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.
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 chose to take Avery on that very day, in that very minute, in this very way... and it wasn't to punish me.
See, God knows me better than I know myself. He needed me to have that last memory of her; that last vision of her sweet smile as she told me, "You know, Mom, I really am a God Girl." He needed me to remember her last movements that I would ever register in my brain to be of a self-confident, beautiful, God-loving girl slinging her backpack over her shoulder, grabbing her gym back and walking proudly into her school.
And he needed me not to cloud that memory of her with any other vision. I chose not to see her hand. When I close my eyes now, as hard as it is without her, I clearly see the last time I saw her; and she is beautiful.
It pains me to the core of my soul that Jadrian's eyes close to a different, absolutely harrowing, vision.
I don't ever want to lose my last moments with Avery; Jadrian can't outrun hers.
God also knows that I can hold a grudge. He knows I struggle with it. He knows I have little patience for people who are purposefully hateful and cruel and that I struggle greatly with forgiveness; it is not something I hand out easily.
He knew that if Avery had been taken by cancer or some other disease, my message would not be Avery's love for God, but rather my hatred for cancer, my frustration with the medical system, my anger as to why more isn't being done when everyone knows it should be.
He knew that if a drunk driver had hit those beautiful girls on their way home my heart would harden with anger and hate. I doubt I would even be able to see God's love in something like that. God knew me enough to know what my heart could handle. And what it could not.
And so it is with much guilt that I say I believe God used these beautiful, innocent, full of life girls because He knew my first and only reaction would be to protect them, love them, pray for them. I have no room for blame or hate or anger in my heart for these sweet girls. Jadrian and C are so young; so precious. They're just babies themselves, with their whole lives ahead of them. 17 is such a precarious age to be even when everything is perfect... and now to deal with something of this magnitude? I feel guilty because if I were a better person, a more forgiving person, a person of stronger faith; then maybe God would have spared them the physical and emotional trauma this accident has produced for them. I don't know for certain why God has chosen these two girls to walk through this troubled path. I say it a lot - but know it's never enough - please continue to pray for them. To heal. To feel comfort. To find strength. And to feel peace. My heart breaks over and over for these girls.
God made Avery so incredibly special. He made her faith strong and sure. He made her with the ability to empathize to a degree I rarely see in others. He made her feelings of compassion result in action. He made her kind, and willing to make a difference. He made her work hard even though it didn't always come easy for her. He made her loving and gentle and funny and witty. He made her with this beautiful ability to read with expression that made her the all-time favorite story reader. He made her love ice cream and McDonald's fast food and He made her want to see the world improve.
Whether I wanted it or not, He put me in charge of telling her story. And whether I understand (or agree), He did what He needed to do in order for me to do just that.
Avery had a special place in her heart for the people of Haiti:
Here... have a closer look:
My girl loved hard.
We have our work cut out for us.