Avery Kate

Avery Kate was a healthy ten week old baby girl who went to down for her nap and woke up in Heaven. We miss her every second of every day. SIDS became a reality in our family and we will never forget that beautiful baby girl.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Three Years Old

My blog began as a way for me to document each moment I had with my sweet Avery Kate as well as a way for Hallie to be able to look back and remember her sister. It quickly evolved into my of helping other parents suffering from the loss of their children. I wanted them to know they weren't alone, and their feelings were completely normal. The more I poured my heart out into this blog, I realized it had become therapeutic for me. It helped me to get my feelings out at my own pace. I began to blog less and less and I knew it was because I just didn't feel that need to "get it all out." I'm not saying that I'm over it, or that I don't cry and ask God, "Why?" But I  am getting better at being the mommy of a true angel. Fewer events in life catch me off guard and I'm walking through each day with Avery Kate by my side,  guiding me in the right direction.
This weekend, Labor Day Weekend, each year is always a tough one. I start getting emotional and really tender hearted. This year was no exception. I can't help but think about it's supposed to  be, well how I wish it would be. This is just another year where there is no birthday party, no cute girlie cake, no candles, no presents, no little girls running around my house, no birthday girl. No birthday girl.. Wow.. It's still hard to type. I see the other children that are the same age as Avery Kate and I can't help but wonder what she would be like today. Would she have brown hair like Hallie or blonde hair like Aubrey? What would her birthday party theme be? It's all so hard to imagine. Hallie wants to send Avery Kate a cake up in heaven. I told her she could make a special card and we would send it up with balloons. She also asked when she was going to go to Heaven which my response is always, "Hopefully not any time soon!" It's one of those questions where you can't ever be certain of what our future holds and as much as I want to promise her that we will all be here with her forever, we all know very well that is not the case. Hallie was upset last night and was so focused on the fact that Avery Kate really isn't coming back. It's so hard to tell her that and to know that this is reality and not a long lasting nightmare.
Tomorrow, we will go and bring Avery Kate some new bright and cheery flowers and we will send her 3 balloons up to heaven to symbolize the 3 years that we have all loved her and held her in our hearts. September 1, 2011 was one of the best days of my life. It's all because she entered my world and made my life that much more meaningful. I think of her every day, and I know that she makes me a better person. I look at life differently because of her. I appreciate the people in my life and know they were brought to me for a reason. I am more patient (for the most part) because I realize that most of the time the things that would just piss me off in the past, truly don't matter.
I continue to get my little winks from Avery Kate too. We went on a family vacation last month and when we got out of the car at our first stop, there was a tiny white feather on the ground right at my feet. There's just no way that was a coincidence... No way! I hear songs on the radio at 11:11 that remind me of her. I pray to her every day, but I still long for the day where I can think of her and not get that lump in my throat. I LOVE talking about her. It makes me feel like she is still remembered, but it sure does give me that lump... Every single time! I miss her so much!
So here's to you Avery Kate! On your third birthday... I wish you a happy happy birthday! What better place to celebrate than in heaven.... Even though the human side of me would much rather her celebrate here with me and the rest of our family. I love you sweet girl! We will see you again....

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Tidal Wave

I haven't posted in a while because I've been so busy and just enjoying life. Avery Kate is on my mind every single day as she will be for the rest of my life, but I didn't feel like I had anything bottled up inside until now. I know grief comes in waves, and yesterday is when the tidal wave hit. I received a message last night that a co-worker of mine whom I've never met lost her 16 month old baby yesterday. He passed away in his sleep with no previously known conditions. I've heard stories that have been similar to my own these past two years and my heart always goes out to those parents and of course prayers as well. But somehow this one was different. Her baby was the same age as Aubrey.  I feel like I've worked so hard to overcome all of my fears with her and I finally felt safe. So many times during the night I'm tempted to just glance at the video monitor screen to check on her but I talk myself out of it. I always repeat that saying to myself "walk by faith, not by sight." And then I go back to sleep, leaving it in God's hands. But with something like this... It just breaks my heart all over again and I've gained all that fear back. I know we are never truly "safe." It's in God's hands; we are not the ones in control... But it doesn't make it any easier. When I got the news of this precious little boy's passing, I immediately ran to grab Aubrey out of bed. I just held her and cried. I hugged her and thanked God for sending her to me... And then I begged him to allow me to keep her. It's just one of those moments of weakness when all you can think of is to beg. It's so hard not to be in control of these things. As parents all we want to do is protect our children. It's so hard to lose them and know nothing could have been done differently to save them... It's really hard! So needless to say I went to sleep last night with such a heavy heart, teary eyes, and many many prayers that I know that mom will feel. And of course all through the night I woke up and squinted my eyes at the video monitor to verify that Aubrey's chest was moving up and down. When my alarm went off this morning, my eyes went straight to the video screen. I couldn't tell if her stomach was moving! I ran into her room to touch her and found her sleeping (and breathing) peacefully. Then I walked back to my room and the tidal wave hit me again. I began to think about that mother, and what her morning would be like. I remember that morning after all too well. I remember waking up and hoping, wishing, it was all just a horrible nightmare... But it wasn't. I remember facing reality and knowing that I had to plan my child's funeral that day. I had to pick out something for her to wear for the last time, I had to pick a coffin for her, I had to pick flowers, readings, music, and the list goes on. All these thoughts hit me as I woke up that morning. I just imagined that mom doing the same thing this morning and my heart just broke into a million pieces for her. I would never in a million years wish this feeling on anyone. The morning after is worse than the actual horrific day in my opinion. It's the day where all your worst worries and fears become an actual reality as the initial shock from the day before wears off and you're now forced to deal with it. I've cried numerous times today just reliving each little detail from my own experience and remembering that pain, feeling that pain again, and then knowing someone else was also feeling that same pain for the first time. Please send your prayers to her, because I know how beneficial they are and how much those prayers carried me through my journey. Actually.. Those prayers are still continuing to carry me along this journey because it's a journey that will last until I join my sweet girl in Heaven.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A New Light

Two months has gone by since I've posted. Since then, we have celebrated sweet Aubrey's first birthday, Avery Kate's second Angelversary in Heaven, and we have moved into our new house. I just have to say, I made it through Aubrey's birthday with flying colors. I was just fine. And the most amazing part of the day was the double rainbow in the sky that afternoon! Multiple people called me and texted me about this rainbow, and how appropriate! A rainbow for my rainbow baby...a double rainbow at that! How beautiful and rare! I was amazed!

Although I made it through her birthday with no tears, the day of her birthday party, my emotions started pouring out. I was so soft-hearted and sensitive that day. I kept tearing up the whole morning while I was getting dressed and getting things ready for the afternoon birthday party. I just kept picturing our little gathering for Avery Kate's first birthday the previous year and how we sent her balloons. It was just a constant reminder that Avery Kate did not have a party like Aubrey was about to have. It made me realize that this was the party Avery Kate was supposed to have last year and instead we all went to the graveyard. That is just not how things are supposed to be. I was just so upset and teary eyed and I walked outside to find a tiny white feather in the driveway. I'm telling you... I lost it right there in the driveway! My baby girl sent me that feather to remind me that she is ok, and that she has the most amazing birthdays each year, birthdays that we can't even begin to imagine. From then on I was much better. It was the most perfect birthday party ever. The theme was "Cute as a Button" which she absolutely was! Aubrey enjoyed her cake and she got to see her family and close friends. I couldn't have asked for anything more, and the best part was that I actually enjoyed it too.
Hallie went on a field trip to the local pumpkin patch in October. She picked pumpkins for herself and Aubrey and then picked out a special one for Avery Kate. My heart is just so touched by this child. We brought it to her grave and once again I'm amazed by the actions of my four year old child.
 
 She always remembers her sister in Heaven and just has the most pure soul. I just can't even put into words how Hallie still connects with her sister on a daily basis. It may sound crazy, but I had posted a while back how a friend told me that if you are thinking about someone in Heaven it's because they are with you at that moment. I always believed it, but it's been confirmed for me since then. Lately, and the most random times, I'll start to think about Avery Kate, sometimes it's a good memory and other times it's a horrible flashback memory of that day she went to Heaven. I never say anything because trust me, I talk enough as it is, I don't need to share every single thought that goes through my head! Anyways, every time I think about her, Hallie will say, "Mom, I miss Avery Kate." Completely out of the blue! And sometimes I'll ask her, "What made you think of her?" And she just says, "I don't know I just miss her." I don't think that's a coincidence at all, so I started telling her that I think it's because Avery Kate is with us so we think about her at the same time. I just think that is so neat. I also believe that Aubrey knows Avery Kate. I've always believed that Avery Kate and PawPaw handpicked Aubrey to send to us because she is just the absolute perfect gift from God. And because I believe this, I believe they knew each other before Aubrey came to Earth. It may be far fetched but that's ok; it makes me smile. Sometimes, Aubrey just looks into the thin air and laughs and smiles and starts having a conversation in her own language. I love to believe that she is talking to her sister. Again, it makes me smile and I'm going with it even if it makes me seem a little crazy :)
October was just a super busy month. We also took family pictures mid-October. This was another tough experience because I just didn't know how I was going to take a true family picture without my sweet Avery Kate. I felt guilty for taking pictures without her because clearly she is part of our family and still part of our every day lives. A friend of mine who also lost her baby shared some ideas from her family pictures and I was at such peace with these ideas. I felt like I was finally able to have my entire family, all three girls, in one picture together. It brings tears to my eyes each time I see these pictures. Thank you to Kimberly Parfait with Parfait Photography for capturing these wondering moments for my family. These pictures mean more to me than you'll ever know.
Here are a few pictures:


 
The last day of October was of course Halloween. The weather was predicted to be horrible so our neighborhood decided to change Halloween to the day prior that way the kids would be able to trick-or-treat and enjoy the night. It was a great night, but I had a lump in my throat the whole time. Every time I looked at my precious Cinderellas I couldn't help but think that there was a Cinderella missing. There should be another sweet Cinderella in that wagon with the girls, there should be three smiling Cinderellas trick-or-treating with us. It's always the hardest holiday for me because it was the only one that we had Avery Kate with us. It's just really tough for me because those memories are still so clear for me and I know what it should be like now, and it's not, never will be. I'll never get to take my three girls for a ride in the wagon to get candy and that reality hits me hard at Halloween. Just another one of those things in life that is simply unfair. And even though I know that and accept it, doesn't mean I like it.


And then the dreaded month of November came. I must say I did a lot better than I thought I would during that dreaded week. I felt a few butterflies in my stomach, had a little anxiety, and I must say dropping Aubrey off at Mrs. Kathy's that Wednesday was really tough. I kept having that feeling that I would never see her again. But I stopped myself, stopped the thoughts, and told myself that I cannot live a life in fear. I can't. It's not healthy and it doesn't help anyone or anything to worry and stress. It's out of our hands anyways, we are not the ones in the driver seat so what good is it to worry? So I calmed down, went to work, and had a great day! The 9th, the actual day was on that Saturday and we went to our friend's house to watch the LSU game. We were surrounded my wonderful, positive people and it just made the day go on without a tear. It helped that we had something to do and had our kids with us too. It's never good to be alone when you're upset, I think it makes things worse so I try to surround myself with positive people as often as possible. It's amazing what a difference that can make in a person's life.
We moved into our new house the following week. That was another tough one. It was so hard to leave the only home where Avery Kate lived. I could look at any inch of our house and have a memory of her. We brought her home from the hospital there, I stayed home with her for 8 weeks in that house, and the list goes on. I remember the way she looked at the living room ceiling fan right before she dosed off to sleep. I remember how she looked around when I took my bath and had her in her little bouncy seat in the bathroom. I remember taking pictures of her, well, in every single room of the house because I'm obsessed with pictures. And then I also have those awful memories that are even painful to type about. I remember buckling Avery Kate into her carseat that November morning. I remember taking her picture, I remember kissing her- never knowing it would be my last. I remember walking into that empty house on the night of November 9. I remember going into her empty room and just crying in her chair. I remember those feelings of disbelief and sadness I felt as I sat in that house. I remember the months that followed in that house as well. I remember the days I sat alone in Avery Kate's room and just soaked up all our memories of changings and feedings in that room. And now..all those memories will stay there, or so I thought. I was so sad about moving, but happy on the other hand because this is a house that Brandon and I built (OK so we picked everything out and someone else did the dirty work, but this was ours). I just couldn't help but think of the new and happy memories we get to make at this new house. This is a good thing. As hard as it was to leave that house, I'm glad we did. We are just loving the new house! I'm just over the moon about the way everything turned out. I feel so lucky and blessed to be here. And now....let the memory making begin! Here is one of my favorite views of the kitchen:
 
Thanksgiving this year was celebrated at our new house! I was so excited to have our first holiday at our new house. It was perfect! I loved having everyone over and having room for everyone to eat and move around. It just made me my heart smile :) Hallie also had a Thanksgiving picnic at her school this year. She was dressed as an Indian for the Thanksgiving feast. She had a necklace around her neck with leaves that had what she was thankful for written on them. This one was my favorite:
Now we are in the month of December and getting ready for Christmas. It's been a busy year this year, but I've still had time to realize a few things. This second year without Avery Kate has been harder than the first year. My first year I was either sick and pregnant or I was focusing on my sweet Aubrey. I realized that since my mind was so occupied with other life events, I never really grieved the loss of Avery Kate the way I should have until now. Now I am realized that my arms are empty again. Aubrey is older and doesn't want to be held. Aubrey really helped me through that first year or so; and in ways I had no idea she could help. It helped me to have that happiness in my life. It helped me to get excited about her first Thanksgiving, her first Christmas, etc. It helped me to get excited about her outfits and bows. All of those baby things that I thought I would never be able to do again, I was doing with Aubrey and it helped me. But now I no longer have a baby. And the reality of never holding Avery Kate again or never celebrating a holiday with her again hurts so bad. All the new exciting "distractions" of my life are no longer "new." I'm forced to face this head on. I do think I handle well and I'm not afraid of my feelings. I still talk about Avery Kate to anyone who will listen. I will never let her memory fade. That little girl has made me who I am today and I am so thankful to have had her in my life; even if it were only for a short time.
I also have a huge milestone that I've accomplished since moving into the new house. I put Aubrey to sleep in her own room. I did it! It only took a year and some change, but I did it! She absolutely loves it and will sleep 13 hours if I let her. I have a video monitor and I watch her alllll night long. It's also been one of those things where I have to stop myself and say, "Brandi... have faith. Don't open your eyes. You can't stare at this monitor all night. It's not healthy. Have faith that God will take care of Aubrey tonight and you get some sleep." Yea so sometimes it works, and other times...well I get all cross eyed staring at the monitor deciphering if Aubrey is really breathing or if it's my eyes moving. Some nights I make my self sick watching it and others I have more faith and I can relax and sleep the entire night. I am very proud of myself and I know it's better for her to be in her own room. It's just another piece of the puzzle and the start to making new, positive memories in our new home.
I bought this sign for our new house a few months back and it finally came in. I think it's the perfect finishing touch to our new home. Here's to a new house, new memories, and a new, positive light on life :)





Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Time Flies

On September 1, we celebrated Avery Kate's 2nd birthday. It was the 2nd time that we all celebrated a beautiful life without the guest of honor. It was the second birthday with no cake, no candles, no presents, and worst of all... No little birthday girl running around my house. How can it be that another year without my sweet girl has passed again. I still remember that amazing day like it was yesterday, and it's a day that I cherish and hold in my heart. It was the day a true angel was born. I am so lucky to have had her in my life, even though it was such a short time. I sure would give anything to have one more day, even one more minute with my baby girl. I miss her so much! This time of year is especially tough because these were the days I was able to share with Avery Kate. The weather, the smells, the pumpkin spice lattes; they all remind me of Avery Kate. Most of the time they make me smile, but every now and then something may bring a tear to my eye.
And now my sweet little Aubrey will turn one year old tomorrow. I'm having the hardest time with this. I have been putting off her party and everything dealing with her birthday and I never truly understood why until this morning. I was trying to explain why it was so tough for me and it hit me. Aubrey is celebrating a day that Avery Kate was never able to do. And the older Aubrey gets, the more of Avery Kate I lose. I feel like as long as she's a baby in my arms, a small piece of Avery Kate is in there. But now Aubrey is getting older and it just makes me grieve Avery Kate that much more. I no longer have a baby in house. It's really tough. I'm actually holding Aubrey in my arms as I type this. I don't want to put her to bed. I don't want her to wake up and be a big girl. How did this year go by so quickly? You know, people always say to cherish those moments when your kids are little because they pass by so fast? I did! I cherished every single moment with this baby girl and it still wasn't enough. You'd think with the advances in technology someone would have figured out how to pause time right? What are these brainiacs doing with their spare time these days?
I also know another great saying that I can swear to be true. "Time flies when you're having fun!" I completely agree and that's the exact reason this year has gone by so quickly. Our family has had some happy times. It's been a great year and I am so thankful that God has sent us these wonderful blessings. Tomorrow morning I plan to wake up with a huge smile on my face and take a million pictures of my happy birthday girl! After all... In our family, a birthday IS a big deal now. We can't take a single one for granted.
Happy 1st Birthday, Aubrey Kathryn Soileau!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Baby Steps

It's been a while since I've updated my blog. July is a very busy month for us and I've had no time to sit and write. We've had family vacation, Hallie's 4th birthday, Brandon and I celebrated our 6th anniversary and also both of our birthdays as well. So needless to say it's been crazy! And during all of this craziness, we have felt Avery Kate with us every step of the way. Brandon and I have noticed little feathers in the strangest places; just a reminder that she is there. Even as I continue to learn my new job, feathers appear. The most comforting time I saw one was at a doctor's office. I was standing in the doctor's office waiting to speak with her and it seemed like it was taking forever! I was getting a little impatient and frustrated when I looked down and right between my feet was a tiny white feather. I quickly scanned the room for anything that would explain this feather, and I found nothing. I took a deep breath, smiled, and realized that there are worse things in life to get frustrated about. The doctor came back to her office to speak with me within that minute. I just thought that was really neat. I've also run into some "bumps in the road" (when it comes to Avery Kate) at work also. I met a nurse practioner who spoke about her daughter who will be 2 in September. She said they took a mom and me dance class together, etc. A huge lump developed in my throat and a numbness came over me. She is the same age as Avery Kate. We could be doing those things together but we never will be able to. Days like that are tough, but I've met some pretty amazing people and I am happy every single day. I have never regretted my decision once, or even second guessed it. I thank Avery Kate for this :) Another hard moment happened just last week. I had been sick for almost two weeks with a sore throat and just being exhausted so I finally decided to go to Urgent Care before work on Monday. The doctor working there was the same doctor from the ER that worked on Avery Kate that day. As I sat in that empty room and waited for him to come in, it took everything I had not to burst into tears. My hands were literally shaking and I kept swallowing that lump in my throat over and over again as that day replayed in my head. Sitting in that room and waiting for him to come in was just like waiting for him in that tiny room almost two years ago. I made it through it though. He apologized for what happened on that awful day and I somehow made it through the entire visit without crying. Now of course the minute I got back into my car, I lost it. It was just so tough to see him again and hear his voice. I hadn't seen or heard his voice since November 2011. Still gives me the chills. He's a great doctor though and I'm glad we were both in good hands.
A lot has also changed with Aubrey.  She has been growing and getting very mobile! She started trying to climb out of her nap nanny (she slept in there every night) so we had to take her out. This caused her to get tangled in her wires at night and it became more of a hazard than a comfort. So I had to take her off the apnea monitor. It was probably one of the hardest things I've had to do lately. I didn't sleep for the first week, and the light on my cell phone blinded her every few seconds. Poor baby! But needless to say, she did just fine. It's moments like this that I realize that I am not in control and I have to trust God and leave it in his hands. She still sleeps in her pack n play beside our bed, and she will probably sleep there until she's a year old. It doesn't bother her, and I just like to have her close by.
Hallie has really been enjoying having her little sister with her at the babysitter every day this summer. She tells me when she's out of food or diapers and lets me know if she cried during the day. She's such a great big sister! I just can't help but imagine how she would have been with Avery Kate for a whole year together at the sitter. She would have loved that; I would have loved that. Now, Hallie will start school in a few weeks and Aubrey will continue to go to the same sitter. We will still go back and visit Honey and Pops since they are forever burned into our hearts, but I will have no children there this year. As for more children....NO WAY! So many people ask me if there will be more babies in our future and the answer is no. I just cant handle those first 6 months again. It was too tough on my heart and my mind, not to mention how horrible my pregnancies are! I think we are all set with our two beautiful girls here with us, and our special guardian angel watching over us from Heaven. Our family is complete. Saying that also makes me really sad and depressed though. I know I've said before how the more Aubrey grows up, the more I feel like I lose a piece of Avery Kate. It's still happening, and the thought of me never holding a sweet little infant of my own again just brings tears to my eyes. It's really hard to know that we are done! But I know in my heart it is the best decision for our family.
I bought Aubrey some new flowers for her grave today. As I walked to the checkout I saw a bunch of feathers for sale. I grabbed a hot pink one to put with her flowers just as another reminder of the angel that she is and that we are never alone on this journey of life. I will add pictures once I go put them out there.
You know I keep thinking it's going to get easier as time passes, but for some reason it just doesn't. My heart longs for her more and more and I miss her more every single day. I guess with our busy summer, I kept wishing she were here with us in person to experience everything, and she wasn't. Maybe that's why she sent us so many feathers. She wants us to know that she is here. :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

DEATH IS NOT THE END

     This has been a really tough week. Heaven gained another sweet angel. Roderick was an awesome little boy who was in my class last year. He was diagnosed with cancer and fought so hard for two long years. He never lost his smile through it all. It's always hard to lose someone to such a brutal disease, but to lose a child.... I'm speechless.

     This entire week I caught myself questioning God. Why? Why do things like this happen? Why should a mother have to go through something so horrible and heart wrenching? Believe me, I know the pain, and I just do not understand why God allows this. Life is just not fair; not fair at all.
     I attended the funeral on Saturday, or as they called it, his celebration of life. I kept glancing at his mother. I knew that pain. I knew how awful it felt to sit in that front row watching your child's lifeless body lie there for all to view. I knew the pain in her smile. I knew the hurt in her eyes. I knew the throbbing of her heart. And it absolutely broke my heart in two. It brought it all back to me. I replayed Avery Kate's funeral numerous times in my head. Again, I'm asking myself, why? This little boy brought so much happiness to me each and every time I saw him. I couldn't bare to see him lying there. I know he is no longer in pain, but it doesn't make it easier. The fact is, he's gone. The fact is, his parents will have to bear that pain for the rest of their lives, the same pain that Brandon and I will continue to bear. Why? Why do these things happen to good people? We sang a song at the "celebration" and as I'm listening to the lyrics, "My God is awesome!" I'm questioning again. Is He really awesome? Is He?  I told Brandon on the way home from the funeral that I know we are supposed to have faith and be positive and trust in God, but on days like today... I am just mad.
     So I have to go to Dallas tomorrow for the week and I know I will be very busy. It's for work, and I decided earlier in the week that I was going to skip church on Sunday and just get some rest and start packing. After the way I was feeling yesterday, I decided that I am truly blessed and God deserves my time so I went. As we drove into the church parking lot, the sign read "Death is not the end." So clearly I thought it was a sign meant for me. The Gospel was about Jesus bringing a woman's son back to life. Of course I'm thinking, "Well he didn't do that for me, and he didn't do that yesterday for Roderick's mother either." It was just hard to hear. Then Fr. Keith began his homily. I think he spoke directly to me! I felt like I was the only one sitting in church and he was speaking to me. He said how God is NOT death. He is LIFE. He does not bring these tragedies to us, he is bringing these people to new life. Of course, I begin to feel a lump in my throat, but still, I'm good. Then he says that it is the hardest when he experiences the death of a child. As he spoke about his experiences with parents losing a child and walking that journey with them, tears started flowing from my eyes. I couldn't stop. I was already so emotional, and now I feel as if he is sharing his story about walking with us every step of the way. From the moments in the hospital until we laid Avery Kate into the ground, Fr. Keith was there. I feel a hand on my shoulder, and Honey's daughter in law is sitting right behind us. I don't think it's a coincidence that we were all there together today. I can't believe I almost missed this. When I left, I just felt emotionally drained...and makeup-less! It was one of the most touching masses I had ever been to. I really needed that!

     I will be gone all week, which means I will be away from my family. Hallie is sooo upset! "I'm gonna miss mom so much AND Avery Kate tooooo!" I know I'm going to miss that little thing too! You know a lot of people feel like they need a break from their kids every now and then, and I can understand why they would feel that way, but I can honestly say that I don't. When I'm not with them, I miss them. Even if it's just for an hour. I know it's probably due to the fact that I have lost a child and I feel like every moment I have with these children on Earth is precious. I am just dreading being away from them for an entire week. I know it's nothing like last time (3 weeks) but I hate that I won't be able to hold my baby girl, Aubrey and I won't be able to cuddle with Hallie. Please pray for my family and for me this week while I'm gone. I can always feel the power of prayer and I know it's what gets me through each day. Also, please pray for Roderick's family. I know the journey they are on and I know prayer is what got me to where I am today. We will never "get over" this, but we can grow in our faith in knowing that Death is NOT the End. We will see our children again!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

As long as I live... you will live

Last Sunday was Mother's Day, a day that I knew would be very tough. Brandon included Avery Kate in my Mother's Day card and that meant the world to me. I guess I tried not to think about her and to be strong and be thankful for the children that I have at home with me, but the truth is, I won't ever be able to not think about her. She is always on my mind....always. I pray to her in my car every day while I'm driving the many miles for work. So many songs on the radio remind me of her, and sometimes I wonder if she sends those songs to me at certain times on purpose. Carrie Underwood sings a song, See You Again. Here are the lyrics:
Said goodbye, turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone
Faded into the setting sun,
Slipped away
But I won’t cry
Cause I know I’ll never be lonely
For you are the stars to me,
You are the light I follow

[Chorus]
I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

I can hear those echoes in the wind at night
Calling me back in time
Back to you
In a place far away
Where the water meets the sky
The thought of it makes me smile
You are my tomorrow

[Chorus]
I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

[Bridge]
Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on cause I know
I’ll see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, yeah yeah

[Outro]
I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again
Till I see you again,
Till I see you again,
Said goodbye turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone.

This song totally explains how I feel about Avery Kate. I know I will see her again, I just wish it was NOW. I hate that I have to wait so long. I get jealous of old people sometimes because I know they'll see her before I will; of course if God allows me to live until I'm old and gray. I tried to explain to Hallie that we will see her again when we go to Heaven and she did not understand. She is little and she kept saying, "But we're going to come right back right?" Sometimes I just can't explain Heaven, it's just too non tangible for words. I can't tell her about Heaven from my own personal experience so it's hard for me.
The other night Hallie started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said that Avery Kate wouldn't answer her. Of course I'm thinking, ummm...does she usually answer you? So I asked her what she asked her. She said, "I just said, Avery Kate are you big now? Are you running around? Are you smiling and laughing up there?" My heart just melted. How does this 3 year old child think of something like this? She remembers her sister, and even when those memories fade, I will keep them alive for her. We talk about Avery Kate every day, sometimes multiple times, but we don't go one day without mentioning her name. Her memory will be kept alive as long as we are alive. We carry her in our hearts all day, every day.
On another note, Aubrey is getting so big! She is 7 months old now. We still use the apnea monitor on her at nighttime. I'm still not ready to relax without it. My biggest fear is that the moment I get comfortable, something terrible will happen and I won't be able to forgive myself for it. I'm just patiently waiting for that day that I just relax, maybe when she's 18? Maybe never..I guess that's the definition of a mother right? I also feel like the older Aubrey gets, the more I lose Avery Kate, or maybe I'm just mourning the things that Avery Kate never got to do? I don't know which it is. I just know when I see Aubrey sitting up and "talking" it breaks my heart. I know Avery Kate never got to do that. Aubrey has her own look now and I guess now that I'm not holding her like a little baby, I feel like I've lost Avery Kate all over again. I felt so much comfort in holding Aubrey as an infant. My arms were so empty and she helped to fill that emptiness. She never replaced Avery Kate or replaced the pain I felt, but she brought joy to my life, a joy that I needed so badly. I am so thankful for her. She is such a breath of fresh air each day. She smiles ALL THE TIME. Aubrey is the happiest baby, and I sometimes wonder if she was handpicked by Avery Kate and sent to us. She's just the absolute perfect baby. Well I am her mother, so I may be a little biased :)
Aubrey did something this week that I've been waiting for for a very long time. She said Mama. I cannot explain how much this means to me. That was one thing that upset me so much when Avery Kate passed away. I never got to hear her say Mama. She did come to me in my dream and say, "I love you, Mama." but I never got to hear those words when she was here with me. When Aubrey said it...my heart...my entire body just beamed with happiness. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I know she was just jabbering, but she said Mama. She said my name. And it meant everything to me. I recorded her on my phone later that day, and I replay it a few times each day. It's just music to my ears.
I know as Aubrey begins to hit those milestones that Avery Kate was never able to meet, I will have my moments. I think it's only normal...right??
I was recently on my computer and came across this video that I made when Avery Kate was born. I look at Hallie; she was just a baby herself. I cannot believe that she remembers her sister, and remembers from her own experiences. I'm just in awe at this amazing little girl. I'm so thankful that she remembers her sister :) Enjoy...
 http://youtu.be/oelF3RvNwOE

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there who have a sweet angel in Heaven. It takes a special person to be the mother of a true Angel :)