Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy birthday

One month ago today our sweet little girl Avery Joy was born.  6 wonderful and tiring days with her, 25 without her.  We miss her so much.  Everyday.  The first time we felt Avery in our arms, we knew life would never be the same.  It isn't. 

Most of the time we do pretty well.  But then there are times, perhaps moreso lately, when the unescapable reality of the void she left washes over us with a force and speed difficult to predict or to handle.  In a way, I suppose it is comforting.  After all, the place she holds in our hearts and our family is secure.  But at night, when we want only to hold her and lay her down to sleep, comforting thoughts aren't matter how optimism tries to spin them.  In these times, we run out of pictures to look at, we wear out Melissa's video, and still we want more.  We want Avery.

Perhaps I have learned something of my own grief and God's involvement.  For months I have been searching and searching for God in the midst of this and more specifically what meaningful lesson I can take from this wonderful and awful last year. And when I have prayed on the matter, I have heard...nothing.  No words at all.  There is no lesson?  Allowing myself to grieve though over the last few weeks, I have begun to know in a new way that God has been with me this whole time.  He is with me. Maybe that is the answer to my question, "What is the lesson?"  Perhaps his presence is it, and maybe right now words would only distract.  Lessons can come later.  His presence in the midst of pain is what matters most in these moments. 

That statement means something much different to me now than it used to.  For the first time in my life, "His presence in the midst of pain" hasn't transformed the pain to joy or at least into something digestable or more tolerable.  This situation is still deeply painful and doesn't yet seem to be getting any better.  But verses of the Bible that speak of God's steadfast love now have much greater depth than they used to.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A week later

Thanks for continued prayers, calls, texts, emails, visits, meals, etc.  (A little overwhelmed with our inability to keep up with thank you's).  We have felt your collective support.  Back to work for me this week; great to see people from work, challenging to be away from home.

We have now had more than twice as many days without Avery as we had with her.  Yet, her absence remains palpable to us. We are grateful everyday and emotional most days.  In the last 24 hours, I am so grateful to have met for the first time three beatiful baby girls of friends, all of whom are NICU graduates!  Thank God for these kids.

Thanks to Steve Walters this week for pointing out that "Grieving is hard work." For someone prone to just putting my nose down and plowing through, I appreciate the wisdom of making sure I don't run from the process.

Some pictures:
1. An awesome picture of wide-eyed Avery being held by Em after receiving an edible arrangement from friends Steven and Aubrey. Avery is so beautiful; it makes me miss her terribly.

2. Em, Liv and I made cookies (with pre-cut cookies from Shannon Gower) this week to take neighbors. I used it as an opportunity to tell them about Avery's passing.  You be the judge: more sprinkles on the cookies or on the sheet?  Either way, I wasn't going to eat them. (We made some for ourselves later.)

3. Thanks to Shae Dalke and family for bringing rotisserie chicken.  We all enjoyed it, but Emily in particular LOVED it.  So much so in fact that she ate every last bit of her chicken leg that was edible...and then some parts that aren't really edible. It was actually a little gross to watch (and hear).