I wake up at my normal time today, Memorial Day. It’s just a few minutes after sunrise. My first thought this morning, like every morning is Shayna. I don’t know how long this will go on. Will it ever not be the first thing on my mind? Do I want it to not be? I am forever changed by Shayna’s life and passing. I wouldn’t have that any other way. I just want to make the best of what she has taught me and left me so that when I see her again and she tells me she was watching I can make her proud. I think of her looking over my shoulder and encouraging me in her, oh so critical, way. The girl had a sharp tongue that could cut to the quick. I miss it so much.
Today is the day we honor the war dead. We are debating on my Facebook page whether or not it was acceptable for the President to visit Japan and speak of the Japanese (and Americans) who died in WWII and particularly at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some say he shouldn’t have done it on Memorial Day weekend. Some say he shouldn’t have done it at all, to honor their dead is to somehow dishonor our dead. I have room for both. Today, we honor those who have died in service of our country, but there are 364 other days of the year. Every day I multitask between honoring and remembering Shayna and dealing with other problems of the world. So many times now people tell me about their trivial problems or problems with their teenagers and I just so want to say “You think that’s a problem? That’s not a problem. A problem is when she is no longer with you. No graduation coming up. No career to consider.” But I can’t do that. I have to remember their problems are very real to them. I just tell them, as gently as I can, it’ll all work out and try to focus on the big picture. As long as they’re healthy and happy, that’s all that is really important.
Today after I get back from my walk I’m looking at the Facebook page for Helping Parents Heal. It’s rapidly approaching 7,000 members. So much pain. So much sorrow. I try to help out where I can. Today someone has posted about how she often doesn’t feel like going on without her child. She has lost her motivation to live. The responses are immediate and compassionate. She is embraced by virtual hugs and words of reassurance that she can make it and has to for the others around her. I see this every single day now. My world is filled with people who have suffered what seems like the ultimate loss. Most days I’m OK with it. I can take it pretty well. It seems like I have a limit though as to how much sorrow can build up in my heart before it has to burst forth in a stream of tears. I never know when it’s coming and there’s no gauge on the tank for me to read. The tears just come as I cry for her, I cry for me and I cry for everyone on that thread feeling the way we do. This world is a foreign place to us now. We are visitors here passing through on our way back home. If we’ve forgotten our missions, we have been given a not so gentle reminder. We’re tired and we just want to go home, but first things first. Every day I wake up and even though I’m exhausted, I think of Shayna and what I need to do today.