Avery started 5th grade in September and by the end of October she was gone. Just gone. In the most final, absolute way imaginable. She was gone.
And although everything I was and everything I had ever known ceased to exist in a matter of the blink of an eye - everything else around me continued on. The sun rose. Seasons changed. Students moved on to the next lesson.
And yet, Avery was in that slide show... just not in the way I would have imagined. Pictures of students decorating Christmas ornaments to hang on her tree by her grave. Pictures of her name. Picture after picture that showed she was not forgotten. That she was cared for and thought of and, oh, so very much loved.
I looked around and saw that Avery was still very much in that school. There were papers written by various students explaining what they loved about attending Delavan Christian School: they talked about God and learning about Jesus, and they talked about Avery. My Avery. They talked about being thankful that they knew Avery. They talked about how they got to understand a bit more about leaning on God when things got rough. And they talked about taking care of each other during tough times. Avery would love that.
And there was a beautiful bench that was made in her memory so that she would continue to always be part of that school. I love that. (I need that.)
I think about what a blessing it was that Avery was attending Delavan Christian School when she died. Can you imagine trying to comfort children in the loss of their friend without being allowed to mention God or heaven? I can't. My faith is what has made it possible for me to wake to another day. My faith is what has made it possible to see the joy that surrounds me, even in my darkest days. My faith is what is healing me.
I know no other way but through God. And His way is good.
"Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."
I am not who I once was. When Avery died I chose to faithfully walk with God. He has taken me by the hand. Waited for me while I wailed. Showed me the way up the mountain. Who I once was is no more; God took that old me, put her away, and is working someone new.