In Memory of Shannon
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Three years ago today will be etched in my memory forever. This particular day began as a typical Saturday. It was a week before Christmas and there was lots to be done. We woke up, had breakfast and gathered together all my meat pie stuff so I could assemble the pies that afternoon. Off to hockey we went. Strangely, I have no idea if the game was won or lost. Seemingly, it’s one of the forgotten details of this day. During the hockey game, my sister called to say that my wonderful sister-in-law Shannon was being taken by ambulance to the hospital. Scary but since she had been battling lung cancer, we believed she was going to get more fluid drained from her lungs. Up until this day, trips to the hospital were a regular occurrence. I told her to call me once she knew which hospital and I would go visit Shannon that night.
I left the rink, went to the dollar store to buy the last few tins of cookies and pie pans for the meat pies. I met my friend Robyn and we chatted for a bit. I got home and started shredding meat pie meat. It was then that my life changed. My phone rang. It was my sister. She was in tears as she told me I needed to get to the hospital right now. We flew out of the house and drove the hour long journey to the hospital as fast as we could, praying every second of the way.
We arrived at the hospital and met her sister leaving. It was too late. Shannon was gone. I’ve never forgotten the feeling I experienced when I heard those words. As I hugged her sister I tried to not cry, but as the crying one in the family, it was fruitless. The hardest moment was yet to come. I still had to look at my baby brother — his heart broken. Her mom — broken. Explaining to my then nine year old — why? It was the hardest day of my life. I’ve lost people I have loved before, but nothing — absolutely nothing could prepare me for losing Shannon.
I hugged my brother as we viewed her body. Even in death, she looked beautiful. Just as she was in life. My brother with the most beautiful baby blue eyes were empty. When he kissed her goodbye that morning as he went to work, he had no idea his world was going to fall apart. Our family has dealt with lots in the past but nothing compared to this moment. The moment we all realized that our sister-in-law’s shining bright smile was gone. The girl who loved my brother with every bit of her life … and that the boy who loved her with every bit of his heart … their story was heartbreakingly over.
We drove home that evening looking for the newest star in heaven. It would be impossible for a life so beautiful here on earth to not shine once she was gone. Throughout the wake, funeral and burial, I cried. To this day, I still cannot have a whole conversation remembering this wonderful young lady without tears in my eyes. She was just that special. Although it has been three years, I still miss Shannon. So many things have happened in those years that I want to share with her because even if she wasn’t related to me through blood, she was every bit my sister in my heart. Her memory will forever hold a grip on my life. Her beautiful smile never to be forgotten ❤