Showing posts from November, 2012

AVERYday: What Really Matters - Part 11

I never fully realized how important knowing - really knowing - whether or not the people I loved accepted Christ was, until Avery passed. See, Avery was filled up, overflowing, oozing out love for Christ! She did not get that from me. Sure, I believed in God. And, yes, I brought her to Church and Sunday School like a good parent (mostly for the social coffee hour after). But I have always been what you would probably call a Holiday and a Half Christian. You know Holiday Christians: they show up at Christmas, Easter, a few weddings and all the funerals. Well, Holiday and a Half Christians show up at all the holidays, weddings and funerals, but they also go to church for at least half the year. They might sign up for a Bible Study (but only do half the lessons). They sign their Christmas cards with "blessings" and aren't afraid to tell people they'll pray for them. And they can quote a thing or two from the Bible: "I can do all things through Christ who streng

AVERYday: Avery Asks God a Question - Part 10

Avery knew things. She would just declare things and they were always, always right. Sometimes they were little things:      "Mom, we need to stop and get me a lunch for the field trip tomorrow." What field trip? I chalked it up to impressive organizational skills. She knew my schedule, her schedule, grandma's schedule, the schedule of all her friends - and their parents. We joked that the best job for her would be secretary to the President of the United States. The girl loved a schedule. But then there were bigger things. Things I couldn't understand, but probably would be overlooked by someone who didn't really know her. For example, a couple years ago she came to me and announced she would be auditioning for a summer theatre production. With people she didn't know. And I had to explain to her that not only would it be with people she didn't know, it would be performed for people she didn't know. And these strangers would sit a

AVERYday: Out of the Broken - Part 9

A couple weeks before Avery's death, I presented her with a charm bracelet that had her name on it. I had a bracelet made for me with the initials of my children and Matt, which Avery fell in love with. She asked for her name on a bracelet for her birthday, which was October 5th. A couple days after her birthday the bracelet was ready. She wore it constantly. After I returned home from the hospital the night of the accident all I wanted to do was find that bracelet. I needed that bracelet. Except Jadrian needed comforting and we laid together, side by side, in Avery's twin bed. Crying. I couldn't sleep. I tried to sneak out of the bed, but Jadrian wasn't sleeping either. I offered some paltry excuse, but I just couldn't tell her what I really needed: the bracelet. In between visitors on Thursday I searched. I opened drawers, emptied pockets, ran my hands along the top of shelves. I feared the bracelet wouldn't be at home. I feared Avery would have had that

AVERYday: Thanksgiving 2012

Today is Thanksgiving. I suppose I should note some internal negative emotional significance in that this is the first Thanksgiving without my 11-year old daughter. My 11-year old daughter who will forever be just 11-years old. Except that, I'm not feeling bad. Not in this moment, anyway. In this moment, I feel so incredibly thankful!  When I think back on the past 4 weeks, my heart swells.  I am thankful for LH. The angel who was the first to come across the accident scene. Who got out of her car and held out her arms to a child screaming, terrified, covered in blood. Who took my 17-year old daughter's face in her hands, looked straight into her eyes and said, "We are going to pray right now." Thank you, for turning first to God. I am thankful for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football players who ran to the car to try to get to C and Avery. Hearts pounding, facing fear head on, to do whatever they could. Thank you for having that courage. An

AVERYday: Dreaming My Dreams - Part 8

Photo Credit: Emily Brewster I was afraid of sleeping, or rather, not sleeping, after that first night. And so I did what made sense to me and that was to find something that would help put me to sleep. I was successful and found amazing assistance in the form of a little, round pill. I could sleep. And there were no nightmares.  But there were no dreams either. After two weeks I thought maybe I'd better try sleeping on my own, lest I become a sleeping pill addict... and also because I wanted to dream. I selfishly wanted her to visit me in my dreams. I had heard stories about this: dreams so vivid it was like their lost loved one was really there. I fixated on what Avery would tell me; what words of wisdom she would impart to her grieving mother. Except she hasn't been in my dreams yet.  I think about her constantly. She interrupts my thoughts. I can't focus on what people are saying to me because suddenly a thought will slip in: I'll never know

AVERYday: Revelations - Part 7

I have always believed in God. I grew up going to church because that's what we did on Sundays. The best part about Sundays was going to my grandparent's house after church to eat. The grown-ups would talk over coffee and the cousins would all play together, secretly hoping the adults would forget they had kids and we could stay forever. I grew up. Went to college for a bit, joined the military. Maybe went to church twice in four years.  I had children. Tried to go to church. Tried to take them to Sunday School. It was hard. They didn't want to go. I wanted to sleep in. Sometimes I was really good about going... but then I'd get lazy again. I always believed in God, but I certainly wasn't what you'd call an Ideal Representative of the Christian Faith.  I had kids out of wedlock, cussed like a sailor, had my priorities messed up. I failed more times than I could count. I'd try to do the right thing, but I always seemed to be making wrong decisions. I usua

AVERYday: How Blessed am I? - Part 6

I was so mad that Avery didn't have her phone that day. That day. October 24, 2012. Avery would have answered her phone. Jadrian, probably not. Jadrian was driving. Avery was a passenger in the back seat. Avery always answered her phone. In fact, on the days that her older sister drove her to and from gymnastics, Avery would spend much of the ride texting me. What are we going to eat for dinner? I'm hungry. Can't we just get McDonald's? I got my back hip circle with a spot! Except not on October 24th. On that day, when I tried frantically to get a hold of someone - anyone - who could tell me where my babies were, Avery's phone was sitting on the chair in my bedroom. For a long time I was angry. Why didn't she have her phone with her? I could have talked to her one more time! I always texted back that I loved her! Why did she leave it at home?! I could have heard her voice one more time.... I felt, I don't know, cheated, somehow. I could ha

AVERYday: Jesus Wept - Part 5

The cry is what I'll always remember. Animalistic. Primal. Filled with more pain than any one person should ever have to feel. "MMOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!" My beautiful, precious daughter's hands flew to cover her face. I didn't want to take another step. I wanted to run away. Turn around and leave this emergency room, run from the hospital and never, ever look back. I can't do this. Do you hear me, God? I cannot do this. And yet my legs kept walking purposefully to that bed. "MMOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!! I'M SO SORRY! I'M SO SORRY!!! SHE WAS MY SISTER!!!! SHE WAS MY SISTER!!!!!!!" I grabbed her hands and and pulled them down so I could see her face. Her eyes were squeezed shut, tears streaked her cheeks. I could tell her eye was swollen and shut. There was bruising. There was a large bump on the side of her head. "Look at me. You look at me!" She kept her eyes shut. God help me . "Look at me. I love you. Do you hear

AVERYday: Holding Each Other Up - Part 4

There were hundreds of people that stood in line for over an hour to give me a hug. People streamed through the school gymnasium where Avery's visitation was being held from 3:45pm until after 9:00 at night. People I was related to. People who I have known all my life. People I worked with. People I had only known for a short time. And people I had never met. I remember meeting a man who was holding the most precious little girl. She reached her arms out to me and climbed into my arms. "What's your name?" she asked, squeezing my cheeks, pulling back my cheeks, morphing my face and smile into silly expressions. "Bridget. What's yours?" "Chelsie. You're pretty."  Perhaps it sounds bizarre, and maybe if you ever go through something like this, you'll understand what I'm about to say: I needed her. At that moment in time, I needed this innocent child to squeeze my cheeks and tell me I was pretty.  Her father had never met me

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

AVERYday: God Girl Extraordinaire - Part 2

By now you may have heard that Avery was referred to as a God Girl. [ See also Delavan Enterprise article:  God Girl goes home . ) Once we heard the full  Jamie Grace CD we were like "yep. That's Avery! She's a God Girl!" Avery carried her bible with her always. And she read it everywhere. This summer she was a Mother's Helper and took her bible with to read from when the kids were napping or there was just some downtime to be had. She was not ashamed of her love for Jesus. (You see, Avery had WAY more faith than her mother. I have always had faith - but questioning, sometimes doubting and confused faith. Mine is the kind that I must work at. Avery's has always been an absolute, oozing from her pores, kind of faith.) And Avery's faith extended far beyond the written pages of a book. Avery had compassion. She felt compelled to help people. All people. She wanted to save the world through the knowledge of Jesus. "Mom," she began one afternoo

AVERYday: God Girl Extraordinaire - Part 1

A couple weeks ago Avery (my 11-year old, Dotter) was invited to a sleepover. It was late but they were like a second family... "Go get what you need," I told her. I stood talking to Avery's friend and her mother while Avery grabbed her sleepover necessities: she came back holding just a toothbrush and a bible. That's the kind of girl she was. She didn't worry about clothes or pajamas... she just needed her bible. I called her quirky. Different. But she was just Avery. I didn't write about Avery as often as I wrote about my other children... or my fiance, Matt (aka: Big V), not because I didn't want to; but because I didn't know how. Avery was special and I failed at finding the words to do her justice. Avery wasn't late for anything. Ever. She was strict about her schedule. In fact, she was strict about everyone's schedule: she knew who needed to go where when and what they needed to bring. We joked that the perfect job for her would be se