A couple of nights ago we went to The Funny Bone to see a demonstration with two mediums. We sat at the table with a couple and when we were asked who were hoping to hear from, Tywana said, of course, Shayna, our 15 year old who passed 16 months ago.
16 months. Really? The first thought in my head was “That’s not right. I don’t remember 16 months.” Then, it dawned on my October 24th had come and gone. Yes, now it’s been 16 months. I hadn’t marked the change from 15 to 16.
When your child passes, it’s a little like when they’re born in terms of how you measure the time. Remember the annoying days of asking someone how old their baby is and they answer “16 weeks”. No, the kid is four months old. When do you stop saying “weeks”. For Shayna it’s 16 months. I suppose at the two year anniversary we’ll measure in years.
Last night, Tywana found Shayna’ Instagram account. I don’t think Shayna had been on Instagram all that long. She has about 550 followers on Instagram. Tywana spent some time reading the posts from Shayna and her followers. Shayna, as we knew, was wise way beyond her years always writing profound observations about life and always encouraging others. Kids are still coming to her page today commenting on how much they miss her and how they are using her inspiration to get through tough times they are facing. I couldn’t be more proud of her. God only knows how many followers she would have today. She was a beauty to behold, amazing photogenic. And she still shines today, just not in physical form. I went to bed last night missing her as much as ever.
16 months ago, my life changed in a way I could not even have fathomed. 16 months later I’m still alive, still struggling, still clawing my way forward. Before departing on this journey, I would look at parents of special needs children or parents whose children had moved to heaven and I’d wonder “How do they do it? I could never handle that. I couldn’t go on. I wouldn’t go on.” I would wonder how they look so normal, how they could laugh or forget for even a moment missing their child or dealing with the fact they were terminally ill.
I still don’t have the answer to any of those questions. I don’t know how I’m still here. I don’t know how I carry on. I know that I have to for the sake of those who love me. I know that I would do anything for Shayna or for Kayla or for Tywana. I ’d lay down my life for any of them, no hesitation. But, that’s not what I’ve been asked to do. I’ve been asked to live my life in honor of Shayna and to keep on fighting for Tywana and for Kayla. So, yeah, I guess that’s how I do it.