Kayla is back at school. We are counting down the days until Christmas break. I am so relieved to know that after Shayna’s passing Kayla didn’t react the way I feared she might, staying away from home to avoid memories too painful to face. I am proud of the way she has handled the absolute worst thing that could possibly have happened. She’s in school about to finish her third semester at University of Toledo. She’s been dealing with Shayna’s death the best way I could possibly have hoped for. We’ve been going through this together, as I hoped. We talk (text) often. Several times a week.
Today is Saturday and I catch her in her room. I’m watching the Big 10 Championship. Ty is out at a Christmas party. Kayla and I have a long talk about “big stuff”. I so love having a daughter I can talk to about life and death and the meaning of it all. I’ve studied and studied things that seem to come to Kayla intuitively. We talk about our soul group. We’re confident that Shayna, Kayla and I have done this several times before. We think this might be Ty’s first time with us, but Ty is doing great. This has been a tough gig, maybe tougher than we could imagine, but Kayla encourages me that we can do this or we wouldn’t have signed up for it.
We talk about Shayna and how she just lived life to the fullest. We both miss her so much. Talking like this is bittersweet. It hurts so much, but the memories bring a smile. Kayla tells me of a dream of a life in which she was our mother. Shayna and I were twins. She took us to the beach and we were in awe. This brings back memories of “Shell mania”. Our first beach trip. Shayna was about four years old and as we were walking down the beach, we hit a spot where a bunch of shells had been deposited in a low spot. Shayna’s face just lit up as she exclaimed “Shell mania”. It’s a moment none of us will ever forget. Then, we talk about the White Castle trip where Shayna was introduced to hamburgers “just my size”. She was five at the time. In typical Shayna fashion, she ate five burgers before taking a breath. Kayla remembers her laid over and moaning in the back seat of the car on the way home. Man, that girl gave us some good times.
As I type this I have a smile on my face. Having Kayla and Shayna was the best thing I could have ever done. The pain I’m enduring right now seems unbearable at times, but if I have to endure this as payment for all those years we had together, so be it. We packed everything we possibly could have into those 15-½ years together. I have no regrets. I don’t think Ty or Kayla does either.
Christmas is coming in just a few weeks. I am dreading the holiday more than usual. The magic of having little kids has been gone for a while even though it was just two years ago when Shayna came downstairs in her footie pajamas (all 5’8" of her at the time) and I remember her face as she turned the corner to see the piano she had begged met to get for her. Another magic moment I will never forget.