Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shaina's words

Sunday, Shaina's memorial will be held in Charlotte. We are Carolina girls, after all. It's where we were born, where we grew up, where we made many good memories. When Shaina left Charlotte to get her first of three transplants in Dallas, she left her innocence behind. Going through her things, we found this poem Shaina wrote a few years ago about missing Carolina... tomorrow, we leave to take her home.

by Shaina Johnson

in my mind im goin to carolina
sweet carolina with easy smiles and relentless laughter
first loves
shadow streaked streets and
pavement burning  virgin feet
your succulent barbeque and spicy slaw atop fluffy white buns dripping
onto breasts mixing with tiny beads of sweat
washed down by sugar spiked tea over bunny ice.
sweet carolina with tarheel blue skies
preaching god and basketball,
cul-de-sac dreams
i ran through your sprinklers and let sharp wet itchy blades of grass cling to my calves
i plucked warm plums from the branches of your trees and let them burst between
sticky lips and teeth,
did the same with teenage kisses on summer roads
to the
soundtrack of content crickets hidden in nests of your fragrant
pine needles.
sweet carolina where at sweet sixteen i drove your cityscape
windows down
music up,
songs escaping from ecstatic lungs.
where i splashed in muddy creeks and made shelter of your fallen branches
where i created imaginary idealistic worlds of electrical-box stoves leaf-strewn floors and
ceilings that sunlight shines through
sweet carolina where i spent evenings past
bedtime with my
big sister, crouched beneath white canopy beds
our ears pressed to cold metal floor vents to hear
classified adult conversation.
where language only a sister could understand was
passed through whispers between silky sheets
and onto innocent hearts where they converted into muffled giggles.
sweet carolina where every toad could become a prince if only i kissed it,
if only i
where shadows could be boogey men
and city lights and fireflies twinkled like temples of possibility.
where strawberries grew around tree stumps
and stained our fingers red come summertime.
carolina where autumn smells of sunday football games, street food, and beer breath
carolina where big gulps of winter air burn your chest to
remind you that
where wide open spaces east of bum fuck become perfect places for
parties around bonfires where
flames lick the faces of young men
whose lips taste like marijuana smoke
and whose hands feel like home.
sweet carolina where summers rainstorms mute panoramic landscapes
and hang heavy in the sticky air
long after the last drop has
where thunder rolls across neon treetops and incites
manic afternoons that give birth to glorious poems.
i left you   without a chance to say goodbye
goodbye to your
streets to your kisses
your bbq/sweet tea induced comas
relentless laughter
tarheel blue skies
gentle summer rains
cricket symphonies
scalding pavement
and innocence.

sweet carolina where a lifetime was lived
was learned
sweet carolina where my hearts remains

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shaina's Memorial Service

Our family's pain since losing Shaina yesterday has been overwhelming, but the outpouring of love and support from those who knew my beautiful sister throughout her life is incredibly comforting to all of us. Thank you for your kind words and gestures.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 25th at 1 o’clock in the afternoon at Harry and Bryant Co., 500 Providence Road in Charlotte, North Carolina with Rabbi Judith Schindler officiating. The family will receive friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Shaina Johnson to Baylor Healthcare System Foundation, benefitting the James and Angela Thompson Diagnostic Liver Laboratory, 3600 Gaston Avenue, Suite 100, Dallas, Texas 75246.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finding Peace for Shaina

My beautiful baby sister, my best friend, my other half, Shaina. She was the strongest person I will ever know. Her strength, intellect, and fierce determination touched each and every person she met. After three liver transplants, countless complications, and 29 beautiful years, Shaina passed away today at three o'clock this afternoon. She went peacefully, with no needles or tubes poking and prodding her, in the arms of her family. Shaina fought till the bitter end, but today, her body finally had enough.

We are thankful for the love and support of our family and all of our friends... everyone who has supported Shaina and our family over the course of her battle. And especially to our second family, all of her fellow transplant recipients and the incredible nurses, doctors, and staff at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Shaina would not have had the last 10 years without your support, care, and friendships. Thank you for giving us that precious extra time with such an inspirational and incredible girl.

Shaina was a fighter above all else. Defeating countless odds time and time again, she fought tirelessly for the thing she loved most of all - being alive. Shaina loved life more than anyone I know. She faced darkness and death so many times that she knew all too well how precious each moment of her life was. She laughed and loved deeply, wrote passionately, spent extravagantly, argued way too dramatically, and inspired everyone she met. She lived every healthy moment to its fullest. The fire that burned in her was both evident and contagious.

A piece of me has been ripped out today, but I am at peace knowing that Shaina will not face any more pain and suffering. I hope I can live the rest of my life honoring my beautiful sister by living a life full of passion, never taking one second for granted. And I hope this is what you will take from your time with her as well. It's what Shaina wanted to share with the world.

We are making plans to bring Shaina home to Charlotte, North Carolina to be laid to rest. These are her wishes, and I hope that each of you will join us in person or in spirit. I will post arrangements once they are finalized. From Shaina and our family, we truly love you all. This Thanksgiving, let us be thankful for our friends and family, and the beauty that Shaina brought to each of our lives.