Monday, November 23, 2015

Cheyenne would thank you if she could; I can and do

I'm going to try to make this the last post specifically about my daughter Cheyenne's death. No promises. Although I'll have things to say in the future which will tie in. I apologize for the lack of order in this post.

First off, people have asked if there's a memorial fund to help her two young sons. There is:

The Cheyenne Rose McManigal memorial fund,
Simmons Bank, 3109 N. Reynolds Road, Bryant, AR 72022
 Att: Goody Bruning, Assistant Branch Manager

Business card:

A GoFundMe account was also set up in her name, and any money deposited there (after they take their fees out) will be sent by me to the memorial fund.

I can't thank everyone enough for all their help, support, and love during this time. It would have been really easy to have felt isolated. I didn't. I felt as though my pain was shared- and I know it was.

My daughter and I had gone through a rough time in our relationship, but it had gotten a lot better in the past year. She had found a boyfriend a little over a year ago who actually treated her well and made her happy. She had felt free to make friends again, and to actually communicate with me and others, after five years of near-imprisonment. And her happiness showed. I grieve those lost years, but celebrate that they ended before it was completely too late.

I have so many memories that flood my mind at random moments. 
How she always looked forward to the first snow of the winter, when we'd take our traditional barefoot romp. 
The time I sliced my hand open on a tomahawk, she asked if it hurt as I sat there dripping blood, and said "huh" as she walked on after I admitted it did.
The time the neighbor's dog got aggressive toward her in our yard and I chased him home.
The despair and emptiness I felt when she decided to go back to live with her mom- and the friend who rescued me and may have saved my life. But, the joy I felt each time I was able to talk to her.
She always had my heart, whether she wanted to acknowledge it or not.

I would like to share a few pictures of the memorial service.

Cheyenne spent last Sunday re-framing photos,
which were then displayed at her memorial service on Friday.

Cheyenne had been waitressing at the local Chili's restaurant in Benton, AR. In a stunning display of compassion and concern, that restaurant paid for the entire memorial service. The whole thing. People claim that "big businesses" are only out for themselves; this is evidence that not all are. Her co-workers showed up at the service wearing blue ribbons in her memory. The love shown staggers me every time I think of it. I ask you to thank Chili's (especially the one in Benton, AR) however you see fit.

I would have attended the service if I'd had to hitchhike and sleep in ditches. But between you and my friends from Facebook (and I realize there's a LOT of overlap there), that wasn't necessary. I was able to attend without worrying too much about the expense. It may seem trivial, but that made a difficult and painful trip somewhat more bearable. Thank you all!!

I realize that in quiet moments I will continue to shed tears. My heart will always have a wound. I will always see things I want to share with her, and then realize... I also know this will not be the end of me unless I let it be. I have a son and daughter who still need me. Although, at 28 years old he probably needs me somewhat less than my 8 year-old daughter does. I need them both, regardless.

I send admiration and appreciation to my first ex-wife for stepping up to raise the boys. I send thanks and love to Cheyenne's boyfriend for making her last year the happiest she'd had in a very long time. And I wish happiness in the future for him, and hope he knows how much he means to me.

It is truly amazing how love and gratitude can keep loss and tragedy from being overwhelming.

Believe it or not, I try to leave purely personal stuff out of this blog. This was a major exception, I know.

Back to regular blogging tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.