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AVERYday: God Girl Extraordinaire - Part 3

"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!!"


ArtsyGruetz said…
I am praying everyday, probably several times a day as I pray in my car and I drive a lot. I pray for Jadrian and I pray for Cierra. I pray for Brody, Matt and you. I know God listens to our prayers. It is awful and sad, but somehow God will make it alright. Hugs for you.
Ellen said…
I'm glad you are sharing this, not because I'm nosy but because to do so lets out what you would bottle up and that is never good or helpful. Like tears that pour from your eyes and heart, they do heal.

Hold on, hold tight and love your family yourself for being the good mom you are...

angie said…
Like Ellen said, I am grateful that you are sharing this part (Jadrian's part) of the story--not because I need to know every detail, but because I think it is so helpful in knowing how to direct my prayers. Until now, I've only been able to come to God with "Help Jadrian. Please, please, bless her. ... You know what she needs." And that was all I could come up with. I know it was still heard (After all, isn't it always true that God is the one who knows what each person needs?) but I will use this new knowledge to ask for blessings, grace, and healing for your Jadrian. For C, too. There is no shortage of prayers, here. Keep writing, Bridget. You're incredible.
Rebecca said…
I wholeheartedly "ditto" everything that Ellen said. After my heart breaks when I read these, I end up smiling. I know that sounds horrible and don't take it the wrong way, but I'm smiling because you're getting it out. Though you're writing these for us, they're really for you. They're helping you remember stories that have been tucked away, express feelings that you don't want to release around your loved ones because you feel the need to be the strong one, and write down those minor details that will eventually be washed away with time.

Please give Jadrian and Matt a hug from me. Sure, they don't know me but they can't get too many hugs. And consider yourself hugged as well. You have done amazing things for your kids and continue to do so. They'll be okay. You'll all be okay.
Tina, said…
Bridget, I wish I had words that would help you and your family heal. I have been praying for Jadrian since I heard the news. It is so wonderful to know that you are relying on God in all this. I pray that Jadrian is as well. He is the only one that will comfort you and heal you! He will give you the strength to guide Jadrian and help her in her needs of comfort and healing. God Bless you.
Stacy said…
I am sending you so much love, so many prayers, and all the hope that lives within me. I am so sorry for your unimaginable losses, and I wish you strength for the road ahead, toward the path of healing for all of you in your family. But I know you will find your peace, and that you will be able to help your daughter find her way in her grief as well; I can read it in your words. Keep writing, keep breathing, keep believing.
Anonymous said…
I am so glad you are telling this story. I feel like this may be your way of writing out your feelings in order to hopefully eventually heal. Keep sharing whatever you feel you need to. We are here to read it. Jadrian sounds like a strong and amazing girl, just like her momma. She will get through this, as will your family. I believe that. And my thoughts are with C. I don't pray, but I will definitely send positive vibes and thoughts her way.
Becca said…
I will certainly be praying for your sweet girl. So incredibly unfair for all of you. I am so sorry.
How could anybody be mean to that beautiful child? And don't you dare blame yourself because she sees that and she will learn to blame herself too.

This is what I told Owen and I think you can translate it to many different conflicts: When somebody says or does something mean and unsubstantiated to you, it is NOT about you. It is about them. They either don't know how to make friends, or they have poor role models, or they have low self esteem. They may be jealous of you and/or they probably actually want to be your friend.

You can do two things. 1. Come up with a witty, funny come back that diffuses the situation (that would be the Minnesota passive way, but it does work. Owen is too stoic for this option.) or 2. Unemotionally and in your own words say that you don't want to be spoken to that way (if it continues add that you will tell ____ and if it still continues follow through) and then immediately follow with a question about something unrelated yet interesting to them like, "I'm going to go do ____, want to come?" or "Great sweater! Where did you get it?" or "Do you like to ____? Do you want to join me?"

Switching the topic takes the edge off the uncomfortable situation, removes the negative attention from you and puts positive attention on them. Bullies just want attention. And often times bullies don't know how to back down, so you are giving them an easy out.

I know these sound sort of lame and bullied people are always nervous to try it because they can just imagine all the horrible ways it could go wrong, but most of the time it works. It's sometimes helpful for the bullied person to run through what they are going to say.

I know that this really isn't at all what you want to hear right now and Jadrian is probably past this, but it's one of those issues people just don't know how to deal with and even if it isn't an issue for you guys anymore, one of your readers might benefit from the idea.

OK Obviously I really miss our usual dialogue because I have now posted 3 overly wordy comments. Sorry.
Oh, your babies. I pray that Jadrian will always know that she is loved and she is treasured and she is a gift from God. And I wish there was an answer to her questions about why God would allow this to happen. I think those same kind of questions all the time. Much love to her. And you. Take care of yourself as your are able, Bridget.
Chiconky said…
Prayers and love. You and your family are in my thoughts often.
Brenna said…
So many huge questions, and hug is too soft a word for the arms I'd like to wrap around all of you.
Anonymous said…
Stumbled upon your blog and wanted to just tell you I'm so very sorry for your loss. Your sweet Avery sounds like she was an absolute doll. I love how much she loved Jesus. Saying prayers for you and your family.

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