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….

beach

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.

Life goes on…

LIfe goes on, and I think that is one of the hardest things I’m having to come to grips with 11 days after we’ve lost Ava.    My whole life has changed, not only in the fact that my baby is gone, but even to the fact that where we live has changed, our family dynamics have changed, what life looks like going forward has changed.   So it’s strange that even with all that change, day-to-day life still goes on like nothing has changed.  You still have to eat, you still sleep, you still interact with everyone.   We went to church yesterday and got together with friends, and even those were normal things, I think they almost hurt me more,  as part of me thinks life shouldn’t be back to normal so soon.  I’m not sure that makes sense.

Grief is an interesting thing.   I may have thought that I would spend my time crying and missing Ava, but most of the time I just go on with this ache inside my heart.  I was thinking today that this ache is like a little grey cloud.   Sometimes the sun shines through and the ache isn’t so bad, and sometime the clouds gather and it actually gets stormy enough that I cry,  but that doesn’t happen very often.    I sometimes wish that I could cry more.  Maybe because crying  is an opportunity to feel real grief,  because the ache I carry around more often than not just makes me feel a bit numb.     

But I know that grieving is important.  One of my favourite parenting books describes grief this way, “Grief is the emotional tool God placed in our hearts to enable us to release things we value.”  (Parenting is Heart Work, Turanksy and Miller).   Isn’t that good?    And it’s hard to let go, but I don’t think there is any rush for us to get through this grieving process.    It’s actually very interesting hear the kids talk about Ava.   We’ve stopped by the cemetery to visit’s Ava’s grave twice already since the funeral and Sophia who is 4 is quite confused about where Ava is…  tonight she said that she thought Heaven was in the ground.   And even though we’ve been trying to explain that Ava’s spirit has left her body, she can’t understand the concept, and is now just worried about dying and she doesn’t want to go to heaven, which now that I understand what she is thinking is really not all that surprising. 🙂

Our boys were sad tonight because Ava had never been to the cottage and I’m a little worried about Sarah because she doesn’t seem to want to talk about it anymore.   I hope that her heart stays soft and she can still talk about Ava and what she misses.  Jay and I will definitely be praying for her.

So we keep moving forward day by day.  I’m so incredibly blessed to have the family that I do have, for an incredible husband who is so patient with me and is filling in all the gaps as I keep dropping the ball.  And for my kids, who have been so gracious through the whole Ava journey, but now are just happy to have me back.

So life goes on.  And it’s hard, but it’s OK.  And praise God that as life goes on,  He won’t make us walk alone, but will be comforting us and guiding us each and every day.