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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Three Years Ago

I'll warn you now that this post is about Shana, so don't read any further if you have heard all this before.

This past Saturday marked the third year anniversary of Shana's passing. I can tell you just about everything I was doing on April 11, 2006--where I went, what I was wearing, what I ate. Everything. And I can pretty much do the same for the days up to three years ago today. I keep thinking I'm dealing with her death fairly well, but I'm not so sure sometimes. Remember a few months ago, I posted the stages of grief? I'd say I am into the anger stage all too well. I seem to be pissed off all the time! Everything and nothing makes me mad. I can actually feel it bubbling inside me. My thinking is that if I can get some of that anger out, it will help me.

Shana is our oldest child, born in 1977 in Italy while Darrell was in the army. I was only 19 when she was born and she used to tell people that we grew up together. She probably wasn't far wrong. Shana was a good big sister (though her siblings might disagree). She could be quite the little mother and was more than a little bossy.

A couple of months before her 21st birthday, Shana was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. We determined later that she had probably been having seizures for about 6 months before she was diagnosed. Shana had a rare type of epilepsy. She only had seizures when she was in a deep sleep. She was supposed to take medication, but it made her gain weight, so she wasn't faithful about taking it. Especially after the doctor told her the medication wouldn't prevent 100% of the seizures. She didn't like having to take pills several times a day and be different from others. I reminded her of her grandfather, who was diabetic and had to test his blood sugar and give himself shots every day. That worked for a while.

At the time of her death, Shana was living with our second daughter Holly and Holly's two young children. It was a Tuesday and Shana had the day off work and was going to keep Holly's kids while Holly worked. It was unusual that Shana was sleeping so late and Holly went in to let Shana know she was leaving. That's when Holly found her. What an awful thing--to find your sister dead! But I have to admit that I'm so thankful it wasn't me who found her. I'm not sure I could have handled that. Shana had been gone about 5 hours by the time she was found. Apparently, she had suffered a seizure during the night and suffocated in her pillow. Holly called 911 and even attempted CPR, though it was obviously too late. Darrell and I were in Savannah, GA celebrating our anniversary and Darrell had turned his cell phone to silent. It was about five hours before anyone was able to reach us. We immediately started for home and it was the longest trip of my life.

In the midst of all this pain, I felt my Heavenly Father strengthening me. I was reminded of something I had written in my journal a couple of years earlier. I had written then that I strongly felt something was going to happen, but I didn't want to write about it yet because I didn't want to 'jinx' anything. But if it happened, I would write about it. My feeling at that time was that Shana was going to die. I had felt for a long time that Shana wouldn't live to be very old. When Shana turned 25, I told my daughter Lauren I still had that feeling and I didn't think Shana would live to be 30. Shana was 28 when she passed away. I truly feel the Lord was trying to prepare me in some way.

I feel the Lord with me, comforting me, strengthening me. And I'm beginning to focus on the good times we had. But too often, the bad times push their way in and all I can see are my failings as a mother. Shana was very loving to her family and friends. She may have been difficult to get close to, but once she was your friend, she was fiercely loyal. I know she wouldn't want me to keep feeling this way. I sense her with me and can almost feel her conflict. She has work to do on the other side, and her concern for me takes her away from that. She wants to comfort me, but has other things she should be doing.

Sometimes I just want to tell myself to put on my big girl panties and get on with it. Other times I want to scream and shout and punch something. Sometimes I need a real live person to talk to, but I can't make myself open up. So I'm going to do that here. Thanks for listening.


The Traylor's said...


I remember where I was when I found out. I had just gotten to work and the lady I worked for showed me the newspaper. I didn't know your family at that time, but I can still remember the way the rest of my day seemed to have a dark cloud over it.

Thanks for sharing her story here. Sometimes it helps us (your friends) cope with our pain by knowing that we aren't alone.

A prophet once said that if we didn't grieve, we didn't love. I always find that so comforting when I find myself mourning the lose of people close to me.


The Traylor's said...

Okay I fibbed. It was a member of the Seventy who said it. If you want to read the talk, I recommend a full box of tissue, here is the link.

Never Enough Orange said...

I did good till I watched that video

Angela said...

I used to have conversations with Shana at church. She seemed to be a very "deep" thinker. I know for a fact that she would want you to be comforted in knowing that you will be with her again. She always seemed to have a "path" that she was trying to travel or task she wanted to accomplish. She is probably working very dilligently on the other side.

I miscarried a son in 1995 and while I was never blessed with over 25 years with him I feel a huge hole in my heart. I think about him everyday. Thank goodness we have the other children. My pain is from not being able to bury him (sobs). Just know that you have friends who love you and care for you. Having a wonderful husband doesn't hurt! :) Rest in peace Shana...We all can't wait to see you again!

Marlena said...

What a strong Mother you are!!!! Shana reminded me a lot of you in several ways and one was that she was so honest and I really appreciate that in a person!!! One day she made a joke out of something Bro. Hebda said that really hurt Macy's feelings and we all started cracking up and there wasn't a tear left in the room. I loved that about her!!!

Holly said...

Anyone who's life was touched by Shana knows what a special spirit she was. She loved everyone. She was very honest, I totally agree with Marlena about her being the same as you in some ways.

I remember it being hard to talk to Shana sometimes before she came back to church. When we would hang out at your house in the teen years sometimes she would hang out with us and joke around and other times she would just stay to herself.

We all miss Shana. I am reminded of her every time that I look at Melody for some reason. I guess because she loved her so much and in a way I think she is going to take after the spirit that Shana had of caring for others.

Your friends are here and willing to listen. Goodness knows you have been there for me many years and are willing to tell me what I don't always want to hear but what I need to hear.

You and your family have been in my prayers for the comfort that you may need to carry you through this hard time in your life.

5L's said...

that video sure was a tear jerker...couldn't even finish it!

thanks for this post on this day. i think it's just what i needed to hear right at this very moment! it's been a particularly trying afternoon and i think i will send my kids to their rooms instead of ringing their little necks!

god bless you! i love you!

lagirl said...

I had not read this post. Now I understand even more why Mother's Day was so difficult for you...Thank you for sharing this personal, painful part of your life with us. ((HUGS))

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