It was the day after the memorial service, and we were starting the difficult task of going through our daughter’s room. Shelly, our beloved daughter, was dead. The last thing I wanted was to sift through her things, but Darrell insisted. I did not feel like arguing. We had already done enough fighting to scar Shelly for life – what was the point of it with her gone?
The room remained as Shelly had left it, like she was going to come home at any minute, sit down at her computer and start typing. Her room was a disaster area. Outside of the one spot where her laptop sat wide open, the desk was covered with papers of every shape, size and color.
My hand paused on the knob of the door, and it was all I could do to look around. My head screamed at me to back out into the hallway, close the door, and forget going in, but Darrell was right behind me. We had to do this.
Darrell headed straight for the desk. Numbly, I followed him and sat down on the edge of Shelly’s bed, peering over his shoulder as he picked up Shelly’s journal. Thinking this was a violation of Shelly’s privacy, I stood up. Yeah, I had no idea what she had been up to in her room, but it wasn’t my business.
“Stay.” For the first time in years, Darrell’s voice was calm. That stilled me. I sat as he read, watching the expressions on his face change. I couldn’t see what he was reading, but his reaction told me Shelly’s journal was having a profound effect.
When Darrell closed the journal and turned towards the computer, I frowned. As much of an invasion of privacy as reading Shelly’s journal was, looking through her computer seemed more so.
“She had a website, you know.” Darrell patiently sat with the computer as everything loaded.
I hadn’t known that, and I didn’t pretend to. Instead, I stared at the wall about the desk, praying for a quick end to the madness. This was too much too fast, and I just couldn’t deal with it.
“There’s something you should see. I didn’t even realize she was doing this until after the service yesterday.”
Darrell set the computer in my lap, staring at me pointedly. Sighing, I looked around the website he had taken me to. What I found was a major surprise waiting for me.
Hello, world. I’m Shelly, and my parents are divorced.
I know this sounds like a crazy way to address people. It’s the truth, and I refuse to hide it. Besides, this website is dedicated to kids whose parents are divorced or getting divorced). My parents have put me through a lot, and I know a lot of other kids have been through a lot because of their parents, too…
I was staring at the fruits of Shelly’s labor. While I ran around the house griping about her father, she was building a website to help others get through what she was going through.
The more I explored, the more I found out. Shelly had posted a blog about us, and other kids had blogs about their families. I came across a chat room, a message board, a resource list…
And as I read Shelly’s blog, I realized other things. This website had been a labor of love for her, and we couldn’t let it disappear because she was gone. My eyes met Darrell’s over the screen, and for the first time in five years, we actually agreed about something.
To All of Shelly’s Friends:
For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Shelly was in a car accident about three weeks ago. The doctors did everything they could to save her, but her body was too broke. On July 22, she went to be with our Father in Heaven.
Do not worry about what will happen to the website. It was important to Shelly, and we want to see it live on. We will continue to add to Shelly’s blog from her personal journal, and create a more permanent website soon.
We want to thank those of you who knew and have been so supportive during this trying time. As much as Shelly was an inspiration to you, you have been one to us. Wherever life takes us, we are grateful for knowing you if only for a little while.
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