Today is a day like any other, except it’s not. Tywana is back to work full time now. But, she has the day off today. The weather is eerily like it was six years ago today. I started off the day with my 7-mile walk. It was a three 3 mile hike back then. As I made the walk back home, I was reminded how clueless I was as to how much life was about to change. I got back home and sat down in my office in the very chair I’m sitting in now. It was probably about this time of the morning when Tywana called out to me that something was wrong with Shayna and I went bounding up the stairs to find her lifeless.
Six years have passed since then. Kayla has finished four more years of undergrad and completed her Master’s program. I turned 60 a few weeks ago. Tywana is working full-time outside of the house. Time moves on, carrying us along with it.
Six years ago I was placed on a raft with no way of maneuvering it and not a clue of where I was going to go, even if I had the means to power the raft. Today, I have somehow acquired a sail, a rudder, a GPS, and a map. I know where I want to go and I’m on the way there.
Already today, our wonderful neighbors have refreshed the purple ribbons on the stop signs around the neighborhood. Every June 24th, they refresh them. We received a beautiful bouquet of flowers yesterday. I took a break from writing this and found another vase of flowers at the door. People are remembering Shayna and remembering us.
For Father’s Day, which happened to be four days before Shayna’s angelversary, I got a mug from Voice of Our Angels, it’s got a picture of the two girls and me on it with the saying “Everything we are is because of you”.
The first few angelversaries are hard, because you’re looking back. You want to go back to where you were before your loved one made their transition. But, after a while, you finally internalize that’s not possible. Wishing to make it so only brings pain.
It was just over five years ago, in May 2016, that we sat in the Unity Church in Phoenix, AZ and I heard the only sermon that I can recall the title of so many years later “It’s Hell In The Hallway”. They say when one door closes another door opens. But, in the meantime, you’re in the hallway with no clue where you’re going to go next. I was in that hallway for a long time. I was in hell.
Two years ago, the door of Grief 2 Growth opened, after a couple of years of serving with Helping Parents Heal. I stepped through the door into what I suspect will be what I do for the rest of my time here on planet Earth. I’m no longer longing to go back because I know what I have to look forward to is even better than what I had. I am confident that when my time comes to make my final transition of this life (not so long now that I am 60), I will be reunited with Shayna and all my loved ones who have preceded me. That day pulls me forward.
Last year, on this day, I was taking Tywana to one of her first therapy appointments after her knee replacement. I hadn’t dared to hope for a sign and I saw this picture letting me know Shayna is still right here.
Today, we will celebrate by going out for pizza at Pie’s and Pints. Kayla will join us. I’m sure Shayna will be there, too.