Every day starts, of course, with thoughts of Shayna. Sometimes they’re more happy thoughts than sad, but they almost always turn to a good cry at some point. I’m up before Ty and Kayla this morning and just soaking in the solitude.
Ty is ready to try going to church again. The good thing about attending the church we go to is it’s completely dark in the worship space and we really don’t know anyone because it’s so huge. So, we can slip in and out undetected. I take her hand as we walk across the parking lot. The music begins. It doesn’t matter what the song is, my thoughts turn to Shayna and the tears flow. Good thing it’s dark in here.
We come back home to the empty house. Kayla is at work. We each go our own way. Nothing unusual. Even if Shayna had been here, she probably wouldn’t be up yet or we’d be picking her up from a sleepover, but it feels different knowing she’s not in her room, not a sleepover. Her body has left our Earthly plane. I decide I have to get Ty out of the house. She needs something to do during the day. Shayna provided that for her. We decide to go to the movies. We saw “Inside Out”. Neither of us can recall whether Shayna saw it or not. She probably did. In my mind, she had seen it so I thought of her through the entire thing. The movie made me melancholy anyway as it’s about an 11 year old girl and her relationship with her parents, her emotions and her memories. After the movie, we come home, but I feel like it’s still not enough time out of the house for Ty, so I ask if she wants to go to the hardware store with me to pick up some things we need. She says yes. We go to the store and I pull her close as we’re walking through Home Depot and say “I have to be your running around buddy now.” Shayna was the one who did the running around with her (or we were running Shayna around). Ty tells me it’s not the same. Of course it’s not. I remind her it was the two of us before kids and we always knew it would be the two of us again someday- just not today, not like this. She begins to weep. I understand. We go to Michael’s to pick out silk flowers for a flower arrangement. This is not something we’d be doing together a few weeks ago, but it’s what we must do now. We have to stick close together as we navigate this. It feels a little awkward, this new normal. It’s been thrust upon us. We were planning to ease into it. No easing into it now. It’s here.
Kayla arrives home from work and we decide to go out to dinner. We have a good time, but again, one is missing. Kayla orders water. Shayna never ordered water. We talk about our Shayna, trading Shayna stories. Laughing. Complaining about what a big baby she was, but taking responsibility for making her that way. She was so much like her grandmother- my mother. She knew what she wanted and she was determined to get it. Live life now. If I want it, why not get it? The last time Kayla and I went to Costco, she asked if she could get a smoothie. Of course. “Well, I don’t have any money.” That was her being like Shayna. Shayna rarely took money with her places if Kayla or Ty or I were going with her. She knew if she wanted something all she had to do was ask and she’d get it. Kayla told me at Costco she was going to start being more like Shayna in that way- good. We could all take lessons from Shayna.
I’m reading the book The Afterlife of Billy Fingers. It’s bringing comfort to me reinforcing the idea that we survive death, we are still ourselves and we still feel the love for the ones we loved while were here. I go to sleep thinking that Shayna is still loving us, still connected to us but infinitely happier. Someone had told me that when your loved ones leave you form a different, but more spiritual connection to them. That doesn’t stop me from missing her, in the flesh, tremendously, but a Bible verse comes to mind. Jesus talked about how He had to go away so that the Comforter could come. The disciples were clinging to the physical relationship they had with Him, but Jesus said He had to let go of that relationship to have a new, better relationship with them. I feel some amount of comfort as I go off to sleep. Shayna is still with us. Shayna is still concerned about us. Shayna is happy.