an unnatural order

i’ve spent the majority of this week loving on my babies – not that that’s something i don’t do every day – but this week was different – this week i’ve been extra attentive, extra patient – this week i noticed things about my babies that i might normally overlook or take for granted – i hugged them a little longer, kissed them a little more – tried to memorize every single thing about them, just in case – because in an instant …

i’ve been trying to write this blog all week – but nothing sounds quite right – it’s the hardest thing i’ve ever written

Monday i did something i’ve never done before and something i hope i’ll never have to do again – attend the funeral of a child – it was actually a double funeral – a week ago my friend Shanon (Psycho Shanon if you’re a KKITM listener) lost her 2 year old nephew, Ethan, in a tragic accident – he drowned in the family pool along with his grandfather – the presumption is that the grandfather may have had some type of medical issue and neither of them could swim – there are no definitive answers as to exactly what happened and the truth is, it probably doesn’t matter – because at the end of the day, a family has lost their father/grandfather and son/grandson – and my sweet Shanon has lost the baby boy that was her world

back when i first started working for Kidd Kraddick in the morning, Shanon was the lead phone screener (she taught me everything i know!) and we became fast friends – we’re both Cancers and our personalities are a lot alike – we’re both perfectionists, we’re both high strung, we both have a low tolerance for bullshit and we both love kids – despite the nickname “Psycho Shanon”, i always found Shanon to be more than normal – smart, hard working and about the most loyal friend you could find – it wasn’t long before i knew all about her and her family – particularly her little sister Samantha

i remember when Shanon found out Samantha was having a boy – she was so excited – and the excitement after he was born?  to say that Shanon instantly loved him is an understatement – she was like a new mom – talking about the things he did, showing me pictures and videos – she’d preface every conversation with “wanna see pictures of Ethan?” and end it with “thanks for looking – i know you don’t really care” – but i did care – a lot – the joy that Ethan brought Shanon was immeasurable – and that’s what children do

Shanon and Ethan developed a close relationship early on – Sam was still in school when Ethan was born so the whole family pitched in to help so that Sam could stay on track – Shanon would take care of Ethan after work – she would keep him overnight on the weekends – she truly loved him in a way only a parent could – exactly one week before Ethan died, Shanon and i met for lunch – Shanon didn’t mind meeting at Chick-Fil-A so that my kids could come – they played in the play area while Shanon and i talked – we talked about “our” kids in that way that moms do – we talked about how big they were getting – milestones – she asked me if she should get Ethan a new car seat because he seemed to be outgrowing his current one – and then she said something that has resonated with me since the day i found out Ethan was gone – “i never knew i could love someone so much” – it’s a phrase i’ve heard from every single mother i know – i’ve said it and thought it myself a few hundred times – but i never realized how much it would mean just one week later

when i walked into the church, the family was already lined up in the back preparing to walk in – as soon as i caught a glimpse of the caskets, i could feel the tears well up in my eyes – and then i saw Shanon – our eyes met and we both began to cry – she walked over to me and the minute i put my arms around her she lost it – and there we stood, holding each other crying while i searched for the right words to say …”i’m so sorry”, “i’m praying for you”, “i love you” … all well meaning and honest but they all seemed so empty …

i’ve always been a big believer that “everything happens for a reason” – even when bad things happen – i have to believe that God has a plan for all of us and that he wouldn’t allow senseless tragedies to occur if he didn’t – i also don’t question God about these things – don’t get me wrong – i still get mad – even pissed – but for me personally, it’s more detrimental to ponder things that there is no answer for – and no matter how tight i think me and God are, i know he’s not gonna send me an email with the answers to all my questions – but i do believe he has a reason – i just don’t know what it is – but, i’ve also never lost a child – and i imagine if i had, the last thing i ‘d want is someone else sharing their theories of the who/what/when/whys of the universe – so instead, i keep my mouth shut and pray – a lot – i pray that the families are able to lean on each other and become stronger instead of falling apart – i pray that they’re able to find peace – i pray that they’ll be able to remember more of the good and less of the bad …

i’m worried for Shanon – every time i think about Ethan, i tear up – i know that i’m extra emotional about this situation because my kids are close to Ethan’s age – and it kills me to even think about losing one of my kids – i can’t begin to imagine how these 2 families must feel – i can’t stop thinking about Sam who had to bury her only child – and her husband who lost his father and his son – i can’t stop thinking about his mother who lost her husband and grandson – Shanon’s parents who lost their grandson – and Shanon who lost a baby boy that she loved as her own – i don’t know how you begin to get through this – how you rationalize it and accept it – and i don’t know what to do to help my friend


  1. 1

    Dana says

    I remember Shanon talking about Ethan quite often… I can’t imagine her pain… I wish I knew what to tell you, how to help her.. But I wouldn’t know either. How unimaginable! I pray that God shows you the way to be there for the family the way they need.

  2. 2

    Kelley says

    dianthe, as i read your blog this morning i am crying. next thursday would be devon’s 13th birthday! a joyous day for all children – the day they officially become a teenager. however, we won’t be celebrating because devon has been gone now for 8 years – a drowning accident. my heart breaks for Sam, Shannon, Libby, Sam’s husband, his family and Shannon’s family. That day more than 8 years was the worst day of my life – I would give my life to have Devon back. I still ask why – why Ethan – a sweet innocent 2 year old boy? why Devon – a sweet innocent almost 5 year old boy? It is sad to say but I am still mad at God 8 years later – why, why, why would he take away my sweet Devon? many prayers to Shannon and all of her family because I know first hand how it feels to lose a son….

  3. 3

    Becky says

    So beautifully said, Dianthe. I read Shanon’s blog and it was so incredibly evident how much she loved Ethan. I don’t pray as often as I should, but I have been on my knees praying for this family.

  4. 6

    mika says

    I’ve been out of the KKITM loop for a little bit while out on leave – I had no idea. My heart just breaks for Shannon and her family. I can’t even begin to imagine. I will be praying…

    • 8

      Sharon Valle says

      And be there for her when she needs a hug and/or a shoulder to cry on. In the meantime,
      thanks to you, she has an extended prayer family asking for an easing of her family’s pain.
      Thank you for sharing –

  5. 9

    Mary Ann Crantz says

    Your heartfelt sharing was so beautiful. What I can tell you, never having lost a child, but a sister, is to always be there for her, don’t stop talking about Ethan, ever. You keep him alive by doing sharing the stories and through the tears for years to come. That’s REALLY important.
    Thanks for sharing your heart.

  6. 10

    Star says

    That just made my heart sink
    Especially in my situation
    I think ppl think when u say “aunt” your love is less or your bond isn’t as strong bc there not from u. Some aunts are mothers in love and actions. My prayers go out to Shanon and the family.

  7. 11

    Candice Firouzi says

    Ah! I still cry thinking about Ethan. He and my son were buddies and I too am so angry over this. I try and tell myself everything happens for a reason, but I can’t wrap my head around this. I see Hayden talking about him and say how he wants Jesus to bring Ethan back now and it breaks my heart. One of the hardest things is not knowing what to say, because like you said, all meaning well, but it all seems so empty. Sam and Orlando are AMAZINGLY strong. I don’t know how they do it. To see Shanon and Libby hurting so much tears me up. I know Ethan was not their son, but they didn’t love him any less. One day, though, we’ll get to see him again! Dianthe, I didn’t get to meet you at the funeral, but your blog was perfectly written!

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