Sunday, June 5, 2011

Celebrating Life Well-Lived: Keeping Memories Alive

Recently Wendy and I attended a "Celebration of Life and Friendship" in memory of Shannon Lloyd. Shannon died June 5, 2001 at age 7 from internal injuries sustained when she was hit as she began a short journey on her bike to visit a friend. Her mother was but a few feet away, and Shannon wore her helmet. Even so, a tragic incident occurred that impacted many lives.

Each year since her death, Shannon's parents, Anne and Russ, have gathered friends of Shannon together for a 'Celebration of Life and Friendship" in her honor and memory on the Saturday in June closest to June 5th. It has been amazing throughout the years to share this celebration and all the stories shared about Shannon and her continued influence on and presence in the lives of so many.

In my own experience, I have been privileged to have Shannon's life and spirit be a part of our annual "Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 Run to Remember" as part of the Pike's Peak Ascent Trail Race since 2007. Anne intimated that Shannon always liked to tell people to "run like the wind." During our first "Run to Remember," a gentle breeze stirred across my face about half-way up the 13.3 mile trail on Pike's Peak. For me, it was a stirring reminder of Shannon's presence and encouragement. It continues as a fond memory each time I trek the Peak.

Life has been challenging for Shannon's family, as it is for any family moving forward from the gloom and grief of a tragic death. Yet, the celebration of her life and friendship each year re-charges the spirits of all involved reminding us of the goodness and love Shannon shared in her 7 years on earth, and of her continued invitation to us all to be thankful for the blessings of each and every family member and friend that graces our lives each day.

If you are a member of a family who has experienced a sad, tragic death due to a traffic incident, or any other circumstance or illness, perhaps initiating your own celebration of life and love in honor of and memory of your loved one is just what is needed to bring family and friends together. Why? To share fond memories as well as stories about the positive ways that your loved one has influenced, and continues to influence, your life and the lives of so many others.

I believe that when it comes to creating our own celebrations of life that Shannon would like us to take the idea and "run like the wind" to make it happen.

In gratitude for the gift of each and every life,
Tom Everson
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 - A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization

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