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Showing posts from 2012

From my heart to yours: Happy New Year

The year 2012 is about to close... and another year will begin.

It's funny, I guess, but I don't want 2012 to end. No more so than I wanted to deposit checks we received at Avery's funeral. I don't want to face its completion. I don't want to consider this chapter "closed."

"Closed" sounds so final. So absolute. So... unrelenting.

I know what happens to memories. They fade. I know this because I lived 14 amazing years in my childhood farm home and yet I only have the same handful of repeated memories to share: Shannon shaving the goats in the bathtub; an epic food fight with one last bean stuck to the kitchen ceiling; one fabulous play complete with a brown paper bag rainbow that we actually walked over --- but what happened in between? What did we play and sing and talk about in between the food fight and the rainbow?

I worry that time will make that in between space of Avery memories too far for my heart to span.

More space. Less memories.

M…

AVERYday: Perfectly Imperfect - Part 17

Last night I had to force myself to sift through two months worth of mail. Because it's already been two months. Do you know what comes in the mail in two months? Reminders for a bi-annual dental cleaning appointment that will never be made. Bills for braces that will never come off. The summer camp catalog where you'll find the perfect volleyball camp that will never be attended. There will also be unsolicited invitations to contact attorneys who will help you win millions of dollars in a wrongful death suit.

Amongst the mail will be reminders: of the orchestra concert you were planning on taking your daughter to. Of the paint colors you were going to paint her room. And an extra Keep Kids Safe card you can keep in your wallet that has her name and photo on it. And then you will remember that you have one in your wallet already and itdid not keep her safe.

You will cry, of course. I mean, that happens all the time now. But just when you think you can't handle it a secon…

AVERYday: Paint it White - Part 16

A friend of mine sent me an article titled No, Everything Doesn't Happen for a Reason by Adam Hamilton with the note I'd like to hear your opinion on this one....

Immediately I felt defensive. As if my personal peace surrounding Avery's death was being called into question. I logically knew it had to be an article written in response to the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy where 20 six and seven year old children were killed in their classroom. But emotionally - well, I felt that just the title was calling my faith and beliefs into question. And so I responded before I had even read the article. Here is my response:

Without reading it [the article] yet, I will say this has crossed my mind. Absolutely.

Do I believe Avery's death was known by God? Yes. Do I believe that God took Avery in the best way he could have? Actually, yes. (Initially, no - but then I thought about it more.) Avery had a faith that could move mountains and He couldn't allow that message to be silence…

AVERYday: Trust Me - Part 15

The first time I realized my daughter was completely disappointed in me was at the doctor's office when she was about 6-months old. I sat Avery up on my lap and she cooed as the nurse measured the circumference of her head. She giggled and laughed as her belly was pressed and her legs were manipulated to make sure everything was working right. The nurse spoke in a sweet melody that worked its magic like the pied piper. Even I smiled.

In the next second Avery's little arms and legs were held down by expert arms and syringes pierced the skin in both of her thighs. Her eyes widened in shock and stared right at me for a terrifying full second before she erupted in screams and tears.

How could you, mommy? I heard through her wails. I trusted you and you just sat there while they hurt me! How could you allow this to happen to me? Don't you love me?!

As soon as the band-aids were on I picked her up and rocked her. Shhh! Shhh! Shhh! I whispered. Oh, baby, I'm so sorry... but it…

Too Many Children Gone

I woke up this morning to the news that a man with a knife attacked 22 innocent children at an elementary school in China. I sat stunned. All those children... children who were simply going to school.

Hours later my news feed would explode with the news that a man with a gun killed 20 innocent children (plus others) at an elementary school in Connecticut.

I cannot comprehend the pain and anguish being felt right now. Less than two months ago I lost one child and have seen the domino affect pain and anguish can have on a family; on the ones who survived; on a community. Multiply that by over FORTY CHILDREN.

Our world is hurting.

I cannot make sense of any of this. I cannot begin to make sense of the tears and nightmares and panic and anxieties that are washing through thousands of people.

I live so far physically removed from both China and Connecticut - and yet these tragedies rocked me to my core. What on earth do I do now?

I don't know.

The only thing I know is right now it…

AVERYday: Connecting the Dots - Part 14

This is just one of those things that is so cool that I can't even find the right way to explain it. I've started writing it fifteen times and it's just never right. So, my plan is to blurt it out, which, incidentally, is what I do in most social situations since I'm incredibly awkward and uncomfortable actually speaking to other human beings. But that's a story for a different day.

This is the story for today:

I got an email from Beth which included an apology. She felt like she should have asked my permission to share my blog with others. (For future reference, share away, people!) She just so happened to be in a bible study that was discussing heaven and I just so happened to post a little entry comparing our time here on earth to summer camp. She shared the blog post and then the pastor at her church asked if my blog could be shared with the congregation. Beth felt she should ask me but just kind of felt funny about it and couldn't quite figure out what to …

AVERYday: Wiping Away the Mud - Part 13

There are moments when the grief hits you so hard it's like trying to breathe oxygen while submerged in a mud pit. Everything feels thick and heavy and dark and you think there's no way you're going to be able to grasp that next breath.

But somehow you do.

My problem were her shoes. See, Avery always wore these white tennis shoes with pink soles. Always. Every day. She was like that. Twenty pairs of shoes, but the kid would get hooked on one, and nothing would get her out of them. Before the tennis shoes she wore these pink flip-flops. Every. Single. Day.

But I couldn't get the shoes. They were destroyed in the accident. And her flip-flops would mean her feet would be cold. I couldn't let her feet be cold. I couldn't bury her without shoes. I couldn't choose another pair because I couldn't remember which ones pinched her feet, or which ones were too big, or which ones she just didn't like.

And, yes, of course I was fully aware that this was my huma…

AVERYday: God is Wise - Part 12

I just wanted to see her. One more time. Just for a minute.

He advised against it.
"What about her hair? I just want to see her hair... or her shoulder. I'd be okay with her shoulder...I just want to touch it." I tried to stop the stream of tears flowing down my cheeks. I couldn't.
"Bridget, you have such a beautiful memory of your little girl. You don't need to..." I almost felt bad for him, this gentle Funeral Director, who was so kind, so full of compassion, trying so hard to protect me. He offered to show me her hand if I wanted.
Her hand.
I went home and thought about it. And I cried. And railed against God. I didn't want just her hand; I wanted to see HER. Her cheek. Her hair. Her chin. Her nose. Her forehead. I just wanted her.
I was angry and pissed off. I wanted my baby. I sobbed and sobbed, "I just want to see her!"
And then it came: an overwhelming sense of absolute peace with the immediate knowledge that God chose this for me. He…

AVERYday: What Really Matters - Part 11

I never fully realized how important knowing - really knowing - whether or not the people I loved accepted Christ was, until Avery passed. See, Avery was filled up, overflowing, oozing out love for Christ! She did not get that from me. Sure, I believed in God. And, yes, I brought her to Church and Sunday School like a good parent (mostly for the social coffee hour after). But I have always been what you would probably call a Holiday and a Half Christian.

You know Holiday Christians: they show up at Christmas, Easter, a few weddings and all the funerals.

Well, Holiday and a Half Christians show up at all the holidays, weddings and funerals, but they also go to church for at least half the year. They might sign up for a Bible Study (but only do half the lessons). They sign their Christmas cards with "blessings" and aren't afraid to tell people they'll pray for them. And they can quote a thing or two from the Bible: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthe…

AVERYday: Avery Asks God a Question - Part 10

Avery knew things.
She would just declare things and they were always, always right. Sometimes they were little things:     
"Mom, we need to stop and get me a lunch for the field trip tomorrow." What field trip? I chalked it up to impressive organizational skills. She knew my schedule, her schedule, grandma's schedule, the schedule of all her friends - and their parents. We joked that the best job for her would be secretary to the President of the United States. The girl loved a schedule.
But then there were bigger things. Things I couldn't understand, but probably would be overlooked by someone who didn't really know her.
For example, a couple years ago she came to me and announced she would be auditioning for a summer theatre production. With people she didn't know. And I had to explain to her that not only would it be with people she didn't know, it would be performed for people she didn't know. And these strangers would sit and watch her. And sh…

AVERYday: Out of the Broken - Part 9

A couple weeks before Avery's death, I presented her with a charm bracelet that had her name on it. I had a bracelet made for me with the initials of my children and Matt, which Avery fell in love with. She asked for her name on a bracelet for her birthday, which was October 5th. A couple days after her birthday the bracelet was ready. She wore it constantly.

After I returned home from the hospital the night of the accident all I wanted to do was find that bracelet. I needed that bracelet. Except Jadrian needed comforting and we laid together, side by side, in Avery's twin bed. Crying.

I couldn't sleep. I tried to sneak out of the bed, but Jadrian wasn't sleeping either. I offered some paltry excuse, but I just couldn't tell her what I really needed: the bracelet.

In between visitors on Thursday I searched. I opened drawers, emptied pockets, ran my hands along the top of shelves. I feared the bracelet wouldn't be at home. I feared Avery would have had that brac…