I have thousands of favorite moments with Shawn. Because I can no longer create new memories with him, I often fear I will forget the ones we did share. I fear that I will forget the sound of his voice, how he laughed, his goofy dance moves, the way he hugged and kissed me, and how it felt to be safe and at home in his arms. I know I am writing about my journey as a survivor of suicide, but by no means do I want Shawn or his life to be defined by his death. He was so much more than that. Shawn was handsome, intelligent, funny, loving, thoughtful, and maybe a little stubborn. My friends at work would probably also add a bit of an instigator. Shawn had the best smile and most beautiful blue eyes. He was my love. My everything.
The primary reason I do choose to share my journey is because I think it is imperative to create an open dialogue about suicide and mental health. Another reason I think writing is so important to me is because it allows me to share and forever preserve some of the moments Shawn and I did have.
A memory that stood out to me today occurred this past December during my winter break. Shawn and I decided to have a game night as we did on many occasions. We took turns choosing a game to play. My first choice-Just Dance. I am a master at Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” To get a visual, watch it on YouTube. Shawn always made fun of my awesome moves, but pretty sure he changed the whole dance into one motion I can only describe as a very manly shimmy shake. We did a couple more dances and then started talking about our song choice for our first dance. His: “Crush” by Dave Matthews Band. Mine: “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. We turned on “Crush” and there in the middle of our living room shared our first dance.
After that, Shawn chose for us to play many games of cribbage and then I chose to play Catch Phrase. At the end of that night, I vividly remember Shawn saying, “Thanks for a good night.” It stands out in my mind because even then I thought it was a bit strange to say, but we were always fairly good at expressing our gratitude towards each other. After all, it was a good night. One of the best nights and now one of many favorite memories.
Sometimes a little bit of happiness comes from dancing like a weirdo in the middle of your living room. If you are lucky enough to share these kind of moments with someone you love, consider yourself exceptionally blessed. I know I do. Today, I thought I’d share my current favorite, feel good song so you, too, can dance like a weirdo. If you can’t dance right now, for whatever reason, maybe just watching Justin Timberlake will make you feel better too.