When you go through the passing of a child, everyone gathers around for the first few days, maybe even a few weeks. But, after months and years, that’s when you find out who is really on this journey with you. It’s the people who don’t forget. It’s the people who show up when you least expect it.
It’s been nearly three years now. The purple ribbons the girls put up around the neighborhood in honor of Shayna are tattered and torn. Some are gone. The wreaths people put up on their doors are mostly gone. However, we know we are still in the hearts of our neighbors, who are family without the blood ties. They still participate in Shayna’s race. They come over on special occasions. They let us know we are not forgotten.
Tonight, we’re having the Lorenzes over for drinks on the deck. Mike and Lisa show up a few minutes after 7. A few minutes later, the doorbell rings. I was expecting my brother and sister-in-law in for my niece’s and nephew’ soccer tournament this weekend, but I hear a lot of noise at the door. Tywana’s talking in her high pitched excited tone. She’s at the door a long time just to let in Brent and Sherri. What’s going on I wonder? I look up and I see Amy and Tom. Joan and Tim are here also. The Scherers show up.
I find out it’s graduation week at Lakota. This would be Shayna’s senior year. So, our neighbors crashed our party to let us know they are thinking of us. They’ve brought gifts. Amy has made her first cake ever- red velvet in honor of being Shayna’s favorite (in actuality no one knows what Shayna’s favorite dessert was because the girl loved anything with sugar).
We make our way out onto the deck and talk well into the night (later than we did last week at the actual party, ironically). We are blessed indeed.