A sunny peaceful place…

Today the girls and I and Grandma went to visit Ava’s grave and put a few flowers on it.  I hope this isn’t super morbid or anything, but I wanted to show you what a sweet peaceful place it is where we laid Ava to rest… just a little country cemetery where the only noise you’ll hear is the birds and the breeze.

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Ava’s resting place is in the top center of the picture… where the grass sitting up higher with the bouquet on top between the two headstones.   It’s certainly not a morbid place for the girls, they seem to enjoy going and today they enjoyed pumping water from the old-fashioned well and watering Ava’s grass – although Sophia kept saying we were ‘watering Ava’.  Oh dear.    Because it’s a small country cemetery you can plant flowers on the graves and Sarah thought that we should water all the flowers on everyone’s graves, but we declined for lack of time.  We watered the flowers in the cemetery’s flowerbeds and called it a day.

And talking of days,  tomorrow the kids start school!   I’m really looking forward to having us all back in routine and I’ve purposely planned for this week to be busy so that time won’t weigh heavy on my hands.   It helps that Jason is still off this week so I won’t be alone.  And we are travelling to Toronto on Tuesday and will be at Sick Kids to pay a visit to Tanya and Alleeda and baby Britton – as well as all of our friends on 4D!!!   I can’t wait… I miss everyone so much and they have been so supportive that we feel very blessed.

It’s hard to believe that this coming Thursday it will be 4 weeks since Ava passed away.   The reality of her being gone is starting to sink in and even last night I was feeling really down until I was encouraged by a friend, and then I thought of a verse that another friend had sent to encourage me,  Romans 8:18 where Paul says…. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us…” and it was such a good reminder to me that yes, there is suffering in this world, but it’s all worth it.  And I can tell you that I miss my baby from the bottom of my heart, sometimes the tears won’t stop and I just wish she was here.   But you know what,   I’ve come to realize that I would do it all over again – every minute with Ava.  I would because of what she taught me and how God changed me, and the people we met and how our family grew together and how we leaned to count our blessings.

So praise God that even now I can even now appreciate a sunny peaceful place, remembering with joy that Ava isn’t really there, she is alive and rejoicing in Heaven and someday I will see her again.

Amen.

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the Silver Lining…

Well we have been at the cottage for four days and now and it’s so very peaceful here.   Being here is definitely the silver lining that coats that little gray cloud in my heart.   And I think the best thing about being at the cottage is that life doesn’t really move on when you are here… well it does in the way that every day is a new day.  But the cottage looks the same to me as it did 17 years ago and times seems to move so slowly here.  This is just what our family needs… space and peace to just process what happened and time to be together and comfort each other.

Although last year when we were here is when we received Ava’s initial diagnosis (we had driven back to London) and my memory is playing tricks on me.  I still seem to recall the pain that we felt last year, and sometimes I feel like I must still be pregnant and waiting for Ava….  but it’s only for a nanosecond before I know that Ava’s already come and already gone.   But being here and spending time with family and with God is helping to ease the hurt.   And if I hadn’t forgotten my camera cord I could show you a picture of what we see everyday, but I did forget it, so I borrowed a pic from last year….

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When I do find my camera cord, I will show the picture of me that Sophia drew in the sand… what a laugh, that little turkey.   Today Sophia and I were walking and I said, “Sophia, guess what?”  And she replied, “Oh mom, I hope you’re not going to say you love me again.”   Apparently I’ve been telling her I love her too much, and so this four-year-old daughter of mine asked me yesterday if I could limit myself to just telling her that I love her once a day.   I’ll repeat, she’s a turkey.   But that is another part of the silver lining… our children.     I was so focused on Ava for so long that I didn’t realize how much I missed my other kids.   This time has been so wonderful connecting with them and getting to know them again.  God is good.

It’s funny being here in another way though because  I remember a few weeks ago sitting outside in the court-yard of the Ronald MacDonald House and shutting my eyes and trying to pretend I was at the cottage.     But now that I am at the cottage,  sometimes I find myself wishing that I was back in Toronto with my sweet baby.  I still really miss Ava and I can’t believe she’s been gone two weeks already.  It seems like it was just yesterday.

But I’m keeping in touch with my friends back in TO.   My friend Tanya and I talk almost daily (Aleeda’s mom) and once in a while in the evening when I’m blue, I call up to Ava’s ward at Sick Kids and chat with the nurses.   I miss them as well and I’m glad they don’t mind talking to me because it’s my 4D therapy…haha.     Tanya and I became really close back in our days at Sick Kids as we were living the same life as mom’s waiting for hearts for our sick babies, and even back then we talked about how our friendship was going to be the link back to that life if anything should happen to our girls.   it’s hard to have a life you’ve been living – even if it’s not the most ideal life – just ripped out of your hands and thrown away.  All the relationships and friendships that were made in Toronto and our lives there are now over.

But we have plans to go back and visit soon and I am looking forward to seeing Tanya and Aleeda again.    Aleeda is coming up on 4 weeks tomorrow since she received her heart.   And she is out of critical care and back up on 4D now, but is still struggling.    Because she was so sick when she received her heart, her progress is slow, but it’s steady.  But please keep her in your prayers as they try to get all the kinks worked out.   Tanya is being amazing as always looking after Aleeda, as well as Aleeda’s new baby sister Britton.  But I know it’s not easy and I know that every day they have to stay at the hospital, is another day they aren’t all together as a family.    I just pray that Aleeda and Tanya’s and their family’s life can start again soon on the outside as they have been there so long.

I apologize if I’ve rambled tonight.   But even though it’s only been two weeks since we lost Ava, this little silver lining is bringing back some joy into my life.  And praise God once again for being able to bring joy – even in the midst of pain.

Flown away

Our sweet little Birdy has flown to Jesus. She died peacefully in our arms tonight and is finally free from all the pain and suffering that was hers.

Our hearts are hurting and rejoicing at the same time and through all of this we feel so blessed for every minute we had with Ava.

I’ll share her verse one more time…

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26