With my whole heart I can say that I am not afraid of anything in life now that I’ve watched my son die.  Nothing can ever be harder than that moment in time; therefore, I have nothing to fear.  Death itself no longer scares me, either, knowing he is waiting for me on the other side.

There are, however, a few land mines that I run into every once in a while that catch me off guard.  Explosions of anger, frustration or sadness that turn me inside out and make me come unglued.

You know what I’m talking about.  You’re minding your own business at Target, trying to remember what the hell you went there for in the first place, when an acquaintance notices you from afar.  “Shannon?!?”

The feeling of being recognized in a grocery store, or anywhere else for that matter, freaks me the hell out all by itself.  What’s worse is dreading how this conversation is about to go.  There is a new anxiety born when your child dies.  To meet someone new or run into an old friend means you have to brace yourself for the standard awkwardness that is about to ensue.

This is the part where they say all these kind phrases like, “well at least you have another son” or “at least he didn’t suffer” or the best one of all… “honey, this was all part of God’s plan”.

>insert right hook, here<

I really do have visions of punching these people in the face.  In all honesty, I am very much at peace with my son’s death.  I am not, however, at peace with people’s tackiness.  One moment I am full of love and light and being grateful for whatever I am actually doing in the moment, and next I’m a raging lunatic who wants to go bananas on some chick in Target.

For a while, I beat myself up for having these flashes of crazy speed through my brain.  I thought, how can I be truly at peace if these nasty thoughts still happen?  I thought it needed to be one or the other.  You are either at peace or a hot mess.

The truth is, we will always be both.  We’re human.  Our souls are here to have a human experience and the human experience is all of those things combined.  The yin and the yang.  You cannot have one without the other.  My moments of peace would not be moments of peace without going a little nutso once in a while.  I wouldn’t be able to appreciate my considerate friends if there weren’t jerks out there dropping God-bombs on me at the store.

So the next time Suzie Q starts getting preachy in the toilet paper aisle, smile and with all sincerity, tell her, “Screw God’s plan” and stroll away.

Shannon Harris Horton

Author, Breaking the Rules of Grief, A Bereaved Mother’s Journey


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Shannon Harris

As a young bereaved mother, I had conflicting ideas on the grieving process. Alone in a sea of much older and much more experienced bereaved parents, I turned to writing to tell my story. My hope is to offer alternative ideas to traditional forms of expressing grief and to share the love and light that I experience today. I have been writing since I was a child but have earned my living over the last 20 years in customer service, wellness, and management industries. I recently became a Certified Grief Intuitive Coach to help spread the love and share positivity with the world. My goal is to help women and especially bereaved mothers, see their value even after a loss. I reside in Northern California with my two surviving children and my little angel, ever present.

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