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The First Day... Without.

It's the first day of school. I know this for two reasons: (1) I've been dreading it, and (2) every post on Facebook is reminding me of it.

Scrolling through picture after picture filled with toothless grins, perfectly parted hair, brand new backpacks and shoes without a single scuff, I find that most accompanying comments mention something along the lines of time goes so fast... I know what happens when time stops.

Avery absolutely loved school. Loved it! She wasn't a big fan of homework (we had more than our share of "angry Math") but rather felt her school was her home. She saw her teachers not just as rulers of the classroom, but as people who cared for and loved their students; as fill-in Moms and Dads she was blessed with during the hours I was at work.

She could tell me everything about any kid in her school. She knew their name, where they lived, if they had any siblings or pets and what they liked to do for fun. They weren't just "other students" sharing a hallway, they were her brothers and sisters.

She especially looked up to the older kids in school - and couldn't wait to be one. She couldn't wait to be partnered up as a reading buddy to the preschoolers and talked often about when it would be her turn to put the flag up in the mornings.
I want to crawl into bed and never get out. I want to scream that it's not fair. Because it's not. It is not fair that Avery had to die and I have to go without and Brody doesn't get to go to school with Avery because this was not the plan. The plan was that Brody would get old enough to share three full years of school with his big sister. The plan was not to pretend it's perfectly normal for a 3-year old to say things like, "When I go to school, I think Avery will come with me, but we can't see her or hear her because she died." The plan was not to have the weird kid in class who speaks to his dead sister and creeps out the other parents because they don't know our situation.

The plan included volleyball and basketball and Student Council. The plan included weekly gymnastics classes and youth group twice a month on Wednesdays. The plan included getting her braces off and trimming her hair and coming up with something fabulous for her birthday. The plan included yelling over Math homework and getting annoyed that I had to run to the store for poster board at the last minute and reminding her to please put her sweats on after swim practice because it's too cold to be walking through the parking lot in a wet towel in the middle of winter. The plan was stressed out evenings filled with drama practice and trombone lessons and sitting down to play through this week's piano lesson one more time. The plan included fielding complaints about dinner and hating the pair of shoes she just had to have the week before and begging to spend the night at a friend's house. Again.

The plan included Avery just being a kid. A kid who smiled too much and laughed too loud and was way too busy for her own good. A kid who would one day grow up to be an amazing adult and an incredible mom.

The last first day of school photo ever.

I realize I've been quite naïve about how life works. Waltzing along thinking we'll all grow old and grey, while children become adults and give birth to the next generation. I know that God's ways are not our ways. I have always known that tragedy exists and I have always sat back in confused awe at how people manage to walk through those tragedies that seemed so removed from me I was safe.
I know that there is a plan - just not the one I had, and certainly not one I am privy to at this time, and that in order to get through this tragedy I must choose to stay strong in my faith... but for today, for right now, in these moments, I'm just going to grieve the first day of school without my beautiful, incredible, amazing Avery.

Psalm 71:20-21
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once again.


angie said…
grieving with you, sweet Bridget.
gradydoctor said…
No words. Just prayers of comfort and peace. I'm sorry you have to go through this pain, my sister.
Chiconky said…
Love and prayers. Wishing you strength tonight.
Christa Sterken said…
Oh Bridget, God bless you this week and your precious family. I was able to share your blog tonight with someone whose friend is beginning "your" journey.
Brenna said…
He talks to his sister in class? What an amazing boy.
Anonymous said…
my heart breaks for you, bridget. i never seem to know the right thing to say after reading your posts... but i hope just one more random person (in baltimore no less, one of the most random places of all ;) sending you love and strength across the miles helps even just the tiniest bit xxxooo

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