January 20, 2012

happy birthday, SHANNON

I spent most of yesterday recovering from the non-stop fun we had the last few days celebrating our daughter's birthday.  To accommodate everybody's schedules, we had three different parties and it was FUN but tiresome.  Even the little one was done by the end of it all.

But, this post today is not about that.  It's about another birthday our family celebrated this week for my sister-in-law Shannon, who would've been 36 on January 19th.

Just as a brief reminder for any new readers, Shannon {whom I've never met} was killed by a drowsy semi-driver 14 years ago.  She was only 21 years old.

Marrying into a family that had experienced such a tragedy was a bit of an adjustment.  I wanted to learn all I could about Shannon, but wasn't sure what I could ask and what were too sensitive of questions.  I enjoyed seeing pictures of her, hearing funny stories that involved her, but I never quite felt a connection to her like everyone else did.

And, since I never met her, I figured this was perfectly normal.

Then, years after my wedding, I recall one evening being at my in-laws house and being overcome with a sense of loss.  As I spanned the house and saw all of my family, I became distinctively and overwhelmingly aware that there was something missing.  Someone was missing.

I realized for the first time that I missed Shannon.  In my mind's eye I imagined what our family gathering would've been like were she still alive.  I imagined it being a little louder, definitely more nieces and/or nephews running around.  Whatever it would've been like, for sure it would've felt more complete.

I wish I could describe the feeling I carry with me everyday of missing someone I have never met before.

Fortunately for me, I have a firm belief that Shannon is still alive and is watching over our family.  

Death is not the end by any means.  

I have no doubt that I will meet her one day.  

And while I am in no rush to end my life here on earth and move on to the next phase of my existence,  I can say with no reservations that I am excited for that day.  Not only will I be reunited with loved ones that have passed before me, but I will get to meet Shannon.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday, Shannon.  

I miss you!


  1. I'm excited for you to meet her too! You're going to LOVE her! She sure made her presence known yesterday! I miss her, too.

  2. I have absolutely NO DOUBT that my best friend (aka your sister-in-law) already loves you!

    I know the feeling you describe well, I feel it every time I am with the Clarks. Shanny made a big impression in her short life, and she left a definite void when she left us. However with that sense of loss comes an overwhelming joy when I think of the day that we will see her again. If nothing else, there WILL be a lot of laughter.

    Love you guys!

  3. I definitely concur on the laughter part. I don't think it's possible NOT to laugh when you're around, Melissa. :)

  4. Just wait until you get me and Shan in the same room. It's a riot! :-)

  5. Oh my gosh! It will be that fall down/side splitting/ can't breathe laughter! I'm anxious for that day!

  6. This is beautiful, Emily.

  7. I really love this post, Em. I hope I get to meet her too.

  8. That would be a hard adjustment. And yes, thank goodness for the knowledge of the plan of salvation.

  9. You are so right about her watching over the family. And when you two meet(in the next life), oh the things you will have to share!

  10. Brought a tear to my eye.


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