July 24, 2017- today is Tywana’s 54th birthday. Today is our 32nd time together celebrating her birthday. As I open my eyes this morning, I think of one birthday together in particular. July 24, 2015. We went to Mitchell’s Fish Market for lunch to celebrate. It was one month exactly since Shayna had made her transition. I don’t remember where Kayla was. But, it was just the two of us. We sat there across the table from each other both still in shock; both still trying to figure out this new life and having no idea where it would take us. She wore a t-shirt with a giant Hope saying across the front of it. That t-shirt stands out because Tywana is not a big fan of t-shirts with a lot of words on them, but this one she does wear. I was impressed with her resilience once again. Only 30 days since Shayna’s passing and she was saying to the world that she was still holding on to hope.
When I met Tywana, over 32 years ago now, I was impressed by several things, but the thing that stood out to me most was the inner strength she showed at such a young age. I didn’t know what life would throw at us, but I knew I needed a partner who was strong enough to face whatever it might bring. Little did I know at the time just how important this quality would be. When Shayna passed two years ago, I could not see even a day or two into the future, let alone two years. My friend who knows many parents whose children have passed let me know the statistics on how many of those marriages end in divorce. I didn’t know how I would go on. But, one thing I have always known from the moment at the hospital when they told us Shayna had gone, was that we would face this new life together.
I knew Tywana was amazing before Shayna passed, but in the last two years, she has really shone and really grown. We have cried more tears together than in the previous 30 combined. It’s been the challenge of lifetime for both of us. She has more than held up her end of the challenge and I am proud of her for being who she is.
Happy Birthday, Tywana. I’m glad you were born and I’m glad you’ve been in my life all this time.