Endearingly Remembering Shawn, My Grief Challenges, Songs I Like

Shawn’s 33rd B.day January 3, 2017


I attended a Compassionate Friends Candle lighting, this past December 11th.  A song was played at the beginning of our meeting: Alan Pederson: “Tonight I Hold This Candle”. https://youtu.be/xPlBrxzBO9s

I have been trying to work on a post for Shawn’s 33rd b.day.   I am just super stuck. How do I honor Shawn, when I ache so…???

Apparently, I am experiencing a bit of a set back. I have been assured it is expected for this time of year,  Shawn’s b.day being so close to the Christmas celebrations and the new year beginnings.  My emotions and guilt are immense and intense.  So much so that I do not want to talk to anyone.  

Before Christmas break, I was getting ready to putting together Christmas gifts, for my bus passengers. My drunk squirrel ringtone sounded. Would I be able to talk to the person calling ???  It was Melissa. I was afraid to speak not sure I could squash my emotions. We talked about many things and for quite some time. My emotions were brewing, earnestly. I didn’t think I could contain the tears any longer. Both of us kept mentioning Shawn things.  As time was winding down I mustered the courage to ask Melissa  a question that had been plaguing me. Mind you, I know I have spoken to Melissa about this topic before.

I feel bad for Melissa, because she has parents who are tortured by their actions regarding Shawn’s end. Did we kept Shawn’ alive too long ???                         I needed to know if Melissa was upset with me~did I give Shawn enough time ??? My guilt was building~as it does frequently, the nagging thought~did I, selfishly, make the hospital staff care for a body that wasn’t going to survive ??? How will ALL the staff-those who cleaned Shawn’s room, those in the cafeteria, those who tended to Shawn’s various needs~~~so many more~~~ at Harborview, ever know how much I appreciate ALL the care they showed our family ??? How do I thank all the rescuers ???

  Was it wrong of me to want to give Shawn more time, in case his body decided to start healing ? 

Melissa gave a profound response~~~I believe it was providential !!!    She was talking about all the issues that were happening, all the folks involved in the decision, and then, in the middle of her response,  she simply said:  “It is not that we kept Shawn alive, torturously, too long.  Its not that we didn’t give Shawn’s body time to heal it was just his time to go…”

A long open, here is my tribute to Shawn:


My favorite number is 33. Today is Shawn’s 33rd b.day. It is a simple tribute. For some reason I could not muster more.  At first, I felt awful for not having a wonderful, jubilant and captivating design, and I only made one.  BUT, as reality sets in, and the ache of Shawn’s goneness has increased, how could I do otherwise ???  

 Shawn, I hope the lights for your b.day decoration will shine bright and show my love for you !!!   20170102_172101.jpg






My Grief Challenges

3 Years Gone May 3, 2016

Hello folks,

More than likely, I will not be making this post, audio. Maybe at a later date. I do not think I have it in me to do a reread, maybe another time, I will fix the wrongs, in this post.  I have dreaded the approach of this day. There are, still, so many issues that jolt my emotions. There are, still, so many happenings that bring on reality slams. I look forward to the day when there are more smiles than tears. I long for the day I no longer grit my teeth, while trying to restrain my aches.

I look forward to days filled with acceptance rather than guilt. A friend told me about a movie she had watched.  It sounds like a movie I would like to see. Plus, it was fun hearing someone else talk about a phrase that was so meaningful.  The movie was:”Bridge of Spies”. Tom Hanks stars in it.  In a conversation, Tom’s character was being asked:  “Aren’t you worried ?  Aren’t you afraid ?” His response was:”Would it help ?” 3 very powerful words. I know my guilt will not add to my life. I am pretty sure, in time, I will reject my self condemnation, regarding Shawn’s end.

!!! Warning !!!


Well, looky here. An envelop with the words “Mom”.  I wonder who this is for ??? I think I will go to my room and check it out.  


   20160501_160306.jpgDear Mom,

I know you have been dreading this day. 3 years since I have been gone.


  Mom, I hope as you read this note, you will hear my voice. Mom, I have noticed that your guilt is not as intense. For that I am glad. I am proud of you for giving up your comfort drink~~~well, I think you having some at the beach, is alright. Do not be upset with yourself. I know when you gt back home, you will get back on track.   Mom, I know you miss me, a lot. In time, you will see how God can use you because of your pain. 

Mom, please, I need you to stop worrying that you made wrong choices regarding my end.  Please do not be upset with yourself, regarding my left arm. How interesting the photo you chose for the mouse pads you sent to my family. Did you see my left arm ? Mom, I am whole, now.  Mom, I have no more pain. Mom, that Wednesday~when you had to tell me what to expect for my last days, I know we were both crying. I understood why you had to leave my room, for a few. Mom, any parent who has had to explain to their child what to expect as the different machines were being shut down, is going to doubt their actions. I need you to know that I was not angry with you. I was in a lot of pain. I was so tired. My abdomen was swelling for unknown reasons. It was so uncomfortable. 

Mom, recently, you watched one of my videos~the one when I was trying to stand, with help, of course. I know it hurts you to see my body  from those last days, but when you told someone how proud you were at my efforts~~~Mom, I loved that.You know what else ? When the physical therapy nurse taught you how to rub my  feet. Don’t you fret one more moment that you were causing me pain. When you were touching my swollen, blackened feet~I felt your love and prayers. Your touch was gentle. Thanks Mom, for rubbing my feet !!!

Mom, I want you to know, I no longer have a burnt body. No one has to spend hours cleaning my wounds. I do not miss laying flat on my back, having needles and tubing placed in my neck. Some of those procedures were, so awful. I no longer have to face those procedures.                          I know you feel so bad that the doctor would not allow my eyelids to be unstitched. I know you wanted me to see you guys, one last time. Mom, my eyes are no longer stitched closed. 

Mom, do you remember when my hair started  growing, after some grafts  were taken, from my scalp ? You were so tickled to find my 8 gray hairs. The ones you found when you were giving me a dutch boy hair cut, when I was about 3 years old. Mom, those hairs were less than 1/2 an inch long, yet you found them~I loved it. I am thankful you were not afraid to hold my little left arm. You knew how to hold it and it didn’t hurt. Most of all, Mom, when I would rest my cheek on your hand, that was pure comfort. I know your arm was very tired, but I loved the calm and peace of those moments.   

Mom, it is my prayer for you to have peace. Mom, I so want you to be happy, again. Mom, I want you to see how God can use you. I know Mother’s Day is approaching, in a few days. I want you to know how glad I am that God let me be your son. Mom, you have had a very strange life. BUT you know what ? I love how you keep moving forward, in-spite of some extremely tough situations. In the hospital, when I was trying to stand, it was your example that gave me the desire to keep trying. Thanks, Mom. I was truly blessed to be your son. I am sorry I didn’t really understand until my end happened.

Mom, I felt so bad for the many awful things you had to deal with regarding my situation. Mom, you say you are God’s biggest wimp. I hope someday you will see you have faced some of the hardest things a parent has to deal with. I am talking about things that go way back before my situation. How glad I am that you gave Melissa and I a chance to restart our relationships. Please do not think you didn’t try hard enough. I pray God fix ALL your aches.                                     

 Mom, do not regret the times we missed each others calls. Do not feel bad that I had to work-during your visits and we didn’t have much time together.

Mom, don’t forget my funny face, my last Thursday morning, as Melissa was describing the kidney function and my lack of. One more thing, Mom. I will always love how you were able to get me to breathe calmly, when I was frustrated. “Shawn, breathe calm”. You did great !!!

So Mom, you are at Rockaway beach, again.  I am so glad you have a place that is so special to you. Thanks for all the ways you are trying to keep my memory alive. It is fun watching you create different settings for me, at this time of year and for my b.days, as well  

Mom, I wish I could ride with you in your new car. It is so  you. The events that led up to your buying it,  are cool. I noticed that you bought it on the 29th of December.    Mom I really love the name of your new car: My Focus Changer.  I love that it is a Soul. Did you notice that your tail~lights look like parenthesis ? I know you claim they are a symbol of God’s arms hugging you. Only you would see that. Mom, you may not see it, but you are doing a good job on your journey through life.  

Mom, I know how hard you have worked on the 2016 ornament. I know the design hasn’t been working. I think it is one you need to continue to pursue. You have and are going through a lot of difficulties. BUT, I know you, you do not give up !!! You held out hope to my last breathe. Between you and me, I love the time you say was my last: 5.3.13 at 3:33. I wonder if you could have found one more 3~you’re so silly !!!  

Crocs On The Rocks, For Shawn !!!


Oh Mom !!!  Crocs, on the rocks,  for me !!!  I noticed you had 29 bundles of roses. Too bad you didn’t have 29 Crocs, but you tried. I see your favorite Crocs, muddy though they be. You must have worn them when planting my trees. I know you have saved some that need to go~not much sole/Soul left. Hey, was the 29 for my last living age ? Your mind keeps me busy. 

I do not want to end our time, but for now it must be so. Here is one last thing, I wish I could give you one more hug.

Love ya Mom, your Shawner !!!


My Grief Challenges

Shawn’s Trees Planted May 1, 2016

20160430_125142.jpg 20160430_125153.jpg  20160430_125217.jpg       You may be wondering what I am talking about; Shawn’s trees planted ? I will try to explain.  You see, the days of Shawn’s situation, I did not do a lot of yard work. After Shawn died and I went home to readjust, I swear I heard Shawn telling me  to work in the yard. I believe I did the pond area first. I videod my progress. I then went to work in the front of the house. Hoping I wouldn’t cry the whole time and be embarrassed in front of the neighbors.  I was going to start with a small area; between the road and sidewalk~a stretch of growing area. It has a maple that the developer put in. Most neighbors have grass in that area. Not me. Go figure I would not follow along.   

 I could not see plants through the weeds. It was so awful !!! I began the daunting task of pulling weeds~hopefully. As I came close to our driveway, I was quite tickled for me efforts. I was resting my knees on the curb, hoping drivers would see me and stay clear. I was yanking out a stray blackberry. As I pulled I noticed this tiny pine tree. It may have been about an inch tall. At first, I thought it was a strange weed. I was pressed to leave it. All the years we had lived there, I had never seen a stray pine tree.  I left it to grow.  It is picture #1. I dug it up May 2014~near Shawn’s gone day.  A few days later, in the same spot, another stray pine tree.  I dug it up May 2015, the same time. Picture #2 (although hard to see). Within a few days, another stray tree, in the same spot as the others. A few weeks ago when I was planning my days for Shawn, I had asked a friend what I could do ? She said I could plant Shawn’s trees on their property. Karen & I planted all 3 trees, yesterday. I plan on photoing their growth. Oh, and no new tree has come along.   

When Shawn died, I was going to give myself 3 years to adjust, to his goneness. My counselor gives me 5.  Considering me, I have done better than I thought. Don’t get me wrong, I hate this part of my journey. AND those reality slams are gut getters !!! I do not like realizing all the events that led to Shawn’s death. I, especially, do not like my self imposed guilt, it may be a tiny bit less, but it still smarts in a very bad way.    I am sure I failed Shawn. Thing is, nothing can undo his death, no matter how bad I failed.    Fact is I will never think I did enough

I have been very honest about why I feel guilty about Shawn’s death. I think it is way easier for you folks on the outside, to look in and tell me how irrational I am. It hurts me when you say things like: Kathy, Shawn had 73% deep tissue burns~had he recovered, what kind of life would he have to live ? Were you ready to face that issue ?  What kind of life would Shawn have had ?  How would anyone have been able to care for him ? Would he have wanted to be kept alive ? What about the awful pain he would have to endure ? It would have been selfish of you to have wanted him kept alive.    I guess it is hard to know what to say. Thing is, nothing is going to ease the pain and guilt, until God moves me forward, slow though it seems. I have tried, but snap out of it, doesn’t work.God Hold Me

I have had folks say: Shawn died a hero. Why take that from him ?      It is not that I am taking that away from him. The hole in my heart, hurts~very bad. Just let me get used to his goneness.  We, individually, handle situations differently. We, individually, have different character qualities that make us act the way we do. Be very careful not to second guess another’s emotion.  Situations may seem similar, but each of us is so different because we all are different. 

It is my hope and prayer that somehow, God can use me. For now, I will be content in finding creative ways to honor the life of my precious Shawner, until my days are fulfilled.