Monday, August 27, 2012



Every now and again, I'll think of a question I have about Shannon for Steve.  They just pop into my head, and I'm hoping he'll have an answer.  The amount at which we share a life, she and I, is enormous.  Married to the same man, raising the same children (I've added Parker to the mix, of course).  I have so many questions for her, many of which Steve can't answer.  When times get tough with Jordan, I've asked Steve, "What would Shannon do here?"  I've wondered what her dreams were and whether she yelled a lot or was a calm mother.  Was she into health food?  Was she shy and reserved or outgoing?  Did she struggle with her faith too?  What did her last days look like?  Was she scared?

I met her only one time, at church, when Lindsey was about two.  I was curious what she was like, even then, because she was my favorite professor's wife.  I thought she was lovely, she seemed a bit quiet, and that's about it.  It was a two-second meeting, and I never saw her again.  

I asked Steve recently what their last date was.  And whether they knew it would be their last.  He told me they were driving home from Mass General and stopped at a Bertuccis along the way.  It was just the two of them.  They would be returning to the hospital a few days later where she'd be admitted for major surgery.  The surgery would be unsuccessful and she'd pass away shortly afterwards.  He says they talked about how all of these waiters and diners all bustled about their business, cleaning up dishes, picking at their bread and crunching on ice cubes, pouring drinks and taking orders, having no idea what was going on at the table in which they sat.  He says he remembers they were a bit in awe of that fact.  Here they were, eating a meal that could potentially be their last together, alone as husband and wife (not knowing at the time that it was), and no one around had a clue.

I've thought about that a lot.  Everyone's got something.  Big, small, something. 

59 comments:

  1. Well, now I might just take to crying at my desk. This is how I feel sometimes when my husband and I sit quietly together. For example, we had a little one's first birthday this weekend and children were running around everywhere. Smiles and sunshine abounded. Yet very few (if any) knew the hurt in our hearts from wanting children of our own and not being able to have them. Everyone has something. We need to be kind with our actions and words. Thank you for the reminder.

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  2. Bridget,
    I just lost of words after reading this. and yes, i used to think about it a lot when i sit on a table. whether in a restaurant or a coffee shop. everyone has something.

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  3. yes i still read your blog. and thanks for the post. really powerful and totally jumped out to me since last night was our back to school night, and Be Kind was the theme we chose for our family. It is something that sounds so easy, yet it's easier said than done.

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  4. beautifully written. I have thought about that, too. Everyone has a story, whether they are in the midst of something big right now or have already gone through it. That is why people are so fascinating to me. I just want to hear all of their stories.

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  5. I love this post. I so often forget that everyone's life is a struggle in one way or another. Thank you for this beautiful reminder! Have a great day!

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  6. @melanieandbrad, oh girl. yes, your story is one (among many, to be sure) that this post is talking about. wishing you lots of good things in your future...

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  7. I really can't find any words. This is just so...heart felt? Beautiful? Regardless, thank you for sharing.

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  8. This is so... I'm breathless. My heart broke a little bit. I can't even imagine my lack of composure if I was forced to have a "last meal" with someone I love.

    Thanks for a beautiful post.
    Tess
    www.theframedlady.com

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  9. i love this. you have a way of making me think, Bridget.

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  10. Oh wow. Yes they are, and what a sweet, tender, reminder that story was. Thank you so much for sharing that.

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  11. Oh this is so touching. You have brought a little reality to my own busy morning. Thank you Bridget.

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  12. I love you. And I have always loved and been in awe of your ability to search for Shannon in your days. Whether it be ways to continue to remind your children that she loved them, remind your husband that it is okay to hurt for their loss, or even more important when you remind all of them through simple questions like this that she still matters - that her story will always and forever be part of your family.

    It takes a strength and confidence that I know I could not muster. You are one fine lady Bridget Carmody Hunt! Fine indeed.

    p.s. Kera and her "yes I still read your blog" cracks me up!

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  13. This breaks my heart. You are such an incredibly strong woman to pick up where she left off. There is a special place for you after this life, Bridget Hunt, wherever that may be.
    Thanks for sharing. xo

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  14. Not that it takes much, but I'm crying.

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  15. Beautiful Bridget, just beautiful. And one of my favorite quotes, such a great reminder.

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  16. A tear or two at work never hurts on a Monday morning. Thanks for the post :)

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  17. My husband and I will sit and think about what people around us might be going through. We deal with a chronic illness (my husband is waiting for a kidney transplant) and we don't for a second look like we deal with anything out of the ordinary, but really, who does? Like you said, there is always something. I try to think this when I'm quick to judge someone or let my temper get the best of me with someone (i.e. road rage!)

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  18. I loved this. I was at a family birthday party last night, quielty licking my wounds of a miscarriage while watching everyone pat the ever pregnant belly of a friend of the family. We would have been due one week apart. Everyone does have their something. Thankful for the reminder that I'm not alone.

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  19. now my stomach is in my throat...and i have the sniffles.

    you are remarkable for keeping her present and for still searching for her. and i'm positive she'd think you were doing an incredible job.

    jb lost a sister when he was 16, she was 18. i think about her all of the time, to a point where it is probably weird. I want to know it all. all the tidbits, to keep. to really know what she was like. So many questions.

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  20. Ah this is just so beautiful. Thank you for the reminder of being conscious of the people around me. It's so true, you never know what someone's going through. And a rude comment could be a result of a truly hard time that person is experiencing. I want to do my best to be more attentive and kind to the people around me.

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  21. This is beautiful and raw and I love it.
    You're so right. Everyone has something. We never know all of someone's past, why they are the way that they are, until we dig deeper.
    What a special woman you are!

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  22. I can relate to this post so much. I think Steve needs a blog.

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  23. PS... I love how you talk about her so candidly with each other, that you don't tip toe around the subject. I can only imagine how beneficial that is for your kids.

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  24. I would have so many questions too. It is almost impossible to imagine the pain that your family has had to endure....yet it happens all the time. We have a dear friend that just lost her husband to pancreatic cancer. They have two little girls. Just heartbreaking. I believe you and Shannon will one day be able to know each other first hand That's what I think.

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  25. I like to remind myself that when I'm in public interacting with strangers I might walk by someone who is going through some kind of difficult life situation, is sick, depressed, maybe has some kind of mental illness. It's just a reminder that we're all human and everyone suffers in some way. It's a good reminder to have empathy and to be kind. I think you highlighted this so nicely. (BTW - I'm Jenna's friend and I've been reading your blog for a while. It's great.)

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  26. One of my favorite phrases! When I was a waitress I used to think this all the time. When people were grumpy or rude, what did they have going on in their life? Working in the Longwood area in Boston, I think about it all day. Every car that I pass, what are they dealing with? Life, death, something else?

    Life is crazy like that.

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  27. so true, so beautiful, so sad.

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  28. That quotation is one of my favorites, for exactly the reason you posted this. I've been in the place of your husband and his ex-wife, and it feels so ominous and disappointing and surreal. No matter how happy people seem, we have no idea what they may be up against.

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  29. Wow - I've wondered before about being the "second" partner when there is a loss. My best friend lost her fiance (after they had broken up) and the person she was with at the time did NOT understand how to be OK with her grieving process... I think it takes a special person to have a softness & understanding for these situations. I have promised her that there IS someone out there who won't be threatened by the hole in her heart.

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  30. this truly touched me and reminded me, of how often I complain about others. not knowing what they're fighting or which story they share. thank you!

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  31. What an amazing story you have here. So beautiful, so sad, and so sweet that you have these conversations.

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  32. This was such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing.

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  33. So interesting and I'm glad you shared. I wondered if you wondered all these questions. Does your husband mind sharing? Some people can't/don't want to talk about painful times in their lives, others (like me) are pretty open.

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  34. What a poingant and beautiful post, i got all choked up and needed to hear something along these lines today. Thank you for your honesty and words :)

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  35. Add me to the list of the crying.

    I love you, Bridget Hunt.

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  36. Such a good reminder that you never know what others are facing! xoxo

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  37. As a reader of your blog, I wonder quite often about Shannon, too. Every picture of William makes me think of her because he looks so much like her. As a mother, my heart aches when I think how she must have felt. Life is a journey for us all - thanks for the reminder.

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  38. I love your writing, Bridget. I love that you're curious about her. I think you're doing an excellent job at being a mom to the kids. I think she's happy it's you.

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  39. beautiful and sad all rolled into one.

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  40. This post is so perfectly timed for me, something I need to remember.

    I think that is why I love the This American Life podcast. It gives life to all the regular stories, that seem insignificant, but really are, quite significant.

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  41. This had me crying. You are so right, everyone has a battle of their own and we all need to remember that. I am sure Shannon would love you and be so grateful for you loving her kids.
    I have never posted my story on my blog yet but this was a very big reality for me, leaving my kids without a mother. The worry for my kids consumed me and still does sometimes. You are amazing and I can only pray that someone like you would fill in for me.

    -Sarah

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  42. Beautiful post, thank you. My boss was on Jerk Mode yesterday and I'm still in a foul mood because of that today, but you've reminded me that whatever mood I have isn't for other people to deal with.
    The same way that I shouldn't assume that my colleagues have the perfect life because they're smiling to me at work, as they might simply be trying their best not to let their issues bother me. And that deserves some respect.

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  43. and now i'm crying at my work desk and it's only 9:30am. usually i wait until at least noon.

    but all jokes aside, this post is beautiful and i, too, think about this a lot. i had a health scare last year and it was one of the hardest things i went through. on the outside looking in people had NO idea what was going on with me. there were small moments when i was not only envious of other people just living their lives like nothing was wrong, but i wanted to know why bad stuff had to happen to good people. like you said, so many people have something going on and that is why i always tell myself to be kind to others. because you just never know what they are going through.
    xox

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  44. damn. that's a pretty heavy thing to think about, but so true. i think its so awesome that you and steve talk about shannon and that you have all of these positive thoughts and feelings about her. i just think it shows just how much you love your husband, and how happy you are (and a heck of a lot about your maturity!). i think it would be hard in a way to live in a family that existed for a time without me... but you seem to handle it with grace and look at it in such an amazing light. i really respect that about you, and i really love that perspective... you have such a happy family and seem to add so much joy! thanks for including us in your journey ;)

    xx, kara

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  45. what a beautifully written post.

    we never really know what is going on in someone else's life and so we should treat everyone with the courtesy and kindness we expect as you never know :)

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  46. I'm not going to lie... this post majorly bummed me out. Dying early and leaving my husband a widow is pretty much one of my worst nightmares. And I am currently waiting for some test results to make sure my thyroid cancer is still nice and gone. Stressed? A little. Last night, my husband and I went to dinner, sat in a booth next to a table filled with 3 couples and two pretty new babies. And I kind of got a glimpse into what Steve had told you about their last date (not totally since this won't be our last date).

    I need to just focus on the fact that everything has struggles, even though those 3 couples didn't really seem like it.

    Love your blog, Bridget! :)

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  47. @natalie, hoping for good news and good health in your future :) that is hard stuff...

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  48. This gave me goosebumps. Such a powerful point made , not to mention moment in time!

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  49. Um, that was beautiful.

    I love you and that amazing love story of yours, woman.

    What a class act you are.

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  50. oh friend.
    you know i've turned into the worst commenter but i had to get to the computer for this...

    such a lovely post...
    gave me goosebumps...
    it's almost more than i can wrap my head around... heartbreaking... sweet...

    you're amazing... xx

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  51. This is the truest thing I have read in a long time.

    On July 31, I held my mama's hand and told her it was time to go as her struggle with cancer ended.

    We also had a major surgery that failed and 10 days later, she was gone.

    Bringing my 2 year old daughter to see her for what would be the last time was one of the hardest things I ever did. Losing my mom while I am 8 months pregnant is the other. Random people right now see a beautiful toddler and a pregnant girl, and expect me to be overjoyed - which I am, but still carry the sadness.

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  52. Beautiful....tears are flowing, but in the best possible way. It is good to be reminded that we all have our "things" whether it is apparent at the surface or not.

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  53. Oh, Bridget... tears. So true. This is now blaringly obvious to me, thanks to what I've been through. This past Mother's Day, for example, we took my mom out to brunch, which was a lovely buffet somewhere, and some lady in line offered to let my mom cut in front of her because she was waiting for her husband. My mom's mind was elsewhere (Edd had just passed) and she didn't hear or respond to the lady. Then the lady made some rude, snide remark, as if my mom had been ignoring her on purpose. My mom sort of came to the present and turned to the lady and said, "you know my husband just died. You should really be a little kinder to others, because you don't know their story." The lady just sort of sputtered and didn't know what to say.

    I try to treat everyone with a little more compassion now. Good rule to live by. Everyone's definitely got something.

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  54. This gave me chills. I applaud you for both this post and your obvious compassion for those sweet children of yours, many people in your shoes would adopt the mentality that things are to be done their way, rather than stepping aside and wondering how it could have been done. Well done, and you are beautiful!

    xoxo andrea
    www.yesterdaystomorrowblog.com

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talk to me.

(also! if you have a question, check back as i usually answer it here!)

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