Today is going along pretty well when, out of nowhere, the Butler County Coroner’s office calls again. 12 weeks after Shayna’s passing and we still don’t have a cause of death. I’ve come to accept we never will. And, if we did, what difference would it make?
The coroner’s office has been in contact with Shayna’s cardiologist. They haven’t come to any conclusions. Children’s Hospital would like specimens taken during Shayna’s autopsy. They are saying it is most likely some type of arrhythmia, but this isn’t based on any evidence or even Shayna’s medical history. It’s based on a process of elimination. They can find no other cause.
The coroner thanks me for my patience over all these weeks. Sure. What else am I going to do? You better believe if the cause of death made any difference in the outcome I would have been camped out on your doorstep. But, nothing we can do or say will change what happened. I told the cardiologist when we met with him several weeks ago I have no interest in looking back over Shayna’s case except as it might be helpful for anything we need to look out for Kayla. Kayla has had a full cardio workup and showed to be completely normal.
This call, for some reason, throws me completely off kilter. It’s just another reminder of the reality and the finality and how my baby was taken from me. It’s just so surreal. Ty and I will feel like we’re doing fine, then we’ll look up and think “This is real. This really happened.” Twelve weeks and mostly we’ve accepted the reality. But, frankly, not fully. We were going along as a happy family looking forward Shayna’s sophomore year, just returning from an awesome volleyball nationals tournament and sleeping in the new room Shayna had just finished redecorating. Then, out of the blue, with no warning and making no sense at all, she’s just gone. Vanished.
A friend reaches out to me. She tells me how angry she is this happened to me and to my family. She tells me that she keeps wrestling with the questions “Why?” and “How?” I remind her anger is not productive. I really am not angry. That is for the most part- there are those flashes when it flares up against my will. Again, if anger could bring her back, I’d go through a pack of lions to get to her. But, anger will not change the past. Anger will only consume me. Asking “why?” while a natural reaction, is a waste of energy and an exercise in futility. It is highly unlikely we will ever know what happened, let alone why. The question to be asked is “What now? Given today’s reality, what do I do now? That is the question I try to ask myself every morning and every moment that I can remain aware of where my thoughts are going. I can control my thoughts. And, to an extent, I can control my emotions, through the process of controlling my thoughts. I can’t change the past. The future isn’t certain. There may not even be a future (here). All I have is now. So, what now?
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