I wake up today feeling pretty good. So good in fact that I’m a bit worried. I haven’t cried in nearly 24 hours. Does that mean I’m OK? Does it mean I didn’t love Shayna enough?
I have been finding some amazing resources. God or the Universe, seems to be giving me what I need to lift me up. In addition to the friends and family and neighbors who have been pouring support into me, I have found books that have helped and videos. In particular It Will All Make Sense When You’re Dead, which will offend some people’s sense of religion and How To Deal With Grief- A Radically Different Way. I told someone the other day that we grieving parents need 1.) a reason to go on and 2.) a way to go on. I’ve been reading this book which gives me the reason. Hope that Shayna is OK. Hope that Shayna awaits us. Hope that the troubles of this world will soon be over. The video gives me permission to feel good again. It gives me a practical guide on how I can get my life back to some semblance of order where I can make it through these next days, months or years without Shayna. I’m thinking death hasn’t really separated us, I will see her again. Maybe the sting of death isn’t what I thought it was.
So, I wake up feeling pretty good, but then, in spite of the video, I wonder “Is it too soon to feel this good?” A good friend has arranged an early morning walk. We hike three miles. I get home. I cut the grass. So far the day is going pretty well. I decide to listen to what will now forever be “our song”. It’s a new song by Wiz Kalifa “When I See You Again.” Oops. Here come the tears. So, no worries about those being over.
Ty and I decide to go out to Costco. Costco was a family ritual for us when the girls were younger. In the later years, they didn’t go as much, but still I think both our thoughts turn to Shayna as we wander through the store. I used to say we were going to have to start leaving her at home because Shayna was constantly asking for things. Shayna always had to have a smoothie or a berry sundae or pizza. As we’re checking out, Ty wants to get pizza. I don’t think she was actually hungry, but thinking of Shayna. She gets pizza and a smoothie. She has pretty much stopped getting the smoothies, but I think Shayna subconsciously planted that desire in her. We both realize that her little buddy who would always be up for pizza, a smoothie, whatever isn’t with us. She eats her pizza and drinks her smoothie with no one to share them with.
The afternoon is pretty somber. Kayla is at work. The house is quiet. This is really nothing new. Shayna was rarely here anyway. Always out with friends or up in her room watching Netflix, but just knowing she wouldn’t be coming down depresses us. I can feel Ty’s depression. She can feel mine. We’ve been together long enough we don’t need to put it into words. It’s in the air.
Some friends take mercy on us and call us to come over for a glass of wine. These are neighbors who we used to hang out with all the time in the age of when our kids were little. We used to do “happy hours” with them because we all had kids and instead of getting babysitters, we’d just get together, let the kids play and have a little party. But in recent years we have drifted apart as priorities (and mainly kids’ activities) have taken us in different directions. Shayna being into volleyball and basketball, their kids being into baseball and swimming. As we stand on their porch, I feel like we’re intruding. They still have both their kids. We’re the sad old empty nesters. But, then their oldest runs off with Kayla to a friends and their 16 year old takes off to play soccer with friends. We’re all quickly becoming empty nesters.
As we’re talking about neighborhood stuff, whose kids have gone off to what college, etc. I find myself drifting out of the conversation. I have become that guy. All I can think about is Shayna. I look around me as we’re sitting in their three season room, the world feels different. It’s kind of transparent. I can almost see into the next dimension. I long to be there, not here. I will myself back into the conversation. A line from the video comes to me. It’s not selfish to be happy. It’s unselfish. I don’t want to make everyone around me miserable. The conversation turns to Shayna. Their kids and Shayna grew up together. Their daughter has known Kayla since she was 9 months old. Shayna was like a little sister to them.
Regan tells a story about Shayna, the “Bum Bum Show”. Shayna, when she was about ages three to five (maybe even a little older) used to like to drop her panties off of her butt and dance around while singing “Bum Bum Show…. Bum Bum Show…” Up until now I thought we were an exclusive audience. I didn’t know she did it for her big sister Regan too.
The evening has gone well and we take leave of our friends. We return home, relieved for the couple of hours we were with them, but returning to an empty house. Ty and I have snapped at each other a couple of times today, the first since Shayna’s passing. We have a misunderstanding over something very simple, but we’re both on edge. I say to her “I don’t want to be mad at you. We can’t do this right now.” We settle the disagreement and finally get to close our eyes and escape the world. I tell her “We made it through another day.” and we drift into the sweet escape of sleep.