Tweet "There's been an accident... Avery didn't make it."
People say a heart can break into a million pieces... mine was shattered into dust.
No....not Avery...... I covered my face with my hands and sobbed.
My beautiful, quirky, full of energy, sweet, sweet girl! She just turned 11. She was supposed to get her braces off in a couple weeks. She made up dance routines and forced Brody to learn them. She went with her older sister on "dates" to Starbucks and WalMart and was always so excited when Jadrian did her hair. She went for bike rides and sledding and swimming with Matt and hated his macaroni. She would still hold my hand in public and curl up in my lap to watch tv.
Tears from so far deep within me streamed down my cheeks. My beautiful, beautiful baby girl.
So, I'm the type who covers their face and sobs, I thought. I've often wondered that: in the face of tragedy would I scream out? Would I faint? Throw things? Kick? Call you a liar? But I am the type who covers their face and sobs.
And then: something warm washed over me... like someone was pouring hot water all over my insides, except it didn't feel like water; just warm. I looked up at the officer, his hand still on my shoulder: "I know you didn't know her, but if you did, you'd know that she loves Jesus."
Avery was so many, many things. She was a kid who was all kid. She had emotions and feelings and ideas and plans. And she hated cleaning her room. And she loved going to the library. And she struggled with math. And she would never put her clothes away properly. But above all these things she loved Jesus.
"She just gave me her Christmas List," I told the two unknown men sitting with me in my living room. "She wanted a bible and horseback riding lessons."
I smiled at the memory. Avery was so gentle. So sweet. So loving.
"Oh my god! Jadrian! How is Jadrian? What happened?" What kind of mother forgets their child? They told me then that it had been a single car accident. It appeared Jadrian had gone over and got the tire stuck in the gravel on the side of the road, she then overcorrected and they had hit a utility pole. Avery died instantly. Jadrian's dear, dear friend C was stuck in the car and they had to use the Jaws of Life to get her out. They couldn't tell me anything about her condition, other than she had be flight lifted to a nearby hospital.
My prayers for that young girl's life began in that moment and have not stopped. Right now, before you read another word - I need you to stop and pray for physical and emotional healing for C. She is a beautiful, amazing girl with a sweet quiet side, a fantastic smile and an uproarious laugh. Once those girls started laughing they wouldn't quit. Anything could be funny to Jadrian and C. Anything. Pray. Pray now.
They told me that Jadrian was transported to our local hospital with cuts and bruises to her head. That she wasn't alone, there with an officer with her. "I need to call my sister!"
With shaking hands I dialed Shannon's number.
"They were in an accident.... Avery didn't make it -" "WHAT?!" "Avery didn't make it - but Jadrian is at the hospital. You need to go to the hospital! You need to tell her I don't blame her. You need to tell her this isn't her fault. You need to go to her now! This is going to kill her - Shannon! You need to go to her!"
How do I explain my absolute fear? How do I put into words how fragile Jadrian is? It's not my story to tell; it's hers... but hers is intertwined with mine and too often I am reminded how my immature, selfish choices of my story negatively affected hers: born to a too young mother and a father in jail, horrible custody disputes, being forced to eat food from the garbage, mind games, so many, many stories.... and then.... the day she sat down for lunch and every single girl got up from the table and moved. Every single one. And still she sat there; her head held high, frozen in an I-am-so-wounded-but-I-won't-let-you-see-it expression. The next day when a classmate asked, "raise your hand if you don't want Jadrian to be here" and every person around her except one raised their hand.
Her childhood groomed her to be a victim. To take the insults without complaint. She was such an easy target. Her story includes a Mom who didn't know how to help her. Who didn't know how to protect her feelings of self-worth because I wasn't sure of mine. I only knew how to turn my back and hide. So I did what I thought was best and moved her to a different school. A new school. A new start.
Except it was worse there. Horrible even. And I didn't know what to do and I still didn't do things right... and to this day I have no idea how she walked down those halls listening to those words. I don't know how she walked back into that school feeling so alone and knowing at any moment another punch would be thrown, another shove would knock her down. How did she walk back into that day after day? And yet she tried to act like everything was okay. Only it wasn't. And on Thanksgiving weekend two years ago...I promised her she would never, ever have to go back.
And we've been working so hard at showing her how beautiful and worthy and important and good she is. That it doesn't matter what mean girls say. And she wants to go to college and she feels good and she's so much better and she laughs real laughs now and she is so absolutely perfect...
No. This cannot happen to her. Not to Jadrian. She has been through too much. Her sister was her refuse. Jadrian was safe with Avery. She was important. She was liked. She was looked up to. She took Avery under her wing and took care of her. They giggled together and made silly videos making fun of news reporters and they spoke with accents. They cuddled together on the overstuffed chair with way too many blankets for two tiny girls. They did make-up and hair and gave each other pedicures. They made plans for Avery to visit Jadrian at college. They loved each other like only sisters can. Avery would tell everyone she had the best sister in the world....
No. I will not lose this daughter, too. Not to this tragedy. I will not. I refuse.
"Shannon! You have to tell her I love her!" I yelled into the phone. "Tell her I don't blame her! TELL HER!!"