It’s the 5th anniversary of Ava’s passing.  Five years!  My baby would be 5 1/2 years old already!   I look at children who I know are her age and it’s hard to fathom that we should have a little girl running around that is as big as they are.  And for better or worse, my memory is very kind to me…. as in when I imagine Ava as a five year old, I picture her as a perfectly healthy, sweet little girl, with red gold curls and a big smile.  I like to think that’s how things should have been, had she been born healthy.  I don’t think of the 5 1/2 year old we would have with serious medical issues.  But had she lived, that would have been our reality.

And that reality brings me back to today, a happy/sad day.  Happy because we know where Ava is, she’s in heaven, where I long to be.  She’s perfectly whole, perfectly beautiful, really living in a place with no pain and no sin and no sorrow. How could we not be happy she’s there?   She doesn’t have to suffer one more day of being a hospital kid, a frequent flier, who would likely have clinic visits and follow-ups and test for the rest of her life, dealing with her Turner’s syndrome and the life that comes along with receiving a heart transplant.

It’s also sad because she’s the daughter we never got to know.   She’s someone who should be in our lives, but isn’t.  I think that the problem with losing a child is that you lose the future you were supposed to have with them,  and that hurts.   I didn’t get a chance to get to know her better, to watch her grow, start to walk, start to talk, figured out what her personality was going to be like.  I’ll never be able to watch her grow from a girl into a woman.  Oh my sweet Birdy.  Our family could look so different!!!   These are things I think about all the time.

And with her gone, of course things are different.  Sophie is stuck being the youngest because she doesn’t have Ava.  She thinks about that all the time. 🙂  They were the closest in age and with Sophie’s tender heart I know they would have been close.  And while Erik and Will might be glad to not have three younger sisters, they can pretend that they would always have gotten along with her had she stayed with us.  Will would have been her protector, and Sarah would have been her second mother and I would never have had to worry that she was being taken care of with any of her siblings.   It’s actually hurts a little that our family dynamics slid back so quickly into how they had been before Ava came, like she didn’t exist.  Two boys, two girls, so neat and tidy,  I would have rather it be messy and have her.

But praise God she did exist.  She was here for a short eight months, leaving her mark and forever changing us.  Well, I think that actually was the Lord.  He forever changed us by giving us Ava.  Teaching us things that otherwise we might never have learned, like having to trust completely when things are going wrong.  And how God is faithful even when someone you love is dying, and showing us how to rest in the lavish grace and peace He gives to get us through even the worst days this life has to offer.

Oh life can be so hard!  But looking forward to eternity makes things easier to handle.  And I’m so glad Ava is there waiting for us.

So I know I speak for my family when we say that we we are happy she is there, but sad she isn’t here.

(This is us as of last summer, still can’t bear to change my blog pic even if I never blog. :))