We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thank You Aviana

After Trina's funeral Beya and I vowed to never go to another funeral ever again. Norm's grandma died over the summer and although Norm and Papa went to the service, mom and I just couldn't bring ourselves to go. 

When Aviana died mom and I briefly thought of going to the memorial service but decided we just couldn't do it. Even though we weren't going to attend I still asked Jen to keep me in the loop as to when and where it would be. 

As the days passed I could tell mom was having second thoughts about not going. We talked about going to see Jen and Dave a few weeks after the service, the day after the service or a month after the service. You name it, we thought of it but it was always after the service. The closer the time came the more I could tell mom was being pulled into the direction of attending. We discussed it between ourselves. We discussed it with our therapist. I discussed it with my psychiatrist. They all said the same thing; there is no right answer, only our answer. I thought about it long and hard and after talking to Jen and countless conversations between Beya and I, we decided to attend Aviana's memorial service.  

I'll let Jen describe it when she's ready to but suffice to say it was filled with love. 

I'm grateful that we were able to see Jen, Dave and Aviana (and Rainey) both before and after Aviana left this earth. 

This was taken at lunch the first time we met the Hodder family. We went to lunch in Seattle (they were just passing through to a wedding) along with Dave's sweet sister Dinah. Asa and Valentina piled as many things as they possibly could onto poor, defenseless Aviana. I'm sure she hated every item but she was a good sport about it. 

Valentina trying to explain to Aviana why THIS doll was different than the 8,424 she already had.

After lunch. I love how papa is in this picture too. 

Jen and Dave were so kind and gracious to answer all the questions Asa and Valentina had about Aviana's injury with honesty and humor and never once avoiding a question, no matter how hard or blunt it was. You can see Asa was in big brother mode by keeping an eye on Avi.  

Here is proof Beya was there too. 

A year and a half ago we happened to be in their neighborhood and stopped by to say hi. Mom just couldn't wait to hold Aviana. I'm no expert but it seemed to be a one way street. 

The evening of the memorial service Jen and Dave took mom and I to a great Thai place where Jen requested a giant fork to eat with. You can't really tell but the fork she had was at least three times bigger than a normal fork. 

I didn't even think of having someone take a photo of all of us so Dave could be in the picture too but instead he was stuck being the photographer. 

All in all I can honestly say that I do not regret going to Aviana's memorial service. To those of you who haven't had the opportunity to meet Jen I can tell you that the love and sweetness that comes through her blog from her musings is exactly how she is in real life, as well as her humor and forgetfulness. Whether on her blog, on the phone or in person, honesty is the only thing Jen asks for and it is what she values most. Honesty, love and kindness is who she is. She is truly one of my best friends. 

And none of this would have happened had it not been for that horrible accident. I wish like hell it hadn't happened, that we never would have met, that Aviana would have been ok, that she wouldn't have died, that our lives would have never intersected. 

But they did. 

And Aviana, both as a person and through her mom, has made my life better for having known her family. I know that sounds cheesy when you say it.

But think about it.

Really think about it.

Who in your life has made you think "holy crap, that person is really wise. I understand their point of view and I never would have had they not expressed their real emotions and feelings" or "I never thought of life like that. I have a really shitty view of life. I need to be more sympathetic and forgiving in my own life" or "I never would have thought of things like that had it not been for this person opening my eyes to it this way." How many times and how many people do YOU have in your life that are able to, without judgement and scorn, have you see things from their point of view even though it's a total 180 from your own? Jen has a gift of being able to do that with loving words and kind, giving actions. She has never once lectured me. She has never once argued with me. She has never once told me I was wrong. She has, 100% of the time lived her life by example and with her eloquent, and almost hypnotic, words.

All of this from being the best mom to one very special girl, Aviana.

Thank you Aviana, for letting your mom talk for you.

Thank you for letting us watch your journey.

Thank you for letting us mourn the extreme disservice this life has done by taking you much too early.

Thank you for making my life better.

Thank you for the ripple effect you have had on the world.

Thank you for letting us use our bodies to do good when you couldn't.

Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Thank you.