Monday, December 8, 2008

Hi Folks,

Over 30 years ago I created Christmas stockings for my husband, two sons and myself. The stockings were carefully stored throughout the year and hung again each Christmas. As new members joined the family, I made new stockings for them. I have to confess that this year, the hanging of the stockings was virtually the last bit of my Christmas decorating. I didn't want to face the fact that I wouldn't be hanging two of the stocking this year.

So this month, my beaded square is a final Christmas stocking for my husband Gordon and son Donnavon. After I finished stitching the sides of the stocking, I symbolically stuffed it with all the family traditions that involved Gordon and Donnavon and sewed it shut. We're determined to remember the good times, but not to morbidly focus on the loss. We will adjust and find our way through this holiday season, as well as begin some new family traditions.

May you all have a wonderful holiday and a joyous new year.
Jeanette Shanigan

Monday, November 10, 2008


This month I try to accept the loss of my beloved first-born son, Donnavon Shane Shanigan. As a mother and parent, I expected to precede him in death. The alternate scenario seems to break one of the most basic laws of nature. Just as I nurtured and guided him through infancy and youth, I expected him to be there to help and guide me through old age and dotage. His untimely death is difficult to comprehend, much less accept.

This cherished photo is Donnavon's first Thanksgiving. He was about 9 months old. My mother taught me that family gathers around a table of food on birthdays, holidays and other special occasions to celebrate the joy of the event. In this case, Donnavon was just beginning to eat solid food--you can see his high-chair tray litered with black olives and small bits of turkey. As a joke, his daddy handed him the entire turkey leg; Donnavon promptly stuck it in his mouth. The whole family laughed and someone grabbed a camera to record the comical scene.

I will miss Donnavon's insistence that I must bake pecan pie, as well as pumpkin. Last year he actually baked the pecan pie, a pecan chocolate version that he wanted to try. I will miss his dumping garlic powder on everything. I will miss his grumbling that last year's stuffing was better.

I miss Donnavon so much .... Here are some photos of Donnavon doing what he enjoyed most:

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Folks, I greatly appreciate the words of sympathy and consolation. As many of you surmised, I do these pieces, not for sympathy, but to help me heal, grieve, and find my way in my new life.

Here's an article of interest: Please be informed if you or someone you know, is taking painkillers.

Jeanette Shanigan

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


This month I face and try to accept cause of death issues. My husband suffered constant, acute pain, for which his doctor prescribed painkillers. One day he took too many and died. In his intense grief over the loss of his father, our son self-medicated with booze and a handful of his dad's painkillers. He died, too. I miss them both so much.......

Monday, October 6, 2008

September is done.

For my September journal page, I chose to bead my husband's favorite chair. It desperately needed to be replaced, as the stuffing was escaping in places. But hubby preferred to cover the holes with duct tape, because it was comfy like an old pair of slippers. I cut a square of the black leather out of the arm of the chair and used it for the chair in this square. His empty chair represents the empty spot in our lives.