Sunday, November 4, 2012

AVERYday: God Girl Extraordinaire - Part 1

A couple weeks ago Avery (my 11-year old, Dotter) was invited to a sleepover. It was late but they were like a second family... "Go get what you need," I told her. I stood talking to Avery's friend and her mother while Avery grabbed her sleepover necessities: she came back holding just a toothbrush and a bible. That's the kind of girl she was. She didn't worry about clothes or pajamas... she just needed her bible.

I called her quirky. Different. But she was just Avery. I didn't write about Avery as often as I wrote about my other children... or my fiance, Matt (aka: Big V), not because I didn't want to; but because I didn't know how. Avery was special and I failed at finding the words to do her justice.

Avery wasn't late for anything. Ever. She was strict about her schedule. In fact, she was strict about everyone's schedule: she knew who needed to go where when and what they needed to bring. We joked that the perfect job for her would be secretary to the President of the United States. She was that detailed.

But on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, Avery was late.

Her older sister, whom she adored completely, had picked her up from school to drive her to gymnastics. Jadrian (aka Teen Bean) had done this every week for the past couple months. Avery loved going with her sister; hanging out with the big kids. Listening to the music loud and singing at the top of her lungs. (As her mother I had somehow stopped singing at the top of my lungs; having children and mortgages and laundry sometimes does this to a person.)

Avery had youth group at her church later Wednesday night, after gymnastics. She wouldn't have missed youth group. She just wouldn't.

And so I waited at home for their return so I could drive Avery to youth group.

Only they didn't come.

They were 10 minutes late, which happens.

And then twenty.

And I called but no one answered.

And I called again.

And I sent a text to my sister who said "that's scary; it's not like them to be late" and I got mad and told her that she wasn't supposed to say that because she's supposed to be the logical, level-headed one an I'm supposed to be the anxiety-ridden, overdramatic one.

So I called the Sheriff's Department. The non-emergency number. And I explained that I knew I sounded crazy, but really, my girls wouldn't be late. Avery wouldn't be late. Avery wouldn't miss youth group. And they would have been coming home from Whitewater and there are only two routes they would take so could they just tell me if there had been any accidents? And they took down my name and number and told me an officer would contact me.

So I called Jadrian's Dad. He had given her an iPhone and so then he could just look at the GPS and tell me where they were. Jadrian had brought a friend with her since Avery's gymnastics was 2 hours long. They are beautiful, beautiful girls: what if someone took them? And Avery was all alone at the gym? I don't know if she would ask for help from a stranger. She didn't like talking to people. She was afraid of people she didn't know. But Jadrian's Dad said the GPS was an app and it hadn't been installed.

So I called the Whitewater Police. "Can you just check to see if the car is still in the parking lot?" But they just took my name and number.

And I called Matt (Big V). He was working and hadn't heard from them. "They should have been home an hour ago," I told him. "Do you want me to go to Whitewater and try to find them?"

And then I called my sister again. She told me to go to the church and check to see if maybe Jadrian had just dropped her off there instead of bringing her home first. But I knew while I was driving there that she wouldn't be there. 

I called 911. 

Twice.

"Look. You don't know my daughter; she would NOT have missed youth group. Something is the matter." And they asked for my name and number again. An officer would contact me. "Would you at least ask me the make and model of the car?!" I snapped.

But see, the thing is, they already knew the make and model of the car. They already knew who I was. They already knew who I was worrying over, who I was pacing the floor for, who I was sending out prayers for. They knew it the first time I called.

But there are policies and procedures and the girls didn't have IDs on them and they needed to know for certain who was sitting where in the car. 

I called my Mom: "... I can't find the girls..." I choked out. She tried to reassure me: "... they were driving your car. It's registered in your name. If there was an accident they would notify you."

And at just that second the doorbell rang. "Mom, I gotta let you go." 

I opened the door and saw the police officer standing there. Thank God, they're finally taking me seriously. A second officer followed him in. Then a nice looking man wearing a polo shirt. He was carrying something: a pad of paper? a clipboard? Why did they send a sketch artist? I have pictures of my children.

"Are you Bridget McCarthy?"

"Yes... please, come in."

"Are you alone?"

"Uh, yes. Well, I mean, Brody (aka Cletus) is here." I pointed to the little boy half-dressed for bed, hanging on my left leg. Gosh, he's cute.

"Is there someone you can call?" The officer looked down at Brody. Oh! I thought, they don't want to be bothered by a toddler when they ask me all these questions about the girls. 

"Brody, honey... why don't you go in your bedroom and read a book. Mama will be right there, okay?"

The second officer followed him down the hall and into his room, "I can stay with him. C'mon, buddy...."

The first officer turned to me. "You have two daughters?"

"Yes, Jadrian and Avery... they were supposed to be back at 6:30..."

He looked at me. There was so much compassion in his eyes. So much.... love. "There's been an accident...."

.... and in that second I knew. I just knew....  
" --- which one?" I asked.

He put his hand on my shoulder and looked straight in my eyes...

"Avery didn't make it." 

31 comments:

Heather Bush said...

Oh, Bridget.

I don't know how you are doing this right now, but my God, I have missed your voice (or your writing? I think they are one in the same.) I hope that by getting it all out it will help to heal, to remember every detail, to not lose some part of you in all of this. I am praying for you (but you already know that.) Hugs, hugs, hugs.

Elle C said...

I am so sorry for your loss. There are not words. I cannot imagine the grief that you are experiencing. I do not know you...in fact, I've only been reading your blog for about a year, but your tragedy has broken my heart. I hope that you and your family are able to find comfort in each other and those around you during this difficult time.

Chiconky said...

Oh my God. I am so, so sorry. I don't know you from anywhere but here, but my heart is breaking for you. You and your family are in my prayers. Sending you love and hugs and strength.

Becca said...

Oh Bridget. I have not stopped thinking about you since I read the news on Facebook. I cannot imagine the terror of that afternoon and the knock at the door. I know your heart is breaking and I wish there was more I could do, but for now I will just pray.

Becca said...

Oh Bridget. I have not stopped thinking about you since I read the news on Facebook. I cannot imagine the terror of that afternoon and the knock at the door. I know your heart is breaking and I wish there was more I could do, but for now I will just pray.

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...

Bridget, my heart is broken for you. I want to know all about her. Everything you want to tell. She was an amazing girl, I know from what I've read already. My thoughts and prayers have been with you. I can't look at my own daughters without thinking of yours. Peace to your heart, momma.

Amy Hennerley-McWilliam said...

My thoughts and prayers are always with you. I cannot fathom the pain or loss that you are surrounded by but know that you not alone. There are some many people holding you and strengthening you. But most all, God and Avery are with you. Together they will always be with you. Averyday and always.

angie said...

Oh, God, Bridget ... I just cannot underestimate your strength. Welcome back to the blogosphere. Welcome back to your words. Your audience is here. We're ready to know more about Avery.

Diabra said...

I am so sorry for your great loss of Avery. Heart breaking. Praying for healing for you all, comfort and peace. Thankyou for sharing.

Janel said...

Crying at work. Knew I should have waited til I got home to read this. My heart just aches for you, Bridget.

lunchat1130 said...

bridget, words cannot do any justice here. please know that i'm sending all the love in my heart from baltimore to wisconsin...i wish you and your family all the healing that G-d can possibly give.

lunchat1130 said...

bridget, words cannot do any justice here. please know that i'm sending all the love in my heart from baltimore to wisconsin...i wish you and your family all the healing that G-d can possibly give.

cchealth said...

Well as the tears roll down my face, I think of a couple of things 1. How beautifully this was written and 2. How as a Mother I can't imagine what you are going through.

As Mothers we just seem to know when something is wrong. We feel it deep in our souls when something isn't right. However, this is something we as Mother's pray will never happen to us. I imagine people will say. "Only the good die young" and "How special Avery was God chose her to be a special Angel" I hope that those sentiments give you some peace. Clearly Avery loved God and she without a doubt she is sitting on the right hand of our Holy Father looking over you. I hope that you can find peace and joy in your memories of your beautiful little angel.

I pray for your older daughter and I pray that she knows that accidents happen and that she is dealing with this horrible tragedy. Your entire family is in my prayers.

cchealth said...

Well as the tears roll down my face, I think of a couple of things 1. How beautifully this was written and 2. How as a Mother I can't imagine what you are going through.

As Mothers we just seem to know when something is wrong. We feel it deep in our souls when something isn't right. However, this is something we as Mother's pray will never happen to us. I imagine people will say. "Only the good die young" and "How special Avery was God chose her to be a special Angel" I hope that those sentiments give you some peace. Clearly Avery loved God and she without a doubt she is sitting on the right hand of our Holy Father looking over you. I hope that you can find peace and joy in your memories of your beautiful little angel.

I pray for your older daughter and I pray that she knows that accidents happen and that she is dealing with this horrible tragedy. Your entire family is in my prayers.

Mary said...

While I never got a chance to meet Avery, I have been able to get a little bit of a sense of your beautiful girl through your posts here. Thank you for sharing her with us. I truly feel like the world is better because she was here.

Deana said...

My heart aches for you and your family, ((((hugs)))) sending prayers.

ilikebeerandbabies.com said...

My brother was murdered in late April. I will never forget the moments I found out. I know too much about your journey ahead. Say strong and remember the good things. Every day. They will help you endure the bad parts. My thoughts are with you. I am so very sorry. And I you ever want to reach out to a fellow mourner, I am here. Struggling every day. But surviving.

Brenna said...

Thank you for being here, Bridget. I've truly missed you and your family in this space, and I don't have to tell you again how sorry I am and how grateful that you share this all with us.

Kim at Let Me Start By Saying said...

Thank you for sharing this.
I can't imagine what those four words could do to a mother, a family.
You've been on my mind, all our minds, since I first found out, and haven't left. I hope you know this. I hope you can feel this.

Allison said...

I don't know you and I didn't know your daughter. But your loss has broken my heart. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm amazed at the voice you have after such a loss. Your family is in my thoughts.

momsicle said...

Thinking of you and leaving my prayers. -Evelyn

Abbie Gale said...

I am so sorry. So very sorry. I am praying for you all and she sounds like a wise and beautiful soul. Share what you wish, when you are ready and know many people are thinking about your family and sending warm healing thoughts. She was here for a time and for a reason. Much love.

Anna See said...

Dear Jesus, give this family your strength and peace. Amen

Sending love and prayers from one heartbroken mom to another.

Marinka said...

My heart is breaking for your family. You are in my thoughts and prayers. xox

Ellen said...

As a mom this was always the nightmare I feared...Oh Bridget my heart goes out to you. A thousand hugs sent to you, a hand reaches out to hold yours...you don't know me but my support, care, and shoulder are with you.

Avery sounds like an angel indeed...

mistyslaws said...

My heart is breaking for you once again. I heard about this after it happened, but never knew the details. Your story of the events as you waited to find out is just heart wrenching. A mother's absolutely worst nightmare. I am so very sorry for your loss, and although I know those words are just trite enough not to be of any comfort, I want you to know that I have been thinking of you and your family. I hope that you eventually heal and that you and your family find comfort in each other. HUGS!

Lisa Gullion said...

The story of Avery lead me to your blog. I am a new follower and never knew that coming here would lead me to my bible. I am so terribly heart broken for you. As a mother I could never ever come close to understanding what you feel. My prayers are with you. I envy Avery's faith, I have been in search of mine, and like you mine falters. Your daughter is an inspiration.

THE LETTS FAMILY said...

I wrote this long comment before, but I must be part robot since I couldn't get it to post.

Anyway, the the I really wanted to tell you was that the night of the accident, I was up SUPER late, packing for this trip to the Redwoods. It was to be the first time that Jim & I both left the kids overnight. Of course, as you would, I was running around like a crazy woman trying to leave everything taken care of. I jumped on facebook before bed and saw your post asking if anybody knew where they were. It stuck with me as I tried to go to sleep (at 2 a.m.)

The next day as I was turning my phone off for take-off, I saw the news. I BAWLED most of the way to Portland. My gut twisted for you and your family. The whole time I was in the Redwoods, Avery was on my mind.

You know the weird thing about the redwoods? We didn't see any animals. No deer, no squirrels, no chipmunks, no birds, no bugs. Only a few slugs. The woods was SO quiet and magical. A real Heaven on Earth. But both days, we saw one bird. And when I saw it, I immediately thought, "Avery." Avery, whose name has the root of Aviary. She was too sensitive for this world. She has spread her wings. An angel. A bird. A spirit. Light. Energy. Dust. ...

OK I know I should just say something like, "My thoughts and prayers are with you." and shut up. But I want you to know that there are very few adults that I get to talk to every day (or almost every day) and even though it is via the computer, I am so thankful for the connection we have made. And I want you to know that I very much am here for you in any way I can. Even as the time spaces out between the times when you feel so overcome you are unable to function or even breath, you can shoot me a message or post something totally absurd on my board or whatever.

You daughter made an unforgettable impact on our family with her generous heart. She touched people she had never met. Now she can be free from all of her constraints and fully fill her purpose.

A million hugs to you my friend.

Shanon Domenosky said...

My dear God in Heaven Hallowed be thy name Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. These words scream through my emotion as I read the final words of every mothers worst fear. God love & bless you Bridget <3

Jane Hinrichs said...

Oh My. I know God has been comforting since even before your dear sweet Avery left this earth. I am so sorry. A friend told me to read this. I felt the panic as a fellow mother only could. There's a part of me who fears this since I now have two children driving. I pray God uses Avery's life even now after she is with Him. I am so sorry> Thank you for being so vulnerable -- what power there is in that.

gradydoctor said...

Oh my Lord. I am so sorry. I am just reading all of this and admittedly haven't been here in a while. I am reading every post and will be covering you in my prayers just as you have done for me. I'm sorry, Bridget.Your God-girl is just amazing. Thank you for sharing her.

Love,

Kimberly