“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same”
― Flavia Weedn
For almost 10 years now the world has been deprived of an amazing smile (attached to an even brighter soul). Shawn Michael Hall was a tremendous human being. He was always smiling (at least almost every single time I saw him). If he spent more than 5 minutes with anyone, they would count him among their circle of friends. Easy to talk to, fun-loving, and down-to-earth. Shawn was truly one-of-a kind.
Shawn also loved children, he never had his own, but would take every opportunity to revel in playtime with every other child he knew. His friends that had kids regarded him as “Uncle Shawn.” He knew the power in a child’s smile and the importance of allowing them to live life, to be happy for the sake of the present, and for that of the future.
For those who never got to meet Shawn, I am truly sorry for your loss. Of course, those of us who did get to know him miss him dearly, but we are so thankful for the time we had with him.
In the spirit of remembrance and in honoring the person Shawn was, we hold a memorial for him every year. The Shawn Michael Hall Memorial Horseshoe Tournament is held annually (this past weekend marked 8 years) out in Watkins, Colorado, at a friend’s ranch. The event draws 32 teams of 2 plus about 50+ more spectators, friends and family members. The money raised goes to the SMH fund that helps families and children in need.
We come together to fill ourselves up on food, drink, friendship and good-will. There are those who knew Shawn for years, friends that have been together for decades, family members, and those who never quite had the opportunity to share cheer with Shawn, but within moments of meeting all those who did, know the undeniable truth: he was someone very special.
The day begins with solemn silence, followed by words of love and memory from Doris (Shawn’s mother). Soon after, the next 8-12 hours are filled with music, sunshine, laughter and joy.
Children run through yard, playing tag, participating in SpikeBall or running up and sliding down the gigantic blow up water slide. A bounty of food (fit to feed a small country) is prepared and served throughout the day.
Memories are shared, tears of joy (and tears of times lost) are shed, but embraces are plentiful, every soul is smiling, every heart is lifted.
And so, Shawn lives on. His presence is all around. I am so grateful for the time I had with him, and I am in awe for what we now have. Because of the person Shawn was, we are all blessed. His legacy is solid. His impact is infinite. His smile still lights up the room and is seen and shared through his friends and family. His spirit lives on, and the world is an enormously better place because of it.
So, in honor of Shawn I will work to ensure the world is a better place. As human beings, we can only hope to leave a legacy that is enduring, uplifting and sends ripples of joy, peace and love long after we are gone. Thank you Shawn for leaving footprints on so many hearts, and improving the lives of so many people in the past, present and future.