The last two weeks have been hell on Earth for Ty, Kayla and myself. Moving on without our Beautiful Light at time seems like an insurmountable task, but move on we will.
During this time we have done a lot of reflecting on the past 15 years. What we did right, what we did wrong. There is very little in the wrong column. I told Kayla that one thing siblings sometimes find therapeutic is to put in a letter the things they wished they had said to their loved one before their passing. Kayla said there wasn’t really anything to write. Tywana and I always lavished love on the girls. I was raised in a home where the words “I love you.” were seldom, if ever heard. Physical affection simply wasn’t given. My parents were of the mind that those things were OK, if you needed such things. Years later, in counseling, I realized I needed those things. I needed affirmation. I needed to be told they were proud of me. I needed to hear “I love you.” I needed to be hugged. I vowed my girls would never question my love for them.
We homeschooled the girls for the first 8 years of each of their school careers. We didn’t do it because they would get a better education (they did). We didn’t do it to keep the world from corrupting them. We did it because we just loved being together. I had jobs where I would work from home since before Shayna was born. So, often it was me in my office and Ty and the girls in the basement doing school work. We all had breakfast, lunch and dinner together every day. We did little adventures like going to the movies in the afternoons or running out for a shopping trip to Costco. We just loved being together. One of my most fond memories is of a trip to Disney World when they were 7 and 10. We went right after Labor Day, when the prices were dirt cheap and the parks were empty. It was like being VIPs as we raced from ride to ride, no lines. We felt special.
Eventually, the girls decided they wanted to go to school. Kayla went three years ahead of Shayna. But, even then and with all of their activities, we tried to have dinner together every night. We told them we loved them every day. We hugged them. We kissed them. We never went to bed without saying good night. Kayla and Shayna for years had “sister sleep overs”. Even after spending the entire day together, they wanted more time together. Kayla made room for Shayna, moving her many stuffed animals out of the way. Once the sister sleep overs ended, they developed a special way of saying “Good night Kayla, I love you.” and “Good night Shayna, I love you.”. Ty and I were never allowed in on their secret language.
Even among all of this grief, I can say, without reservation, I have zero regrets. I know both my girls know how much they are loved, how proud we are of them and how much we enjoy them. Shayna cherished her spot as the baby in the family and we loved babying her. We complained, but we all did it. You just could not say ‘no’ to that girl.
If God were to say to me, you can live the whole thing over, just the same way with the same three companions, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Every single minute of it.