lot of cards and gifts on the anniversary of Shayna’s passing and mentions a celebration Brianna, put together for Shayna at my parents’ house in Columbus.  Brianna, is the closest person in the world to Shayna, besides Kayla.  Shayna and Kayla have a relationship that goes beyond sisterhood. Brianna and Shayna are like sisters. They are only a few months apart in age.  They have taken countless vacations together. They called each other Peanut Butter & Jelly and even composed a song about their relationship.  Brianna wanted to celebrate Shayna’s Birthday in Heaven. So, they got together in Columbus.  Dad tells me that Mom will have to tell me about it. I don’t ask him why Mom has to tell me about it when he and I are talking right here and now.  I just let that go.  He tells me that he still thinks about us and prays for us.  He tells me to tell Tywana and Kayla that he is still praying for them.  My Dad and I rarely have long telephone conversations. If I do call and for some reason he picks up the phone, if Mom is there, he will put her on quickly.  I expect this to be a short call once we get this part of the conversation out of the way and I know Mom’s not home. For some reason though, we shift to basketball and the Cavs, then to politics and we end up talking for about an hour.  I guess I’ll find out from Mom what I need to know about the celebration they had at the house.   Dad did good to talk about this as much as he did.  We have never had the kind of relationship where we talk about emotional stuff. He’s always been there for me, rock solid, but that’ just not him. After Shayna passed, for a while, he hugged me when he saw me, he told me that he loved me when we did talk on the phone. It was kind of strange, but nice. 

Different people have different comfort zones. I’m not criticizing my Dad or my friend.  They do what they do and I know that they care for me as much as people like my buddy Kevin who, when he calls, really wants to know how I’m doing.  

Part of navigating the grief minefield is knowing which conversations to have with which people.  Some people just want to hear “I’m doing OK” and move on to the next topic. After a while you learn to feel the conversations out knowing each person’s comfort zone and giving him the space to take it as far as he feels comfortable and leaving it there. With those people, you just keep it light.

Yesterday was Shayna’s “Angel-versary”.  My friend Michelle told me it would be the hardest thing I would ever do.  I didn’t know what she was talking about. Now I do.

I tried to keep the day as routine as possible.  I started with my walk. I intended to work a normal schedule.  Tywana had to go over to her mother’s to help her with laundry and things around her apartment. She also had a reiki/accupressure session that she purposely scheduled for the day of Shayna’s passing in tribute to Shayna and to have something to do on that day.  Kayla had a rough day and spent most of it in her room.  The result is, I was able to spend a lot of time alone which is good because I wasn’t pleasant to be around.

Many friends called, texted, sent cards, sent flowers, sent gifts.  It was like reliving the first week all over again.  Our friend Joan, whose daughter Victoria transitioned six months after Shayna, stopped by and brought a card and a lantern we launched last night in memory of Shayna. People wore clothes for Shayna.  A group of five of Shayna’s friends stopped by and brought flowers. They sat for a long time and reminisced about Shayna with us. A couple of them wore their “Queen Shay” t-shirts that someone had made.  I noticed several of them were wearing their “Play for Shay” bracelets.  The shirts reminded me that Susanne Wilson told me during my medium reading that Shayna says we are royalty.  Shayna made wonderful friends while she was here and they still miss her and are inspired by her.

So, with all of that support, it should have been a good day. It was not.  It felt like starting all over again with the grief only this time worse because last year it was totally uncharted waters.  Now I know exactly what I am facing and it sucks.  I cried more yesterday than I have in many months.  I screamed.  I threw things.  I’ve accepted Shayna’ passing, but I will never get used to it and I will never like it.  Never meaning as long as I’m in the flesh and the veil is between us.  I so look forward to the day when this all makes sense and is over.

We decided to have pizza for dinner. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re so often too lazy to cook or if it was in honor of Shayna.  Let’s go with in honor of Shayna.  By 8 o’clock I was exhausted.  I was ready for bed.  I just wanted the day over with.  But, I had Tywana and Kayla to think about.  We had the lantern to light and Kayla wanted to watch family movies of the girls. So, we chose the video that spans from the Christmas before Shayna’s January birth until the time when Shayna was about 8 months old.  Of course in the early part of the video, it’s just the three of us, Kayla, Tywana and i.  It’s come back around to that, but the three year old is now 19. Then there is me filming Tywana on the day Shayna was born. Shayna clearly did not want to be here.  We went into the hospital to have labor induced, arriving at 8 AM.  It’s a long, long story and 16-½ years later I still remember most of the details. Shayna was supposed to be delivered by noon. It was close to 11 PM before that girl finally made her arrival. And she only came after a very good scare.  Her heart rate fluctuated wildly going way too low and way too fast, alternately.  We thought we were out of the woods when she was born. We had absolutely no idea this would foreshadow her passing 15-½ years in the future from a heart defect she carried with her from that moment.  No wonder she didn’t want to come.  One of the nurses even remarked that it was clear Shayna liked it better where she was. She was talking about the womb. I think Shayna just liked it better in Heaven.

I cried watching the moment of her birth knowing that precious little girl that I adored would only be with us 15-½ years.  I nearly had to leave the room, but I stayed and we watched as Shayna learned to crawl, learned to walk and bonded with Kayla- a bond that would never be broken and I believe they had before they came to join our family here on Earth.

This morning I’m up early.  Nothing new. What is new is Tywana had a dream visit with Shayna last night, her first.  She has hoped and prayed for a visit from Shayna for nearly a year.  Whether to attribute it to the reiki or something else, who knows?  In her dream, Tywana looked out the window and saw a little girl swinging. The little girl was Shayna.  As they looked at each other their eyes locked, Tywana left the house and Shayna came running up to her and put her arms around her. They embraced for a long time. Tywana, being Tywana, started interrogating her.  “Are you happy? Do you live by yourself?  What do you do all day?”  Tywana told her how much she misses her. Shayna said she was very happy and her eyes danced up and down as she said it. She said she lives with a family.  Based on the medium readings I’ve had I’m pretty sure she’s met Tywana’s still-born brother Jeffery.  Shayna said she does something with the “mommys” who come there, but Tywana’s memory of that is  fuzzy.  In response to Tywana’s saying she misses her, Shayna said in her Shayna way of being somewhat compassionate, but somewhat scolding “I know Mommy, but you’ll be all right.”  We will Shayna.  We have no choice.  But, we miss you terribly. 

Well, it’s finally here.  June 24th, one year to the day since Shayna passed.  Today, the weather is very much like it was that day, warm, kind of overcast.  I had gotten up and gone for a walk. I came back and was sitting in my office, just like I am now when I heard Tywana scream from upstairs, the scream that marked the end of life as we had both known it.

If you would have asked me that day at the hospital or any day between then and now if I would still be alive one year later, I would have answered with a definite no.  There would be no way I could go on without Shayna, no way I’d want to go without Shayna. And I have not gone on without her.

Thankfully, for us, we were blessed with amazing friends and just the right support systems have fallen into place for us.  I was well aware of NDEs and I had no doubt that life continues after death.  Not for a moment have I thought Shayna is “gone”.  When I looked at her on that gurney in the hospital, I knew her spirit had left her body and I had to say good-bye to her body, but I knew Shayna was still alive and well. What I didn’t know at the time was how the departed aren’t so departed. They are right here with us.  Over the last year Shayna has let us know in ways big and small that she is not gone and will not be forgotten.

On Sunday, our pastor brought up Galatians Chapter 6 which goes, in part, like this.  

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load

On the surface it might appear as thought the first line contradicts with the last line.  “Carry each other’s burdens”, but “…each one should carry their own load.”  What Kathy told us is (for once) the translators got it right when they chose different words “burdens” in the first case and “load” in the second case. A burden is a large weight, a load that  would crush a man. It cannot be handled by one man alone.  A load is the amount that would fit into a backpack.  Boy, have we seen this play out over the last year.  Friends and family have gathered around us like we could not even have imagined. And, Shayna’s passing is a burden, not a load. There is no way we could have carried this weight alone.  On the other hand, there is only so much people can take from us.  Even the three of us, Kayla, Tywana and I- at the end of the day, each of us has to deal with this individually. We share resources.  We cry together. We talk to each other.  But, the way this world works is ultimately, the illusion of separation is so strong we cannot pierce it while we are in the flesh. We know that ultimately we are One, but that’s not the way we experience this world.

The support from friends has turned up this week. I’m amazed by how many people remembered the day was coming up.  Phone calls started coming in on Tuesday. Who remembers the date of the passing of someone else’s child? People have told us they have kept the program from Shayna’s Life Celebration. Some look at it every day.  We saw neighbors putting up fresh purple ribbons yesterday. It’s been a year. Some are fading.  I wondered when someone would take them down and people would move on, but Shayna continues on strong.

I got up early this morning. When I went into the bathroom, Zoe was laying on the floor. When it’s hot she moves from her bed to the cool tile.  Zoe’s 11 now and I’m just waiting for the bad news that she’s leaving us.  She’s been the best dog anyone has ever had.  As I walk into the bathroom, she often will not move a muscle. She just lays there like she’s dead.  I always look at her until I see some movement, a breath, maybe her opening an eye.  I look down at her. Her eyes are open.  Oh my God I think.  Not on the same day that Shayna died. I walk over to her.  Nothing. Not a blink. Then finally.  She blinks. She doesn’t move.  Just blinks and looks at me with one eye, not moving another muscle.  Whew!  One more day.

This morning on my walk, I saw a fox run across the road.  I’m not sure I’ve seen a fox in the 19 years I’ve lived here.  I might have glimpsed one once or something I thought was a fox. This one I saw come up from my left, cross the road in front of me and continue off to my right, clear as day, a red fox with a white tip on his tail.  I listened to Evanescence, an album I discovered a few weeks after Shayna’s passing.  Amy Lee’s haunting lyrics helped get me through those first days and they hit me just as deeply now as they did then. Shayna I’m still counting the days to see you on the other side… and today there are 365 less of them separating you and me.

Father’s Day was a tough one. For the last 19 years I have loved Father’s Day. Since my first one with Kayla before she could speak and Tywana gave me cuff links from Kayla and I held her on the deck in Lexington as Tywana recorded me on video. Then for the last 15 having both Kayla and Shayna even though last Father’s Day, Kayla was on vacation and it was just Tywana, Shayna and I.

We go to church and they’re celebrating fathers. I feel like I’m only half the father I was since I only have half my children. For me, being a father is, by far the most important and best thing I’ve ever done. It became my identity. I would do anything for my family. It’s not a sacrifice. People would sometimes tell me that it was great that I sacrificed so much for my girls. It’s not a sacrifice when you gain more than you give. The other day I was eating the last of the gelato from the carton and Kayla looked at me and asked if she could have a bite. I gave her the whole carton. Not a sacrifice, not a noble gesture. I’d rather she have it.

We do some shopping on the way home. I’m going to grill steaks and sous vide some shrimp, for Kayla. I went to Costco and got some U-8 jumbo shrimp that I know she’s going to love. Tywana has bought some Moscow mule mugs for me for Father’s Day. I had no idea, but I decide to make some Moscow mules before she even hands the box to me. I haven’t made Moscow mules in at least a year.

I grill the steaks, make the shrimp and we have dinner. My mind goes back to last year when Shayna was sitting in the seat Tywana is sitting in now and Kayla was on vacation. I loved making steak for Shayna. I loved buying things for her, cooking for her, doing things for her. I miss all of that so much. I wish I could make a steak for her. Shayna didn’t like shrimp, one of her greatest character flaws according to Kayla.

After dinner I finish watching Dustin Johnson win the US Open. I’m so happy for Dustin. Been a fan for a while. I watch as he hugs his wife and his baby daughter. I flash back to the mid-late 30s when Kayla and Shayna came and completed our family and my whole life stretched out in front of me.

We watch the Cavs win one of the most improbable NBA Championships ever. Coming back from down 3-1, winning at Golden State. I’m ecstatic for the city I lived in briefly, for the state of Ohio and for my family in Cleveland. But, the day is still a long, tough day as Shayna is constantly on my mind.

As part of my Father’s Day gifts, Tywana has bought tickets to the Lion King for later in the week. Shayna saw it a couple of years ago with her Girl Scout troop. She took a limousine downtown to see it. Shayna wasn’t thrilled about going because Shayna thought plays were “boring”. Shayna much preferred the loud explosions, chase scenes and realistic makeup of the movies. Seeing people prance around on stage dancing and singing didn’t appeal to her at all. But, Shayna loved it. And she loved being with the family. I know she’s going to be with us.

The play is fabulous. I’m glad I finally saw it, but of course, Shayna is on my mind the entire time. Everything reminds me of her. The scene when Mufasa speaks to Simba from the beyond has always been one of my favorites. More so now. I feel for Simba as after all these years, he finally hears from his father. So great, but then the communication is over and Simba is back to “reality”. We live for those transcendent moments, but they are fleeting and we’re back to the grind.

Father’s Day has really been evoking a lot of emotions because it’s so close to the anniversary of Shayna’s passing. Just yesterday I saw a post on Facebook of a friend who is leaving to take his daughter to volleyball nationals. That was Ty just 12 months ago.

The first year is almost over. The toughest year of my life. But, the end of the first year is just the beginning of the second and I’m tired. This is like running in a race where you don’t know if it’s a sprint or a marathon. I wish I knew how long it was going to be so I could pace myself. I’m ready for the sprint to the finish line, but since I can only sprint so long, I can’t do that. I’ve got to try to pace myself.

Today as I return from my walk I see a moving van in front of our next door neighbor’s house. The husband is an executive with P&G. They moved in ten years ago. We didn’t expect them to be here long as they had moved several times before with P&G and he is on the fast track. Their baby was about a year old when they moved in. He’s an 11 year old now, the eldest of three. I had gotten used to them being there. Always the expectation that one day they would move, but still used to seeing them there every day. They were a steady source of income for Kayla when she became of babysitting age and the job was handed down to Shayna when Kayla left for college. But overnight that changed when Shayna passed. And now they are moving to Arkansas. It’s strange to think that I’ve seen them so much over the last decade and in a matter of a few days I will most likely never see them or speak with them again. They will be alive somewhere else, of course, but they are leaving my world. Just another page turning. In a few weeks, more neighbors will move in and the cycle begins again. It’s finally dawned on me that one day I will no longer be here either. Everything is temporary. Everything.

Ty and Kayla are doing some serious Spring cleaning and Kayla is throwing out an old desk that we got from IKEA. I need a tool to break it down so I go to the basement to get it from my toolbox. I finally put the hummingbird feeder up a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet. I read that hanging red ribbons near the feeder would attract them as they are flying by. I’ve been too lazy to get the ribbon, but I keep thinking about it. I dig through the toolbox looking for the tool, stooped over as the toolbox sits on the floor. The tool isn’t there. It must be in the kitchen drawer. I stand to head upstairs and start to walk when I hear something dragging behind me. I look down and somehow attached to my pants up near the pocket is a four foot piece of red ribbon with gold foil trim. It’s attached to a piece of a small disposable pump we use in the business. The pump dragging is the noise I heard.

Near where I was stooped by the toolbox is a box with various Christmas decorations in it, including some rolls of ribbon. I only noticed this when I returned to the scene of the incident to see where this ribbon could possibly have come from. I have no idea how, if it was laying on the floor, it could have become attached to my pants. I didn’t think to see how it was attached. It was firmly attached enough to drag the ribbon and the plastic pump (weighing only a few ounces).

I took the ribbon, cut it in half and hung it in the tree. Hopefully, the hummingbirds will see it.