Emmie and I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to build new routines supported by friends and family. I can’t thank everyone enough for the great outpouring of support we’ve received. This is such a challenging transition as Emmie and I make decisions about what the future holds and how to confront those mounting obstacles to a sustainable life with a partial family unit. I need to go back to work. I need to be able to take Emmie to school, teach my students, pick her up, feed her dinner, and still be able to support her emotionally and developmentally at all hours of the day. All while challenged by lingering brain injury. Life is hard. Life is not fair. I think most of us know that pretty well by now, but we get by with the help of our community of family and friends. We rely on them (you) in these challenging times most of all. Thank you for being there for us to rely on.

I’ve been keeping busy. Apparently at the cost of avoiding my emotions. I was caught unaware when my closest friend told me it’s OK to miss Shannon. I’m supposed to miss her. I tell everyone we’ve had so much time to prepare for this. I’m ok. I expected this… I’m not. I miss her. I was struck with such a profound sense of loss in those moments that I was essentially rendered speechless. Gasping for breath between sobs for the better part of an hour. Shannon’s gone. We’ll never get her back. Loss. We move on by necessity, but our lives will never be the same.

Life goes on for the rest of us. Life. What I believe to be the greatest gift that can be given. If given in love, supported by love, surrounded by love. Shannon knew this. She shared that love willingly and fully with those around her. We do the same in her stead. A new life. New adventures. Caring for those in our lives, for the world around us. Making it better. One interaction at a time. Continuing to love. Sharing our love. For her. For all of us.