Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s never been a huge deal for Ty and me, but she would always get gifts for the girls and for me. Ty has sent a care package off to Kayla, but Shayna is not here to enjoy her sweets this year.
On the way to church we talk about our lives now. Before we had children, when we were negotiating whether we were going to have them or not, I made the comment that I would like to have two lives. One with children and one without with the freedom to do what we want when we want. Ty says in a way we have that now and reminds me of the comment I made those years ago. Then she asks me if I could go back and not have had Shayna, if I could have stopped with Kayla as I had also proposed, would I do that? “No!” Absolutely not. As much as this hurts, having Shayna in my life was worth this pain 1,000 times over. I will always have the memory of her and I have the promise of seeing her again.
At church where the pastor mentions us parents who have lost children during the sermon. On the way home, I’m playing Luther on shuffle and the song Dance With My Father comes on and here come the tears from me. I’m thinking back on my years of being Shayna’s Daddy and missing that time so intensely. I remember the Daddy/Daughter dance we went to. Ty brings it up also. I wouldn’t wish having Shayna away, but if I could change anything I would have left with her. Being here without her is torturous.
We decide to go out to lunch for Valentine’s Day. We stop at a local place we like a lot and low and behold one of the girls we know from the basketball program Shayna played in is on TV playing for Dayton. I remember first seeing her play when she was in junior high school. Time passes so quickly. I say a prayer of gratitude for that. It cannot go fast enough for me now.
When we get home I happen to glance out of the window and a hawk swoops down and lands in the birch tree in our back yard. This tree is only about 20’ from the house. I look out of these windows a lot and in the 18 years we have been living here I have never seen a hawk land anywhere near our yard. He sits in the tree for about five minutes. Ty and I stare at him. Ty is convinced it’s a Valentine’s visit from Shayna.
The rest of the day is pretty uneventful. We turn in and I drift off to sleep. I have a dream about Shayna. It was in the middle of a bunch of other dreams and I didn’t wake up immediately after so I can’t recall the details. I remember I spent quite a bit of time with her before realizing she is dead so I didn’t want myself up. I remember her hair was long. She was about the age she was when she passed. I think we danced together, but I’m not sure. A few days ago I told Kayla I was going to give Shayna a seat on the butt when I see her, before I give her the biggest hug ever. She left us way too soon and way too suddenly. But, I would give anything, anything to Dance With My Daughter Again.