Home for Christmas

Home.  Bliss.

This last month we spent more time in Alta Children’s Hospital (ACH) than we did at home and it feels SO good to be here.  As I decorated our home with the multitude of heavenly angels that friends so lovingly showered on Kayla in the hospital, we truly feel surrounded by love.  (Just how many is a ‘multitude’ you ask…literally huge garbage-sized bags full of angels arrived! I’m not kidding)

And we have a multitude of earthly angels too – every day I am awestruck by the outpouring of support that flows around us.   Our vast community lines our path with acts of kindness and love.  Not a day goes by without gorgeous, nutritious (and often gourmet!) food arriving to nourish our family, whether it’s spread out on a counter in ICU or at our comfy table at home.

Tyler skipped around the Christmas tree the other day excited about how beautiful it looks and the bounty of gifts “This is just like Christmas Eve…only early, mom”.   This makes my heart sing for this year Mrs. Claus didn’t have the time to lovingly shop for everyone and yet once again my angels  swooped in and took yet another burden off my back.  Who knew that angels shopped and wrapped :)

The Carpe Diem Fund that has been set up for our family to take away some financial burdens is an unbelievable blessing.  Picking up my mail (both paper & email) often brings me to tears.  The circle of love is far & wide… even from complete strangers who somehow heard of our story.   I am so touched & grateful for the loving support from so many.

The rapid sequence of events has been too overwhelming to find the space to even articulate what we need and yet people just DO for us.  I am always amazed at how our practical needs are truly looked after without even asking – my big driveway is always clear (we had two neighbors show up this morning :), my fridge is full and errands are run.  A dear friend who came to my rescue as a handyman for some minor things like replacing water softener salt is now re-plumbing parts of my house….seriously!  I could share hours of tales of people’s unbelievable generosity of time & service.

But my angels don’t stop there – they also excel in the Joy category….
- We have had two rounds of carolers surprise us on cold winter nites with beautiful songs of hope, joy and healing.
- My friend who sings a custom Christmas Carol on my VMail every morning – so funny
- The Secret Santa shenanigans   (I think I’ll write a whole blog post just on those incredible antics :)
- Impromptu gatherings in the Family Room at the ACH.
Too many fun loving acts to mention.

This is a crazy hard road that we’re on and some days there are times of very real darkness.
I admit there are moments of wanting to scream those “Whys?”.
Or I start to run through those frightening “What if?” scenarios.
But that is one of the gifts of having traversed the cancer journey before – I KNOW those are both futile and debilitating mindsets.

So instead, I feel those very raw emotions of grief and anger and confusion….and then I am able to release them.  The only way out is through.

I don’t like lying awake at night. In the dark night of the soul, I try to stop asking the questions that have no answers in this realm.   Last nite, instead of succumbing to ‘monkey-mind’ when I woke up at 3:00 am,  I snuck down the hallway and snuggled in with each of my babies.  I took in their sweet smell as I did when they were newborns.  Listened to the most beautiful sounds of their breath.  I touched their soft skin and marveled at the human capacity to love so very deeply.

It anchored for me the incredible power in connection…

  • To truly connect with another human being & experience that soulful bond with another.
  • To actually connect with oneself and simply BE – to find the gifts of authentic congruence, awareness, unconditional acceptance & self-love.
  • And that deepest connection point with the Divine, knowing that when prayers go out they are heard.  That we are somehow connected into something far beyond our human capacity to understand.

And in these connections, I rest – and experience the peace that passes all understanding.

Carpe Diem & Merry Christmas, friends!

About Shannon Duke

I'm Shannon Duke and I’ve combined my business skills with the wisdom that literally saved my life and have built a system that redefines success. Today I am passionate about helping you achieve life-fulfilling and life-enhancing success in both your business & personal life. Read My Story


  1. You are an Angel on earth, my love. So eloquently beautiful even in the darkness. We love you and it is our honor to bestow on you the love you have shared so freely with us. God bless you and your babies and we pray for miracles every day.

    To receive more information on the Carpe Diem Fund, please email me, [email protected] Thank you.

  2. Merry Christmas, Shannon. Your words are beautiful and comforting to us all you are so incredibly loved. <3 Natalie.

  3. Angel Shannon,

    When Paul was leaving today, he suddenly found himself himself mouthing words to songs he does not know, with a lit candle in his hand. We have laughed so hard about how he must truly have been meant to be a part of the choir …. another joy felt in the presence of the Dukette home !!

    I have seen you year after year truly CONNECTING …. connecting with other human beings and experiencing the depth of the soulful bond …. and connecting daily with yourself and simply BEING …. you write about this now and it is with such happiness that I see you are so seasoned a practitioner of conscious living that you can embrace this way of being even in the most difficult of times.

    You have touched everyone in our little Crawford family …. deeply and richly and joyfully. Thank-you lovebug for never ceasing to be a teacher and leader of light.

    All our love,
    M, P, R & N xoxo

  4. You and your family deserve a peaceful holiday to enjoy each other. I’m so happy you are supported by such kindness. Merry Christmas to you and I wish you many blessings in the new year.

  5. Jill Sodero says:

    Beautiful Goddess Shannon,
    You are changing lives with every word, story and feeling you share. Thank you for your divine authenticity and pure expressions of genuine love. Your words not only speak, they breathe. You truly are a goddess, a divine angel sharing experiences to help us all see the light. Merry Christmas to you and your amazing family!
    Love Jill

  6. Melody Williamson says:

    You are my inspiration!! Again…and again…and again!! Halleluiah is right! You observe the dark side and then release it… and then stay in the moment and help us all to see the joy and the light in each beautiful moment. And you keep doing this over and over no matter what live throws at you!! Your modeling helps to encourage each of us to do the same. Thank you!! Sending you, Kayla, and Tyler love and light!
    Carpe Diem!

  7. Barb Myers says:

    What a wonderful message Shannon – so full of light, peace, hope and love. You are all truly angels surrounded by angels and an absolute inspiration to all. You are a reminder to be thankful for what we have and appreciate the special moments in our lives even when darkness creeps in, sometimes over and over. . I’m so glad that your wish for having Kayla home came true. I wish you a wonderful Christmas together. I am sure that you will cherish every moment with those terrific children of yours. Thank you for sharing your message so beautifully and reminding us to be thankful for the things that are really important. Hugs to all of you and to the angels that surround you.

  8. Inspired by the beautifully-worded honesty and embracing you in spirit, especially at this time.


  9. Michelle Richardson says:

    Oh, what wonderful news that you will all be at home to celebrate Christmas and the holidays! Thank you for being you, an authentic voice, a reminder to savour this precious life and those we love, and a loving soul sharing a path through darkness. You are a treasure, my dear friend, and such an inspiration. I love you, Michelle oxox

  10. Shannon your wise, uplifting, amazing, incredibly and honest blog has, especially today, made me so very thankful for my family, my life, my God. Thank you so much for opening your life to us and blessing us all with your infinite wisdom and positive thoughts. Bless you and your family this holiest of days. Love you all.

  11. Gaylene Sitler says:

    I love reading your updates… the peace and joy in them are so amazing and powerful! We continue to send you our prayers and wishes for healing, courage and faith! You are loved and uplifted by so many in this realm and the realm beyond! Prayers that you will always and continually feel the presence of that amazing love! Merry, peaceful Christmas to you all!

  12. The Stepan's says:

    May your Christmas have been as awesome as your family with the incredible way in which you all seize the day! With Seasons Greetings may you continue to move forward & seize this upcoming New Year with vigour & strength!

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