Tonight is the awards night for the volleyball team. This would have been Shayna’s senior year. Coach Kornau has not forgotten Shayna or us even for one minute even though she is the varsity coach and Shayna only played on the freshman team. She has brought us gifts, has invited us to the events, has created mementos for the girls to wear, and has come by the house several times to make sure we still feel like part of the Lakota West family.
Today, there is a mother on Facebook who says that she’s struggling with the fact that the leukemia that ended her son’s physical life has been cured in another kid. She feels great for that kid, but what about her? Why didn’t her son get cured? Many of us jump in and express the same emotions. Shayna’s peers’ parents are posting pictures of the girls all doing their senior year stuff. It hurts. A medium I know and I strike up a chat and he’s telling me what he is learning about exit points from a spirit he’s in communication with. He also shares some really exciting news on what he’s learning about what we get to experience after we cross over, with our departed children. I explain to him that, from a higher perspective, all of this makes sense. But, meanwhile, we have to live these lives in these meat suits and it’s not always easy to hold that higher perspective. I know Shayna didn’t miss a thing. I know Shayna is doing way more exciting and important stuff than completing her senior year of high school. As a parent, it’s easy to fall into thinking our kids’ lives are about us. “Why did this happen to me?” comes up over and over again. It’s a struggle to remember it didn’t happen to me. This was Shayna’s soul plan. He tells me that Shayna says if I want to be a star, I have to act like a star. He also tells me that Shayna says I am her star. Two things he doesn’t know. Our team that walks for Shayna in the Shamrock Shuffle each year is called Shayna’s Shining Stars. Also, tonight, Shayna’s “star” of a sort will be revealed.
Tonight, the volleyball team is giving out an award in Shayna’s name. It’s also the public unveiling of the permanent memorial to Shayna, Lauren Hedes, and Victoria Stoltz, the three girls on the volleyball team who transitioned within a year and a half of each other. Each girl has had a lasting impact on the team and the coaches. I’m so proud of Shayna. She only started playing volleyball a few months before her freshman year. We told her she probably wouldn’t make the team. She did and ended up starting. She went out for a club team. We told her she probably wouldn’t make the regional team. She was invited to play on the national team and went to nationals the week before she passed. To still be included in the team’s celebrations three years later is phenomenal.
Coach Kornau gave us a private unveiling of the memorial on Sunday morning. I can’t go to the events at the high school. Even though Shayna never attended classes on main campus, only the freshman building, it’s too full of painful memories for me. The one year she did play volleyball, the awards ceremony was there. The academic awards ceremony, her freshman year, was there. The memorial is beautiful and is located where the volleyball teams from now until the building is no longer there will walk by. Soon, I’m sure they’ll wonder who Shayna, Lauren, and Victoria are, but their names will be there.
Tywana and Victoria’s mother go to the awards ceremony together. I stay home, have a bourbon, and watch the last episode of Stranger Things. When Tywana gets home I find out that Sophia, one of Shayna’s buddies she played basketball with for several years, won Shayna’s award. Shayna’s star continues to shine.