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 Give Thanks to Savannah Rating: ET
froggirl80
Posted: Oct 1 2006, 03:24 PM


Unemployed Observer
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Group: Members
Posts: 18
Member No.: 12
Joined: 17-July 06



Author’s Note: This story is a take on why Shawn and Henry have had the relationship they have had. Note that Shawn is very out-of-character.

Shawn finds out the painful secret his father has been hiding.


CHAPTER 1: A PAINFUL DISCOVERY

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Shawn demanded as he burst into the door.

Henry looked at his son Shawn and said, “No hello?”

“Don’t give me, ‘hello’,” he said angrily. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Henry looked puzzled. “Tell you what?”

“I was cleaning out the attic with Gus,” he said, calmly. “And I came across a toy chest. I opened it up and found baby clothes. Girl baby clothes.”

Henry looked pained.

Shawn kept his ground. “At first, I thought you and Mom were doing some sick joke on me until I found this.” Shawn held up a newspaper clipping that was yellow with age.

Henry looked away. For a second, Shawn thought he had tears in his eyes but his anger kept him from being sympathetic. “This is a obituary. AN obituary with the name, ‘Savannah Marie Spencer’. Birth date, April 24, 1975. The same as mine. Date of death: January 31, 1976. Tell me. Who is the person?”

Henry looked up and saw tears coming g down his face. Strangely, Shawn felt a hint of sympathy. He had never seen his dad cry. “Savannah was your twin sister.”


Shawn looked shocked and sat down. “Twin sister? Twin sister,” he said. “I had a twin sister.”

Henry wiped his eyes and said, “Yeah, you had a twin sister. Savannah Marie. She was born five minutes before you. She was beautiful just like you were. Green eyes, big lips. Your mom and I were so happy. We had the little girl and little boy we always wanted.”

“What happened to her? What happened to Savannah?” he asked, softy.

“I put you and your sister down for your afternoon nap,” he explained. I cleaned the house and I went back to wake you two up to be feed. You woke up but Savannah didn’t. I reached over to feel her breathe and she wasn’t breathing. I called 911 and tried to do CPR but…she was dead.”

“Crib death,” Shawn said, his eyes welling up with tears.

“Better known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” Henry said, wiping more tears.

Shawn felt tears roll down his cheeks. He wiped them away quickly. “Is that why things went bad between you and Mom?” he asked.

Henry stood up and wiped his eyes, not bothering to look at Shawn. “Yeah, your mother never said so, but I think she blamed me for what happened since I was home and wasn’t the best at children.”

“I kind of figured as much,” whispered Shawn.

“It created a wedge in our relationship that we couldn’t fix,” he explained. “Also, we were discussing whether or not to have any baby; not to replace Savannah, cause a human cannot be replaced. But, to give you a sibling. Someone to protect and teach and love.”

Shawn looked at his hands, his mind going back to the days of his childhood when he wished for a little brother or little sister. He wouldn’t like either, to tell the truth. A little brother would have been great to be buddies with, wrestle with, and teach. A little sister would have been awesome, too. Someone to protect when she was picked on and to protect when her boyfriend dumped her. Even now, Shawn still wondered what it would have been like to have a younger sibling. And he found out he had one. And she was dead.

“I cannot believe you kept this from me my whole life,” Shawn responded, in a quiet yet hostile tone. “ Why didn’t you tell me? Huh? Why the h*ll did I have to find out through a freaking article?”

“Hey, don’t blame me,” he said, angrily. “How about asking your mom about her?”

Shawn stood up and said, “Mom’s dead, Dad. Don’t you remember, breast cancer? And besides, if I did ask her about Savannah, she would tell why I found the way I did. She is only one that ever gave a crap about me.”

Shawn bolted for the door. Before he did, he turned away and said, “Is that why you and I never got along? Because your favorite child died?”

Henry looked hurt. “FYI, Shawn, I loved you and your sister the same.”

“Bull crap,” he said in disgust. He left and slammed the door.
froggirl80
Posted: Oct 1 2006, 03:27 PM


Unemployed Observer
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Group: Members
Posts: 18
Member No.: 12
Joined: 17-July 06



CHAPTER 2: COMFORT ME

A while later, Gus left work for the day and found Shawn sitting on his car. Gus could tell how upset his best friend looked.

“What’s wrong, Shawn?” he asked.

Shawn looked up with tears in his eyes. “That article we found, the little girl, who died” he said, slowly. “She was my twin sister.”

Gus’s eye nearly bugged out. “What?” he asked, loudly.

“Savannah Marie Spencer was my twin sister,” he asked. “She was born 5 minutes before me. My dad said she looked just like, green eyes, brown hair.”

Tears began to form in his eyes so Gus sat beside him. ‘What did she die of?” he asked.

“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” Shawn explained. “My dad put me and Savannah down for a nap and um, she didn’t wake up.” Shawn looked down at his hands

“I cannot believe this,” he said. “You lived your whole life thinking that your mom couldn’t have another kid and now, you find out that you had a sister……….. How are you taking the news?”

“I am angry,” he said. “I cannot remember being this angry at my father in my life. The fact that he kept this from me all my life. I don’t think I could look at him the same way again. Maybe this is why we never got along. He loved Savannah more.”

Gus saw something he had never seen in his friend. Deep sadness with a tear running down his cheek. “I guess I wasn’t good enough for him. I guess I needed to be a girl for him to love me.”

“Your father does love you,” Gus reassured him. “He loves you just the same as he loved your sister.”

“He never said it,” said Shawn, wiping his eyes.

“I think what it maybe is the fact that losing a child was so devastating for him that he was afraid,” Gus explained. “Afraid of loving you and establishing some sort of bond. Because he was afraid that you would die too.”

“Yeah, instead, he tried to make like a freaking cop.” Said Shawn in disgust. “Instead of realizing that he had one child left to love and mold into a good man, he was trying to make me into a cop. He wasn’t giving me love or attention. Just making me into what he wanted. Didn’t care about what I wanted.”

Gus moved closer to Shawn and put a hand on his shoulder. “What do you want?” He asked.

“To know whom my sister was, to know why my dad didn’t tell me about her,” he said. “To know why we never had the relationship that I had with my mom, to know why I felt the guilt of my parent’s divorce and my mom’s death.” Shawn looked down at his hands and Gus began to see tears falling on them, a sure sign that Shawn was crying. Through his tears, he said, “I guess I just want my dad’s approval and love.”

Gus wrapped his arm around him and hugged him tight. “You do, man,” he said. “You do.”

Shawn nodded and just let the tears run down his face. Gus sat there and let him cry for a while. Shawn had to admit; it felt good it let it all out

“I got to talk to my dad,” Shawn said. “We need to sit down, he and I and talk things through.”

“Sounds like a plan,” agreed Gus. “You wanna hang out for a while, get some pizza?”

Shawn shook his head and said, “No, I’m, gonna head home and get some sleep so I can think we a clear head.”

Gus nodded. Shawn walked to his bike and said, “Hey, Gus.”

“Yes, Shawn?” He asked.

“Thanks, man,” he said.

Gus said, “Welcome.”

With that, the two best friends Smile.gifd and walked to t heir respected modes of transportation. Shawn rode his motorcycle home and walked into his apartment. He went straight to his bedroom and fell straight onto his bed. Soon, he was sleeping. He slept for a long time. Then, he had a dream. He was walking on the beach in Santa Barbara. He was savoring the feeling the sand around his feet and the salty, sea breeze in the air. He closed his eyes and inhaled the smell. He was at peace until he heard… “SHAWN!!!! SHAWN!!!!!” Shawn opened his eyes and looked around. He didn’t see anyone so he couldn’t find the man to meet the voice. Then, in the distance, he saw a baby carriage and he heard crying. He knew who it was.

“Savannah!!” he screamed. Shawn ran into the ocean, not even bothering to take off his clothes and shoes. He just dove into the water and swam through the rough current. Finally, he reached the baby carriage and saw his twin sister crying in the water. Shawn breathed a sigh of relief and picked her up. Shawn held her close to his chest, rubbed her back, and tried to calm her down from crying. “Hey, hey, sis, “ he said, softly. “Don’t cry, Savannah. I’m here, you’re brother’s here. Don’t cry, sweetie.” Suddenly, the baby was gone. Shawn was baffled, he was scared. He was confused.

“Savannah?” He demanded. “Savannah? Savannah!!!” he screamed and swam around, trying to find Savannah.

“She’s not here, Shawn,” said a voice.

Shawn turned and saw his father, standing on the beach.

“Where is she?” He demanded. “Where is my sister?”

“She’s gone, Shawn,” she said. “Savannah’s not here.”

Shawn felt anger rise up in his soul. He bolted to his father and grabbed his father by the shirt. “She was here, damnit. She was in a beautiful baby carriage. I heard her crying. I held her in my arms and comforted her like a brother is suppose to do,” he said angrily.
Henry just looked at his son and said, “Shawn, there was nothing you could do.”

Shawn let go of his dad and broke down again. He couldn’t believe it. He had lost his sister again. And he could do nothing about it. “No, no, no, no,” he said. He kept saying it over and over. He just fell to his knees and grabbed the sand, crying until…

“Don’t cry, brother,” said a little voice.

Shawn looked up through his tears and saw a beautiful little girl of seven, with brown hair, green eyes, and broad nose. She was wearing a long white dress with a set of wings on her back and a crown of baby roses on her head. She looked so beautiful that Shawn didn’t feel scared just curious.

“Who, who are you?” he asked, tearfully. “How do you know my name?”

“I am your sister,” she said. “I’m Savannah.”

Shawn got up and looked skeptical. “How could that be? I mean, I’m an adult and you’re a little girl. We’re supposed to be twins.”

“We are twins, Shawn,” Savannah answered. “I’m appearing to you as a not as a little girl but as an angel. You’re angel.”

Shawn wiped his eyes and said, “Why? Why are you here?”

Savannah walked closer. “To tell you not to blame yourself for what happened to Mommy and Daddy. To tell you to tell Daddy not to blame himself. But most of all, to tell you that you and Daddy will be all right. And that I’m all right.”

“It’s not that simple, sis,” he said, kneeling down to her level. “Dad and I, well, we’ve said some terrible things to each other and we hurt each other.”

“We all say things that hurt one and another,” Savannah said.

“No, honey, it’s how Dad hurt me,” he said. “He kept you from me all these years. I grew up thinking that I was an only child. I grew up thinking that I was to blame for Mom and Dad getting a divorce and that I was a disappointment to our father.” Shawn bent down and felt tears come down his face.

Savannah walked closer to Shawn and put a warm hand on his shoulder. “Shawn, I think you are mad because Dad didn’t do anything to save me. You’re sad that you couldn't save me.”

Shawn felt the warmth of her touch intensified by the love in her voice. Shawn had never felt anything like that before. Slowly, it was giving him comfort, strength, and courage. Courage to admit something.

“I wanted to have a sister so bad,” he said. “More than a brother. Because a brother is suppose to protect his sister. Hold her hand when she crosses the street and get down when she has climbed too far from a tree. Beat up her boyfriend when he dumps her.”

Savannah looked at him with more love than he had ever felt. “You do have a sister. I may not be on Earth but I am still your sister. And I still love you. And you don’t have to worry about protecting me. I will protect you. Mommy and I will protect you and Daddy. That’s what angels do.”

Shawn gave his sister a Smile.gif and asked, “How about giving your brother a hug?”

Savannah ran to her brother’s arms and Shawn enveloped her in a tight hug. It was a hug that he had never shared with anyone. It was a hug that summed up all of the love and cares that Savannah had for him and Henry. It was also a small ounce of the love and care Henry did have somewhere for Shawn.

“I love you, Shawn Michael,” Savannah said into his shoulder.

“Then, Shawn said the words he never thought he would say. “I love you, Savannah Marie,” he said. “I love you, my sweet sister.”

The twins let go and Savannah walked away. Shawn saw her as far as he could. He did see her take the hand of an older woman. The woman, Shawn decided, was his mom, Elizabeth, who Henry affectionally called, “Lizzie.” His mom did not turn around. She instead walked with Savannah and faded away. Shawn stood there, seeing the two of them walk and talk and catch up. Then, Shawn woke up.

He saw that he was in his same street clothes on his bed, in his apartment. He looked out the window to see a beautiful, clear day. He opened the window and felt s gentle, warm breeze. It was there and then that Shawn decided to talk to his dad. After all, Savannah had their mother and was building a relationship with her. The least Shawn could was try to build one with Henry.

The next day, Shawn woke up with a stomach of butterflies. He was nervous to talk to his dad about the events of the previous day. And Shawn wasn’t one to talk about emotional issues with his dad. But it was something that he needed to do. But he decided he wasn’t going to mention his dream until the time was right. He wasn’t sure if Henry would understand.



froggirl80
Posted: Oct 1 2006, 03:28 PM


Unemployed Observer
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Group: Members
Posts: 18
Member No.: 12
Joined: 17-July 06



CHAPTER 3: THANKS, SIS

Shawn drove his motorcycle to his dad’s house. He walked up, with sweaty palms and butterflies and rang the doorbell. Needless to say, Henry was surprised to see him.

“Shawn,” he said. “What are you doing here?”

Shawn took a deep breath and said, “We need to talk.”

Henry gave him a soft glance. “Yeah, we do.”

Now, it was Shawn’s turn to be surprised. He expected his dad to say forget it. But he didn’t. He let him in.

Shawn and Henry sat down to coffee and donuts.

“You know, every time I eat donuts,” he said, sadly. “ I think of your mom. This was her favorite breakfast.”

Shawn stirred some cream into his coffee. “I thought Mom liked chocolate chip pancakes,” he said. “You made them all the time for her.”

“No, um, she loved donuts,” he said. “She craved them all the time when she was pregnant with you and Savannah. She must’ve eaten 10 dozen donuts during her pregnancy.”

“I just don’t understand why she died without telling me about Savannah,” Shawn said.

“Because it would be too painful,” Henry said. “Savannah and you were the love of Lizzie’s life. You two meant everything to her and when Savannah died, well, part of her died, too. But she realized that she had a child who needed a mother. A strong, loving, mother who needed to be focused on her child and make sure he lead a happy life. And that he didn’t have any pain.”

“Well, I didn’t,” Shawn Smile.gifd. “Mom’s was awesome. She was the best mom. Funny, kind, beautiful, made a kick-butt pizza. Gave me so much, strength, faith, love.”

“And a sister,” Henry said.

“A sister who you loved more than me,” he said.

“Shawn. I know I am not the emotional guy,” he said. “I know that I haven’t shown you felt but I love you. And I loved Savannah. I love you too the same. But I was afraid.”

“Of what?” Shawn asked.

“Of losing you,” he said, stiffly. “When you and Savannah was born, I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. You two were such beautiful babies. I would stay awake after coming home a long night at work and just sit by your cribs and look at you. The two children I wanted more than anything. Then…” Henry trailed off and bowed his head.

Feeling sympathetic, Shawn reached over and put his hand on his dad’s. Surprised, Henry continued talking. “Well, Savannah died, I thought it was my fault. I was too overbearing and too emotional. SO, I decided that I would train you, not to be a man but a cop.”

Shawn understood that. “It would have been nice for you to have taught me how to be a man.”

The two sat in silence. “Do you have any pictures of her, Savannah?” Shawn asked.

“I have something better than that,” he said.

Henry sat Shawn down and put on a film. It was the day that their mom brought him and Savannah home from the hospital. Lizzie was cooing over the twins, giving them kisses and hugs. The camera focused on baby Savannah.

“Awe, Dad, she is so beautiful,” he said.

“Yeah, she is,” Henry, agreed. “She looks just like you, green eyes, nose, brown hair.”

The scene changed to a christening party. It was a nice scene. People gathering around, giving gifts and holding the twins.

“This was the day you and Savannah were baptized,” Henry, explained, “We threw a big party.”

In the midst of the party, both Shawn and Savannah started to cry, so Lizzie put the babies in their bassinette and began singing to them, just like she had done during his childhood.

Go to sleep my darling, close your little eyes.
Angels are above us, peeping through the skies.
God is in his heaven, and he watch doth keep.
Time for little children to go to sleep.

Shawn wiped his eyes as he heard the song. He had never heard it before but he thought it was beautiful…. and sad. He heard his mom sing the song again and he focused on his sister, who was wearing a beautiful white, Christening gown. He couldn’t understand it, why, if there're angels and God above him, was his sister dead? Why, if God was truly watching Shawn and Savannah, was Savannah dead? Shawn pressed, “pause” on the DVD player and focused on his twin sister, looking so sweet and beautiful and happy and alive.

“Dad, when were Savannah and I baptized?” He asked.

“January 24, 1976,” he answered, sadly.

Shawn bowed his head. “She died a week later.”

Henry nodded sadly. “Yeah, pal,” he said.

Shawn felt a tear run down his cheek. “I do not understand,” he said, sadly. “How can I be looking at this beautiful, sweet sister of mine and know, that in a week, she was taken away from me? Why couldn’t I protect her, like a brother is supposing to? Why am I alive and she’s dead?”

Henry walked to him and put his arm around him. Shawn looked at the arm and felt comfort.

“Shawn, I felt that same way,” he said. “As her father, I am supposed to protect my little girl. Make sure she is safe and comfortable. And that no one would harm her. And when she died, I felt helpless. I felt like nothing I did mattered because I had lost my daughter. And then my marriage, and my son.”

Shawn looked at him and said, “Dad, you didn’t lose me. I’m still here.”

“I know,” he said, rubbing Shawn’s shoulder. “And I haven’t seen that. I have been blaming you for everything and trying to make you something you’re not.”

Henry walked and sat in a chair. “But, if anything about Savannah’s death taught me was that life is too short,” he said. “ That I should not try to mold you into what I want but accept you and love you, because you’re my son.”

Shawn looked at him and said, “Yeah, and I should be thanking you for everything you gave me and love you, because you’re my father.”

Father and son Smile.gifd at each other. Then, Henry said, “There is some place I want to take you.”

“Ok,” he agreed.

The two drove in Henry’s old pick-up truck an hour out of Santa Barbara. They found themselves in the country, beaches replaced with mountains, oceans with calm streams, salty air with mountain breezes. It was beautiful. It took Shawn’s breath away.

“Dad, this is so nice,” Shawn said, happily. “I never had been here before.”

“Well, you have, you just don’t remember,” Henry said. “I took you and Savannah here when you were little. The mountain air made you two fall asleep quicker than any lullaby your mom could sing.”
Henry drove up to a tiny cabin on the mountain. The two got out and stood by the cabin. It was made of log and had tiny windows. It was very pretty.

“Why are we at this cabin?” Shawn asked his dad.

“Well, this cabin has special meaning to me,” Henry said. “This was the cabin where I met your mom, I asked her to marry me, and we conceived you and Savannah. This is also where Savannah was buried.”

Shawn looked sad. “Where?”

Henry took him to an area behind the cabin. Under a tree and by a creak, was a tiny stone, covered by pink roses. Shawn bent down and pushed the roses away to read the inscription: “SAVANNAH MARIE SPENCER: BELOVED DAUGHTER AND SISTER AND GOD’S MOST PRECIOUS ANGEL” It also listed her birth and death. It also had a photo of her; the same photo taken at her christening. Shawn ran his fingers over the picture, his eyes focused on her sweet sister. Then, he focused on the word “angel”. That prompted him to ask Henry something.

“Dad, you believe in angels?” He asked, stroking her picture.

Henry stared in the distance. “I was never a religious man. I have serious doubt that there is God, especially after what happened to Savannah, and in the world. But…”

“But what?” asked Shawn, getting up suddenly?

“Sometimes there’re things that cannot be explained,” Henry said. He looked off at the stone.

“You’re going to think I’m crazy,” Henry said. “But I had a dream and savannah was in it.”

Shawn looked in shock. “You too?”

Henry nodded. “ Yeah, I was here at the cabin. She looked 20 and beautiful.”

“I was on the beach,” Shawn said. “She looked 7 and was wearing the most beautiful dress and flowers I had ever seen.”

“She said that we say things that hurt others,” he said. “And that we should blame each other for what has happened in the past. And Savannah is protecting us, she is watching us.”

“She is making sure we put our relationship back together,” Shawn said.

“Is it too late, Shawn?” Henry asked, hopefully. “Is it too late for us to have a relationship?”

Shawn Smile.gifd and said, “No, Dad. It is never too late.”

Henry Smile.gifd at his son and said, “Well, then, why don’t we get lunch at the diner where your mom and I had our first date.”

Shawn Smile.gifd and said, “Sounds great. I’m craving tuna fish.”

Henry Smile.gifd. “That’s the same lunch your mom ate everyday during her pregnancy.”

Shawn laughed and said, “Okay.” Then, Shawn walked to Savannah’s grave. He kneeled down, leaned forward, and kissed the stone. “Thanks, sis,” he said, softly. “Say hi to Mom, ok?” He stroked the stone and walked to Henry. Henry wrapped his arm around Shawn as the two men walked to the truck.

Off in the distance, two angels were standing by the grave. It was Lizzie, and Savannah, who was now looking like a 30-year-old woman. Tall, slender, with brown hair, and green eyes, just like Shawn.

“Well, Mom,” said Savannah. “I think this is the beginning of Dad and Shawn having the relationship they always wanted.”

Lizzie Smile.gifd and wrapped her arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “Savannah, I totally agree with you.” The two stayed and watched father and son start the bonding…and healing process. A process that would lead to the two men saying, “I love you.”
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