Meet the McNeil Family

Meet the McNeil Family

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

4 Weeks

It has been 4 weeks. Four weeks since my beautiful little girl drew her last breath. I think I am just now beginning to feel the weight of her death. My brain knows she is gone, but my heart is having a much more difficult time realizing it. All normal and natural responses to loss, but when it's your first time going through the process it can be confusing.

Matt and I attending a bereavement counseling session with Waverly's hospice agency. It was quite helpful at normalizing what we have been feeling. The counselor provided us with some literature and book recommendations that may he helpful as we navigate the grief process. We learned that grief is not linear nor predictable. Each person experiences loss differently and time will never heal, it just may soften the blow.

I haven't written at all since Waverly died because I know I am still too fragile to put to paper all the emotions swirling inside of me. I have made some notes and reminders, but I am unable to do much more. What used to be cathartic now feels agonizing.

I have learned a few things thus far on this journey. I love hearing Waverly's name. It is important for me to see and hear her name. It doesn't cause me pain, but rather brings a bit of light into the darkness. I have also found a tremendous amount of joy and comfort from hearing how Waverly has inspired *you*. It reminds me that her sweet spirit continues to be alive on this earth, bringing beauty and acceptance to those who need it the most.

Please reach out. If you mentioned wanting to get together or bring a meal, please take the initiative and contact us. It helps to have some ideas in mind to take the pressure off of me and just allow me to be with you. Follow my lead. I may want to talk and cry or I may simply want to hear all that is going on in your life. Ask how I am doing. Say Waverly's name. And know that I will offer grace. I don't know how best to journey this new road, but I need friends who will be by my side along the way.

Thank you to all who have offered support to our family. I am just now beginning the process of sending thank you cards out. Forgive my tardiness and know we are grateful for everything.

7 comments:

Jim Garringer said...

Shannon, Matt and Oliver, may God bless and comfort you on this journey none of you would ever have chosen. Wavey will always be in our hearts - so will you. We love you and continue to pray.

Lauren said...

I run with Austina Jordan and she often talked about your journey down this road with Waverly. In October, we dedicated a mile of our marathon to her. When we run in the morning and use our illumination vests, I always think of Waverly when I land on the purple light.
Thank you for sharing her story, for the honesty, and the love. During my long runs, I find myself praying for you and your family. As a mom, my heart breaks for you. Please know that you and your little girl have made an impact.

Laura Darrow Davenport said...

Shannon and Matt (and Oliver too!)

My heart aches for you but in my experience, I too would rather hear positive stories about my loved one rather than simply condolences. We need to know that they have left this world a better place for having been part of it and, more specifically, we need to know how so that we can see those flickering moments of grace that she has left behind.

I am one of those "we've never met but I've been with you along the way" kind of strangers. It must be strange for you that there are people who know quite a bit about your family, whom you know nothing about. But in your sharing, you have helped Waverly touch the far corners of the earth...and I find it absolutely incredible how Wavey can touch the lives of others so profoundly, having never typed a word herself or interacted personally with most of us. Simply amazing.

Waverly embodied innocence. I got this strong feeling from the pictures you would post and the little video clips you shared of her. Life has hard parts. Waverly had a lot of hard parts. But through every roadblock and bump in the road, she remained innocent and soft, still loving on her Mickey Mouse Club and Winnie the Pooh. She reminded me constantly to never harden my heart when things get hard. It;s easy to shut down and close others out. It's easy to become withdrawn and forget the things we love. It's even easier to throw a pity party and spend the day in bed (let's be real, it's even wonderful sometimes) BUT there is light in the darkness and sometimes the light of someone else can help make your darkness just a little bit brighter. Your little girl embodied that message. She lived it. You and Matt raised a little girl who knew happiness and comfort and love...she was safe. What a beautiful gift you gave her...light through her journey. I hope that each day, you let a little bit more light in. Allow others to be your light; it's your turn :)

I hope Waverly is on her quest to find THE best Carousel that Heaven has to offer. I bet it's incredible!

Jen said...

Thank you for sharing all you did regarding Waveryly's life and her service. You are an inspiration and a help to me, especially as I have a niece with special needs. When I am with her I don't see those "special needs" i just see her as my sweet niece.
Don't worry about the thank you notes, take all the time that you need. With prayers from someone in the Taylor University Family,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Shannon! You, Matt and Oliver are in my prayers! How is Oliver doing?

Anonymous said...

W*A*V*E*R*L*Y

Messy and Wonderful said...

I think of Waverly all the time. Your vulnerable story all these years has helped me be bold to stop and talk to a child in a wheelchair and not be afraid if they don't talk back. There is a little girl at our elementary school who gets pushed around by her aide from class to class and one day a couple of years ago, I just decided to stop them and I introduced myself to her and complimented her cute shoes. I asked her name, she is non-verbal, so her aide answered me. I got down on her level and held her hand and said a few more things, and when I was done, the aide thanked me because she said that people don't take the time to talk to this sweet little girl. That was all because of Waverly.
I would love to know how Oliver is doing.
Praying for you.