Tuesday, January 8, 2013

AVERYday: The Ties that Bind - Part 20

"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."
~Marion C. Garretty

There is an interesting phenomenon that happens when one person dies; there are, simultaneously, a multitude of relational deaths. What I mean is, I lost a daughter. But at the same time Jadrian lost her only sister. And Brody lost a big sister. My mother lost a granddaughter, my sister a niece. A cousin was was lost, a friend, a classmate, a teammate, a neighbor, even lost was just a name once mentioned in passing one long ago evening.

How many times those first early weeks would I say over and over again, "thank God for my sister. I don't what I would have done without my sister. I couldn't have gotten through this without my sister." Grateful words spoken honest from my heart, but which were overheard by the shattered soul of the innocent child who had just lost her one and only sister. My words must have felt like daggers.

There is a special bond between sisters and Jadrian and Avery definitely shared a strong one. Jadrian was an only child until she was six. I worried, of course, how she would react to a new baby, but I needn't worry. She was like a little mommy to Avery. They shared a bedroom together until Avery was 6 and Jadrian was 12. And, although both girls were excited to finally have their own individual space, there were more "sleepovers" than not.

When Jadrian was struggling in school and the fallout of bullying, Avery was her biggest proponent, her strangest ally, her loudest cheering section. I don't know how Avery did it, but she could evoke giggles and silliness like it was nothing at all. She allowed Jadrian to forget, for just a few hours while they were together, the heartache waiting her in the halls of a school she dreaded, and just simply enjoy being a kid. Just another day being sisters together.

Jadrian would talk Avery into some adventure, or Avery would convince Jadrian. It didn't matter, really. They just liked being together. They also had big plans for more mature play dates when Jadrian would eventually go off to college. Dorm room sleepovers with late night make-up make-over sessions were planned regularly.

I question, sometimes, if even I feel the loss of Avery as deeply as Jadrian does. Because, while I love Avery with my heart and soul and miss her with every fiber of my being, I do not feel alone, without my sister. And alone is a terribly dark place to be.

Jadrian was older sister, teacher, protector. She was the safe place for Avery to turn. As sisters, they would team up together and organize protests against the unfair treatment they received when I ordered them to clean their room or vacuum the living room. Together they giggled behind my back about my out of style hat I insisted on wearing out in public and that fact that my baked chicken only ever tasted like packing peanuts.

They were a team.

The  very best one possible.

I can tell you that no one feels more responsibility, and guilt, and regret, and remorse about that fateful day than Jadrian, and I pray every single day that she can break past those lying emotions and find the ones that give her light again.

I want her to laugh while remembering the phenomenal Wii Just Dance Tournaments held in our living room while wearing what appears to be the tackiest pajamas ever. I want her to hold her ribs while snorting out a description of pillow case races (the pillow cases were worn over their heads, restricting their arms to their sides. Ever see the Milwaukee Brewer Sausages? That's what they looked like) even though no one understands why she's laughing so hard.

I want her to trust that Avery is now is such a sweet and special place; one Avery herself desired to be, and even if we cannot ever make sense of the timing, I want Jadrian to trust that God will make amazing things come of this on earth if she would just trust Him.

I want Jadrian to understand that Avery has her tucked so deep inside her heart that even in heaven, Avery knows who her beloved big sister is, and that she continues to love her and look up to her, with all of her eternal heart. I want her to understand what a good big sister she was... and can continue to be.

I want her to stop feeling guilty. Stop thinking she has to take some sort of blame. Stop going over every single nuance of that day. Stop feeling like she could have had the power to change anything in that terrible moment... because the truth is, she couldn't.

All she had the power to do was love like only a sister could....

... and she did that so very, very well, indeed.


Brenna said...

I can't imagine for one second why other kids would be cruel to Jadrian. There have to be amazing things in store for her, beautiful things.

Becca said...

Such beautiful girls. My heart breaks for Jadrian. May god send her peace.

angie said...

Praying, praying, praying for Jadrian. I hope the beautiful sisterly relationship they share continues to fuel her. I cannot imagine her grief, but oh, how I wish I could lift it. Let peace be hers.

Shylah said...

You will never know me personally, but I have read each entry on your Averyday posts...
First let me say first and foremost, that I am praying for you and your family, and I am especially praying for your work, through Avery, to continue.
I want to say that I personally thank you for me being such an amazing witness to The Lord, and being Avery's voice. What a strong woman and mother of example you are. Second, I would just like to say thank you. I often times call myself a "starter Christian", and as you describe in your paint it white post, I see your strength and your words as all being strokes of white to people such as myself, who teeter with doubts,who are scared to put their faith in at 100%, and who question the rights and the wrongs and how can things happen in the when... situations.
Thank you for using your blog, that I stumbled on through FB, to be inspiration, to be testimony and to show truth in healing and trusting our God. Thank you Bridget for your words, for your emotion and for your strength.
You will be in my thoughts, prayers and I will continue to be a reader of your blog!

Chiconky said...

There is so much love in these pictures. Jadrian is often in my thoughts and I have to believe that she will find peace. And I agree, the universe must have some amazing things in store for her.

bookishrn said...

Steven Curtis Chapman's (contemporary Christian musician) son has likely had to bear similar emotions as he was driving and did not see his youngest sister who was running to greet him. He ended up backing over her (she died) and this was five years ago. His parents also had to grieve and comfort at the same time. His mother has a book about this tragic event.
Thank you for sharing your journey.