Happy Birthday Ava!!!

Today would be Ava's first birthday. My little peach would probably be a walking, semi-talking little doll. We spent the day being reflective and having a fun time celebrating. Both sets of grandparent, Holly and Jason and the kids, Uncle Geoffrey, and even Uncle Derek (all the way from Okinawa) got together. We started out at my parents house in Allendale and planted a magnolia tree in the front yard in memory of Ava. It grows gorgeous pink blooms and blooms in May, right around her birthday. We then went to the cemetary and we put some little things around her grave. Then we each had a pink balloon and let them go. The wind was whipping up a storm and they all took off quickly. We were planning on having a birthday cake and ice cream out there but it was too cold so we went back to my parents. We then had cake and ice cream and each of the kids had a turn to blow out the one candle for our little Ava. We then headed off the Chuck E. Cheese's and each of the kids had a ball playing games and riding rides.

When we got home and I was putting Zoe to bed, she was looking at my locket I wear around my neck and she says, "I love Ava." I told her Ava used to sleep right here and pointed to the area in the room where Ava's bed was. She then proceeded to tell me that Ava sleeps with Jesus. Just so matter of fact that it brought tears to my eyes.

Many times through out the last 24 hours quiet tears have come. Last night, starting at about 5:15 to now has been difficult. Remembering going into labor, the emotional rush and joy of her arrival and the exhuastion after, all make this day bittersweet. We are so lucky to have known her, to have had her here with us yet losing her is still so difficult. Life is just not as colorful or as vivid, especially the past few days. It makes me realize that life is moving on and that we are becoming happy again (whether we choose to or not).

It has been a real blessing to feel like it is okay to openly grieve again. Some of the notes, e-mails, phone calls, etc. from friends made were very thoughtful. Having her birthday makes people think of her again and talk openly about her. It's nice to feel like it's okay to cry and feel sad.

Through this whole ordeal, as difficult as it has been, nothing has been more apparent than the faithfulness of God. Even when I feel like my heart will break or I will scream out of anger God is still the one thing we can come back to. To know without a doubt that one day we will see Ava again makes heaven a reality. Before this I never really yearned for heaven, yet now I yearn for it daily.

We continue to rejoice in the fact that we have two living children to bring us through this difficult time. The joy and comic relief is unending. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Posted on May 5, 2006 .