Almost Two Years
by Karla ° Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The anniversary of Ava’s death is fast approaching. On April 14th, Ava would have been turning two. TWO. It’s been almost two heart wrenching years of trying to come to terms with her death.

The crazy thing is, I never have come to terms with it. In a vague sense I guess I have in order to pick up the pieces and move on, but deep down, I haven’t been able to find that soft and cushy place that would allow me to put things to rest. Some days it still gets to me and I have to stop whatever I am doing and focus with all my might to try and not let the seething anger and hurt bring me down. And sometimes no matter how hard I try, all I can do is place my face in my hands and cry.

To this day I have a really hard time going through her memory box. Opening the lid is like slowly peeling the band-aid off a raw wound and I have to practice deep breathing and mentally prepare myself before I do it.

I ventured there this morning. And now I am a blubbering mess of tears and snot.

The first thing you see when you lift the lid to her memory box are the delicate casts of her feet and hands. Her feet were 3¼” long. Beside those are her ashes. And on top of her ashes is the purple knit hat she wore to keep her perfect little baby head warm. The hat is still slightly stained with the meconium that filled her lungs and deprived her of oxygen for so long. Her ashes remain in an oval wooden container. We had originally purchased a tiny music box that played “You are so beautiful” to store her ashes in, but it wasn’t big enough and I have never been able to find the strength to venture to that deep dark place of shopping for an urn for her again. Sometimes I need to open the wooden box and look at her ashes to make sure I’m not stuck in a horrible nightmare. It makes my lips quiver and my whole body tremble to think that is all that is left of the life I carried inside of me for nine months.

Shortly after Ava died, my husband and I fled to the Rocky Mountains in search of solace and peace amongst the magnificence of mountains. There, I found a card for her that reads:


Sound Asleep in Lullaby Dreams,
Among Silver Clouds and Sunbeams


I have kept everything I possibly could to remember her by, including a list of all the cities around the world that released balloons for Ava on the day of her funeral. My last post on that baby blog and the huge show of support from people from so many different nooks and crannies of the planet was one of the greatest sources of strength for me during those early days of mourning and as her two year anniversary approaches, I can’t help but reminisce over all of the kindness, empathy and compassion that people I have never met shared with me.

That worldly connection has never stopped growing. And I know I have said this before, but I truly believe that each of us represents a thread on the tapestry of humanity and that we are all carefully woven and interconnected in an intricate blueprint of strength and survival.

So thank you for the strength.

Because some days, I don’t know how I would go on without it.

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Comments:


I'm not sure a parent ever comes to terms with the loss of a child. I think the most important thing is making sure it won't affect little naters life. When my dad died my grams fell apart so bad she made her other kids feel less important. However knowing how amazing you are I know that you will never do this, instead showering nater with all the love and emotion you can. when he is older you can tell him stories about his big sister and when he is affraid of the boogy man at night you can tell him how safe he is because he has his own big sister angel. He will feel so special and loved.

Here is one thing I do know. After my dad died, I would always go through his box of things and cry and then wonder why I opened the damn box to begin with, however, as the years passed, I opened it less and less and instead concetrated on the happy memories, rather then the memories related to death. Eventually it gets easier. It has only been 2 years though, you can't expect for it to be easy yet or even go away all the way. In 10 years you will still have bad days, but they will be fewer and far between. Take care, hon and keep your head up. Maybe you could show little Nate Avas video while he is having belly time. then he could start to learn about her now and find comfert in her now and you can enjoy telling him all about your amazing little girl.
 

THE MOMMY TEST
I was out walking with my 4 year old daughter. She picked
up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.

Why?" my daughter asked.

Because it's been on the ground, you don't know where
it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs" I replied.
At this point, my daughter looked at me with total
admiration and asked,
"Mommy, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart."

I was thinking quickly. "All moms know this stuff. It's on
the Mommy Test.
You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Mommy."

We walked long in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was
evidently pondering this new information. "OH...I get it!" she
beamed, "So if you don't pass the test you have to be the daddy."

"Exactly" I replied back with a big smile on my face.

When you're finished laughing, send this to a Mom.
 

I cannot begin to imagine the depth or magnitude of that pain. There is one scene of your video for Ava that burned itself into my memory when I saw it, and it makes me cry for you every time I think about it because for that moment, I can fathom a fraction of your pain and your loss. I'm praying for you right now.
Posted by Anonymous Jezer :  March 28, 2007
 

Karla, hang in there. Time will heal the wounds, eventually. I will be honest and say I couldn't read this entire post with my wife at 21 weeks, but I wish you the best. Take care.
Posted by Blogger egan :  March 28, 2007
 

I think you have done a wonderful job of both keeping Ava's memory alive and also moving forward and embracing life with Nate. I cannot fathom your loss and my heart cracks each time I hear you write of your pain. I think it's good to reflect and mourn, even if it takes a lifetime, because that's how we heal.
You are an amazing woman, Karla.
Posted by Anonymous Amanda :  March 28, 2007
 

I have never met you Karla, except through your blog.

I love reading your blog because its something that is raw hurt, honesty, humor, love and true happiness .
I am usually a cold hearted person who ignores alot of things, but when I read your posts I am brought to a mass of tears.

You share in such a way it makes me believe there are good things, you just have to look for them.

She's always with you.
Posted by Blogger Tachae :  March 28, 2007
 

I honestly can't imgaine the pain you must feel with losing a child. It must take amazing strength to write it all down and I admire your willingness to be so open and honest about it.
Posted by Blogger Amber :  March 28, 2007
 

I began reading this blog because of a link to your last post on your baby blog sombody sent me one day. I cant imagine how hard the last two years must have been for you. I think you are a very strong pearson. You have done a wonderfull job getting through all this. I hope as time goes on things get easier for you. You will never forget Ava but hopfully her memmory wont be so painfull one day.
Posted by Anonymous Heather :  March 28, 2007
 

Karla,

I cannot remember how I was led to your previous blog, but I can say that it has grasped me from the moment I first read of your journey through pregnancy and then your overwhelming loss of Ava.

I cannot begin to fathom your pain. In my worst nightmares, I catch a glimpse and it terrifies me. When my son was younger, it took all I could to leave him while I went to work - I was so sure that something terrible would happen while I was away.

I can imagine letting my nightmares freeze me and take me out of the land of the living simply for the fear of "what if?"

You have lived through any mother's worst nightmare. And you have honored Ava's memory each and every day. And now, you have honored Nate each day just by the act of loving him. Worrying for him and maybe occasionally dripping tears and snot on him.

I contract with our local hospital to take portraits of the little ones that don't make it. Your blog has helped me to understand how valuable those memories are. And how a tangible item - a hat, a photo, an impossibly tiny urn - can sometimes be the only thing that keeps you hanging on.

So thank you for being willing to share your heart. Other people gain from your openess. And we're all pulling for you and Mark and Nate.
Posted by Anonymous Amy :  March 28, 2007
 

I think you are an amazing person. What you have gone through I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. My heart aches everyday on April 14th, as it is a very important day for me.. my son was born the same day as Ava.

I cried when the day I opened your blog and read what had happened. My heart broke into a million pieces for you that day. I still get tears just thinking about what you've gone through.

Each April 14th I think of Ava and release a balloon into the air in her memory, and I know for a fact that as long as I'm living I will think of her on the day she was born.
Posted by Blogger Melanie :  March 28, 2007
 

Karla,

You are an amazing woman and mother. You have more strength than I could ever imagine having. You have been through the worst this world can offer but I can only hope you are now experiencing some of the best with little Nate.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. My thoughts are with you and your beautiful family.
Posted by Anonymous andrea :  March 28, 2007
 

I wish I could say what ever you need to hear, I wish I knew what to say - I don't.
But I loves ya - and Ava, and am so glad you choose to share...
Posted by Blogger Queue :  March 28, 2007
 

Children touch our lives no matter how long or short a time they were with us. I'm so sorry she can't be with you now.
 

You certainly honour your daughter here every day. And I don't think that there is much possibility of "coming to terms" with the death of your child (and as a side note, I am not sure I want to). I think that the best we can hope for is to live a life that is as full as possible, but for the large missing piece. I hope that you find moments of peaceful remembrance in these difficult days leading up to Ava's birthday. I am starting to realize that, no matter how much time passes, it is never easy.
Posted by Blogger delphi :  March 28, 2007
 

Karla...
just wanted to let you know that I read your blog, enjoy your posts, and felt your pain in your words... My Mother just lost her daughter in January and the pain that is felt there must be unimaginable. I know I fear it everyday, and every night when I go to sleep, Did I kiss everyone enough? Did I love everyone enough today?
If I had known you 2 years ago, there would've been a balloon floating up to the heavens from our house to Ava's front door... Keep the strength, you're an amazing woman & Mommy...
Posted by Anonymous Jessica :  March 28, 2007
 

Karla,

I am so sorry that you have had to go through the loss of Ava. Please know that you, Mark and little Nate are in my thoughts.

I started reading your blog about 3 months before Ava died. The day I read that last post, my heart broke for you. I wrote about you in my blog today. I hope you don't mind. If you would rather I didn't, please email me and I will remove the post immediately. I don't want to cause any more pain for you.

Cate
cateslife@gmail.com
Posted by Blogger Cate :  March 28, 2007
 

Just want you to know that I was here.
Posted by Blogger Linda :  March 28, 2007
 

You are so good with words. We've all said it so many times. It's just so true. My heart has ached for you and rejoiced with you so many times, and here I am again, aching with you. You deserve much happiness. I'm so sorry for all the sadness you have and still do experience.
Kiss that baby boy! :)
Posted by Blogger Amy :  March 28, 2007
 

You made me tear up all over again, Karla, and so I should. I remember the balloons though, even though that makes me tear up too. The silver lining (that doesn't sound right because there is really nothing silvery about it, but I trust you understand what I mean) is that I'm pretty sure that Ava is loved all the more.
Posted by Blogger Anvilcloud :  March 28, 2007
 

I am so sorry for what you have lost, but I am so happy for what you have. Nate is a beautiful baby, who will give you the strength to carry on.
Posted by Blogger Christy :  March 28, 2007
 

Tonight before I put my two year old to bed I told him the short story of his big brother. I told him about him being in heaven and watching all of us. Most of the time I was talking I was crying.

It has been three and a half years since my angel passed away.

Every once and a while I burst into tears for no reason. One day in class I started crying because of something my professor said and I had to leave class.

Just know that you are not alone.
Posted by Blogger Hedda :  March 28, 2007
 

Ava is still in my thoughts always too Karla :( I'll never forget the day I sat stunned and read that post.

We still let off balloons for Ava, and will forever more.

http://macleodzoo.blogspot.com/2005/04/sometimes-its-just-not-fair.html
Posted by Anonymous Leanne :  March 28, 2007
 

What a touching and heartfelt post. I'm sure it left many of us (like me) on the verge of tears.

Oddly enough, I've taken exactly the opposite approach to the loss of my twins (one stillborn, one dying shortly after birth). I don't have a memory box. I didn't keep anything physical that would remind me of them. But still, sometimes, it seems that, like you, I'll never truly come to terms with my loss.
Posted by Blogger niobe :  March 29, 2007
 

I simply cannot fathom how the pain could ever go away. You are so incredibly strong, many marriages, I am sure you were told, fail after this kind of loss. To see that you were able to turn to each other, move forward and create with that love and devotion your sweet little Nate. I hope that as we visit and read your words and leave our comments you will feel the continued collective embrace of all the poeple who's hearts you've touched and who would do anything to ease your pain.
Posted by Blogger Amanda :  March 29, 2007
 

The loss of a child is never easy. I haven't lost my own child, but I was 8 when my mom lost my little brother. I remember being so damn excited at the thought of having a sibling and even more excited knowing that it was going to be a boy. I loved feeling him kick watching him get the hiccups. Unlike you though, my mom didn't have a good pregnancy. She had no amniotic fluid and ended up being put on bed rest when she was 5 months a long. There are many other factors that play into all this, but I won't go there. All I know is that my mom when into labor at 7 months. I was taken to a friend of the families house where I stayed the night. My little brother was born, lived for 8 hours and then died. The doctors said if he would have been a girl, he probably would have made it for the simple fact his lungs weren't fully developed and girls develop faster than boys.

I remember the lady I was staying with got the call and told me what had happened. I remember saying, "Oh ok," and walking to the bus stop. I was 8 and had no idea how much it would affect my life. The lady picked me up from the bus stop and wouldn't let me go to school. The next few days were so tough. My mom was an absolute mess and for years blamed herself for what had happened. My dad just keeps everything to himself. And for a long time, I just didn't understant.

My brother would have been 17 March 6. It is something that I think about all the time and his birthday is one that I will never forget. The pain does fade, but there are always hard times. My mom still gets super emotional around the time he was born and holidays.

Rest assured that it will get easier, but the memories will never go away. She will always be in your heart, thoughts, memories, prayers. She will always be with you. I am sorry for your loss. I don't know exactly how you feel, but I can relate.
Posted by Blogger Stephanie :  March 29, 2007
 

Oh gosh, Karla. My heart breaks every time you post about Ava. You are such a strong and amazing woman as well as a loving mother of two beautiful children. Ava would be so proud of you and Nate, too, when he gets older.
Posted by Anonymous Keri :  March 29, 2007
 

Here is the thing. I only know you through your blog. I know that the death of child far surpasses any grief I have felt for my friends dying 13 years ago. But, grief is hard, personal, and long. It effects you in ways you never thought possible and it will always. You are forever changed. These are things I learned from my friend's, Jeff, mom. There will always be a hole in your heart. You will love others more deeply. Funny, that deep hole allows us to love in ways we never thought possible. You are in my prayers these next few weeks because I know it will be hard.
Posted by Blogger Day :  March 29, 2007
 

I'm just so sorry, Karla. There are no words; I'm just so damned sorry you have to EVER experience this pain.
Posted by Blogger B :  March 29, 2007
 

I'm so happy that I could be there for you in even the tiny way that I was and am. You've also been there for me, too. As completely crushed as I am about Ava and the pain you've all suffered, at the same time, it reminds me to be thankful and always mindful of the fortune that I am so grateful to be able to have in my life. I wish it hadn't taken a loss so great for someone else to be the catalyst for me to make my life better and appreciate what I have, but I am glad that it forced me to take that look at myself and my life. So thank you.
Posted by Blogger Christi :  March 30, 2007
 

Wow I can not believe it has been two years!

Ava is so lucky to have you and Mark for parents her memory will always live because of you.

I know I will never forget her and her beautiful face!
Posted by Blogger TBG :  April 01, 2007
 

I am another internet stranger that has stumbled upon your blog and have been inspired by your story. Every post about Ava and Nate remind me just how precious live is!
Posted by Blogger Stacey :  April 01, 2007
 

There are no words...

*hugs*
Posted by Blogger Poppy :  April 01, 2007
 

Karla - I am a recently married twenty-something who has been lurking on your blog for several months but never had the guts to say anything. I think I thought that sending you loving thoughts and strength and well wishes from Nevada would be enough. It's not anymore, though. Not for me.

I just wanted to say that I admire you and your husband - your incredible strength, your ability to pick yourself up as best you can after that terrible tragedy that was Ava's death and carry hope for the future...now found in the form of sweet Baby Nate. He is a precious gift and you are a talented writer. You didn't have to share what you've shared with the Internet, but because you have, I thank you. It seems you've found strenth and healing from the process and that is also a precious gift! I've spent many hours reading your blog - now and then - and I've shed many tears for you. Though I don't have any children of my own yet, I think that "mother's instinct" made me grieve for you. With you. But I've felt joy, too, reading about your happiness with your sweet, supportive husband and gorgeous little boy.

Someone I know lost her baby girls - twins - when she was 5 months along. She lost them the day after my wedding. She started feeling "not right" at my post-wedding brunch. I don't know if I'll ever stop feeling guilty for her loss, even though I know it was not my fault. She will always associate my happiest day with her most devastating day. And today, she's holed herself up and I have never figured out how to help. She won't let anyone in.

My cousin, yesterday, gave birth to a sweet baby girl - she is healthy and beautiful and has given her and her husband hope, just like Nate has given you hope. My cousin lost her little boy in her third trimester. Her little girl is a precious gift!

I'm not sure why I'm sharing all this. Maybe just so you will know, as I know many people on this blog have helped teach you, that you are not alone. People across the globe - with or without children - can relate to what you've been through. And as April 14th approaches, we're sending you more strength than ever before. Hang in there.
Posted by Blogger Megan :  April 04, 2007
 

Sobbing all over again. Sigh.
Posted by Blogger Jaime :  January 05, 2008
 


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