The first balloon ever released...

The first balloon ever released...

Saturday, July 5, 2014


"NOPE! Now is not the time for a meltdown Shannon! Keep it together! You can think about her when you get home. Take a deep breath, hold your head up, nod your head like your fine, control yourself, do not loose it in front of all these people."
This seems to be the number one conversation I have with myself lately.
I hate crying and I especially hate crying in front of people. It's not that I feel ashamed of crying and feel like I need to "be strong". It's the simple fact that once I start crying that means I am about to spiral down at a very rapid rate and I don't enjoy having that kind of break down in public. I have done it a handful of times already and it is miserable. It's that "ugly cry" that people joke about, the uncontrollable sobbing with the strange moaning that comes out of your mouth. Never in my life have I cried so hard, the sadness of it is different from any sorrow I have ever known. It's like you go to take a deep breath but the breath is never deep enough, there is a hollowness inside of your chest that no matter how hard you try to push it out it just consumes you heart and soul.
My schedule keeps me very busy, I am at school for most of the day and am constantly pushing McKenna out of my thoughts. I can think about her on a superficial level, I can mention something that she liked or would have enjoyed, I can share a story or two, I can quote little phrases she would say but once I go beyond this point I can't hold back the tears. If I begin to think about her little crooked grin and allow myself to hear her sweet voice behind that smile saying "I love you mommy" I will loose it. If I think about how soft her hair was, how big her eyes were, how loving her hugs were I will loose it. If I think about how much she would have loved the changes we made around the house, Dominic's adoption party, Zoe starting to walk in her walker, our new dog, her uncle moving in with us, I just spiral down and LOOSE IT. So I push her out, I let my mind have a quick vacation about her and then I distract myself immediately afterwards until I get home.
The closet and side of my bed on the floor have become my sanctuary, here is where the meltdowns are allowed to happen. The tears seem to flow from an endless water fountain, I don't understand how any human can possibly cry so much, how do the tears keep coming? This system has been working well for me up until last night at our 4th of July party. I think every holiday for a while is going to be an emotional roller coaster. I expected this for the most part but not for the 4th of July. This is not a big holiday for my family, sometimes we celebrate it but for the most part it's not an over the top holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving. This year we decided to do our own little firework show, we bought a ton of fireworks, drove out to the country where we own some property, and had an awesome day. I thought about her off and on the whole day. The last time we were up there was for my birthday. It was a surprise party from my husband. I loved it. I played with McKenna and the kids all day, we took them on 4 wheelers, pretended to go hunting, had a big bon fire and of course cooked some s'mores. I kept reflecting on that night and thinking the same thing that is always on my mind "McKenna would have loved this".
I was fine the whole night, a little sad but nothing more then the usual until we got in the car and began to drive home. The kids were asleep in the back and I sat there quietly thinking to myself. My husband grabbed my hand and said "What are you thinking about?" I just meant to say "McKenna" but instead a tremble came from my voice and a soft whisper filled with despair "I miss her so much" and then it became unstoppable. I tried to hold it back, I didn't want to have the meltdown in the car, but it was too late. The tears flowed and the sobbing began "I am TIRED of talking about her in the past tense! I am tired of saying "McKenna WOULD HAVE loved this", I don't want to imagine anymore what it WOULD BE like if she was here with us right now, I just want her here with us, I keep trying to accept her death but I CAN'T! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" My husband gripped my hand tightly as he let me cry it out. "You are the only one I can relate too right now but sometimes I feel so alone. Why don't you have break downs the way I do?" He was quite for a while which made me feel worse, he tried to tell me some comforting things but I was too far gone to even hear him. I could feel myself spiraling again, everything seemed miserable, everything was sad and depressing, everything hurt. Then the conversation in my head began again "Control yourself Shannon! You are not home yet, hold on just a little bit longer and then you can cry but NOT HERE, NOT NOW!" so I stayed quite and zoned out the rest of the drive home.
We got to the house and I quickly ran inside. I wanted to hurry and unpack so I could be alone in my sanctuary. I finished putting everything away and turned to sprint to my room when my husband grabbed my arm and pulled me in close. "I hurt just as bad as you do, we just show it differently. I think about her everyday and all the time. I just don't get comfort the way that you do. Holding her clothes, sleeping with her doll, and crying doesn't help me the way it helps you, it makes me worse. This doesn't mean that I don't understand why you do it or see you as handling it poorly. I want to hear about your pain, that is what helps me. I want to help you but I feel like everything I say makes everything worse and then I don't know what to do because you are so quite. I am so proud of you, don't feel alone, I am here for you and I always will be, you can cry in front of me. He hugged me tighter and whispered "I love you so much and I miss her too." My face buried in his shoulder I began to whimper, the bullet hole in my heart showed as I let it all out, he continued to hold me as I cried and shook all over. I would love to say that it stopped there and I felt all better but it didn't. It continued on as we laid down for bed, I held her doll closely as he continuously wiped my face full of tears and finally fell asleep in his arms.
Not every night is this bad but not every night ends with a happy ending either. I've learned from McKenna's death that being sad because of something that happened versus being sad when you loose someone are 2 different kinds of sad. It is a sadness that has made a home in your soul and there is nothing that you can really do to make it go away. Time helps and just from the little time we have had apart I have gotten a smidgen better but I don't think it could ever completely go away. I  mean how could it? I just can't imagine it ever going totally away because you have lost something that will never return. You can't buy it or replace it, they are gone and will remain that way until we see each other again in Heaven. "Being sad is not a bad thing" is one of the things my husband tried to tell me in the car last night just before I tuned him out completely and he is right. Just because I am sad doesn't mean that I have lost all hope. I am just sad, it is as simple and uncomplicated as that. I lost an angel, heaven took back what I thought was mine and that is a hard thing to accept. I love my daughter, I love all of my children and there is no way that I can just stop being sad right now. I need more time, I need more tears, I need more meltdowns.
I know that my daughter and I will be together again and that day will be so beautiful. I have pictured it many times but until then I am blessed to have her father, brother, and sister standing beside me holding me all the way through. I am grateful for the memories we were able to make together, I will always keep them close to my heart. For now pictures, videos, and this blog are all I have to show for her and for now it will due.
I love you Kenna Bear, Happy 4th of July, I hope you enjoyed the fireworks.
This trip to the "country"

Our last 2 trips to the country with McKenna

I love this last picture, it is framed in our house.


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  2. You're a mother Shannon, and that's what mothers do, celebrate and grieve for their children. You're normal, it's normal - you're going through the process - never easy or welcomed, but normal. Kenna was a part of your body and soul. Don't try to hold it in, if you need to cry - do it. I feel so sorry for men because it's hard for them to cry. You and your sweet husband have been through so much, so hold on to each other and keep praying for comfort. Heavenly Father and you have so much in common. He loves your family so much and so do I. -Claretta

  3. As I read your blog today, I felt captured by the truth of what you posted. I actually need to hear the sad part, the truth and then your beautiful resolve. Resolve that you are going to cry, sob, miss her and think of her to the bottom of your soul. I wondered when you went to the farm if she would be on your mind and heavy on your heart......then I thought.....OF COURSE. She is ALWAYS there and will be. So beautiful of an Angel that is a piece of you and and Zach. How she is loved and loves back. Write, cry, go to your retreat, clutch your coll and CLING to Zach. Only the two of you know your experience.....but never doubt that you are amazing and your are HELPING so many! I love love your post and really treasure them and the PICTURES. LOVE you! Jacinda