Three Years: Gone but Not Forgotten
by Karla ° Monday, April 14, 2008
Three years ago today, I held my daughter in my arms while her tiny body, limp and unmoving, slowly slipped away from me.

I still remember the sensation that overcame me the moment I awoke from my surgery and Mark told me that Ava was going to die. My entire body froze in a position of detached ascension while I watched a distorted reality unfold before my eyes. It was like I was watching myself in the scene of a surreal movie, trapped behind the panning whirr of a camera, embedded, yet oddly distanced from its dramatic long shots, intense pauses and uncomfortable close-ups. And then, just as quickly as the feeling of detachment came, it was gone, and the weight of an unfathomable truth swelled from deep within.

That altered sense of perception continued on and off for several weeks after Ava passed away, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if slipping into a dream sequence and detaching myself from reality was how my body coped - the physical teaming with the psychological on a mission to divide and conquer, load balancing the heart-crushing weight of despair, a temporary place to watch, listen and breath without sinking into oblivion.

It’s been a long time now since I have experienced that dreamlike state of reality. And maybe that’s because I no longer need the shelter. Ava may be gone, but her memory remains as a reflection in every mirror, our lives forever tied and intermingled in a love that can never unravel.

Her departing gift to me lives on as a stronger sense of self. Clarity has been restored with a hefty dose of perspective, and the profoundness of life illuminated by the astonishing fragility of humanity.

Life is so short. Enfold yourself in all its vivid reality, embrace it, feel it, live it.


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You're the bravest and most incredible person I don't know.

Be at peace today. She's always around.

You're in my thoughts today, Karla.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 14, 2008

This poem was written by a Grandpa about his grandson who lived for 24 hours after he was born. The family is close friends with my parents... I have always thought that this is poignantly written and I thought that it could maybe offer you some comfort while you reflect on sweet beautiful Ava. God bless.

To Our Grandson David

Did he die
Before he'd lived?

No - in his day
His single day
He lived a lifetime

Was cradled in a
Lifetime's love

Swaddled in a
Lifetime's warmth

Tossed up by a
Lifetime's storms

Assaulted by a
Lifetime's pain

But dreamed perhaps a
Lifetime's dreams

And passed on
To each of us

A silent legacy
His lifetime's wisdom

That all of us
In all our days
Might also learn

To live a lifetime
In each day.
Posted by Blogger Rita :  April 14, 2008

A beatiful tribute.

Thinking of you...
Posted by Anonymous Kelly :  April 14, 2008

I remember the shock and sadness, and it is rekindled in me today. What you said is so true, and I can't say it better: "Life is so short. Enfold yourself in all its vivid reality, embrace it, feel it, live it."

The older I get the more I realize that truth which you state so well.
Posted by Blogger Anvilcloud :  April 14, 2008

My pleasure.

Happy Birthday Ava, you are in our thoughts.
Posted by Blogger Brandy :  April 14, 2008

Thinking of you & Ava & the rest of your family today, Karla. (((hugs)))
Posted by Blogger loribeth :  April 14, 2008


I have been reading your blog for a year now, and I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you , Mark and Nate on this day.

Eric, and I will be releasing a balloon in honor of Ava today. What a beautiful little girl.

Posted by Blogger Amy :  April 14, 2008

Thinking of you today...
Posted by Blogger Courtney :  April 14, 2008

A sad day. It stinks that life makes us relive the pain on those most horrible days. I grieve with you for a beautiful girl I know only by your stories. I grieve for a family I know only be a screen.

I remember letting a balloon go in a parking lot lat year, in memory of Ava.

You are a brave women.
Posted by Blogger Donna :  April 14, 2008


Thinking of you, Mark, Ava and Nate today. I know she is watching over you and your family she and I believe with all my heart you will be with her again someday.

Boston and I will release 3 beautiful pink balloons today in her memory.

Even though it was short, what a beautiful life spared from the cruelties of this world. She didn't need all of the challenges down here, all she needed was the endless love you gave her. She is simply too perfect for all this.

Hoping you'll feel all of my love, wrapped up into a whispered embrace, around you and Mark and Nate today. May Ava clap her hands and wave to you from heavenly places as she watches the parade of white balloons dance up to her arms and tickle her nose.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.” ~Washington Irving

Much love,
Nicki in NC

You are in my thoughts today Karla. I had Jack send Ava a pretty princess balloon this morning. *hugs*
Posted by Blogger Cheryl :  April 14, 2008

Blessings to you today, Karla. I remember that dreamlike state - I went through the same thing after Matthew.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  April 14, 2008

I often think about you guys but I did moreso today.

Love to you x

Choking up with gratitude over here. Thank you all for your kindness.
Posted by Blogger karla :  April 14, 2008

Karla, I can't tell you how much I admire you. You and Mark have lived through every parent's worst nightmare and survived. Just trying to imagine the unimaginable pain brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for your kindness, your courage, and your strength to share your experiences with the world.

Thinking of you today.
Posted by Anonymous Fawn :  April 14, 2008

I have been thinking of you and your beautiful family. May you have nothing but peace and love during the rest of your journey here on earth until you see your beautiful angel again.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Ava. You are sadly missed not just by your parents, but by those of us who know your sweet face.

Thinking of you and your precious baby Ava today and always.
There were three beautiful balloons released over the solent today in memory of a beautiful little girl.
Love to you and Mark today.
Tabitha X
Posted by Blogger Tabitha :  April 14, 2008

I will light a candle in your honor today Ava and let it burn all day in rememberence of you. You are an angel in heaven, looking down upon your mom and dad, smiling, knowing how lucky you are to be loved and missed so much. Knowing that one day, you will meet again. Happy Birthday Ava.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 14, 2008

Sending my love to you all.
Always in my thoughts.

Amanda x
Posted by Anonymous Amanda McMahon :  April 14, 2008

Thinking of you today....
Posted by Blogger Candi :  April 14, 2008

You, Mark, Ava and Nate are in my thoughts.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 14, 2008

Beautiful - you, her, your family, your tribute. I am so glad you have pictures of Ava and of you and your husband with her. My thoughts are with you.
Posted by Blogger AudreyC :  April 14, 2008

Thinking of you today. {{hugs}}
Posted by Blogger Megan :  April 14, 2008

Karla, you have the most beautiful self I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Blessings on you and yours, sweet friend.
Posted by Blogger Amanda :  April 14, 2008

ohmigosh. what a beautiful post. {hugs}
Posted by Blogger Ali :  April 14, 2008

Thinking of you and your beautiful Ava
Posted by Blogger Pgoodness :  April 14, 2008

It's hard to believe it's been three years already. I still remember the shock of finding out like it was yesterday. You have come an incredibly long way since then.

I don't remember seeing that picture before. Ava is definitely one gorgeous baby. Babies are always the most beautiful, wonderful miracles on their first day of life, and she gets to keep that beauty forever and ever.
Posted by Blogger Christi :  April 14, 2008

i just wanted to let you know that i was thinking of you and your family... ava was a precious baby girl.
hugs and prayers,
dani (us:ky)
Posted by Blogger dani :  April 14, 2008

My thoughts are with you today.
Posted by Anonymous canadiantania :  April 14, 2008

It's amazing how much of a legacy your sweet Ava created in her time on earth, both in your hearts and the hearts of everyone who has read her story.
Posted by Blogger Azul :  April 14, 2008

My thoughts are with you today.
Posted by Blogger Blogversary :  April 14, 2008

I first began reading your blog just afterwards... I happened upon you by accident.... I did a blog search on my daughter's birthday (April 13, 2000)

I can't possibly imagine the depth of your loss, but I have always found the strength displayed in your writing to be admirable.

I wish you and yours nothing but happiness.
Posted by Blogger The Bizza :  April 15, 2008

Ava is BEAUTIFUL! That picture is amazing. I LOVE that you are SO open and truthful with your life on your blog. Sharing this anniversary with us all is so special. Also I love that poem that "rite" shared. So special.
You are a wonderful woman and mother, it shows through your words!
Posted by Blogger Kaili :  April 15, 2008

Hi Karla,
I am thinking and praying for you, Mark, Ava, and Nate today as I do every April 14th.

Sending lots of hugs from NB..

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 15, 2008

You and your family, and especially Ava, have been an inspiration to me in so many unexplainable ways.

A candle is burning for Ava on my desk, in front of me, right now.

Posted by Anonymous Kristin :  April 15, 2008

I remember the day. Your sadness still overcomes me. Ava will always be very special to so many people! You and Mark are in my thoughts and prayers today!
Posted by Blogger Brandi1977 :  April 15, 2008

Ava's story makes me want to be a better person, a better mother. Your blog is one of the most powerful I've ever read.
Posted by Blogger joyce :  April 15, 2008

You are in our prayers.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 15, 2008

Karla, I wasn't reading you when this tragedy happened, but have enjoyed reading you since. It's so terrible that you lost her, but your strength and wisdom shine through - because of her? Or despite the sadness? I have a lot to learn still.
Posted by OpenID wherewiller :  April 15, 2008

The power of the Internet and all its soul healing unity continues to amaze me.

Thank you, all, for your kind words and thoughts. I am so humbled to be amongst such a caring group of people.
Posted by Blogger karla :  April 15, 2008

Thinking of you always.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 15, 2008


I am thinking of you today. I don't even know that I have words to express how sorry I am that you or any mother must experience this kind of pain.

Huge hugs and a beautiful tribute to your beautiful and ever present daughter.
Posted by Blogger Tiffany Rose :  April 16, 2008

I cannot fathom what you have experienced.

All I can offer is hugs and prayers.

Posted by Anonymous Angella :  April 16, 2008

((((teary hugs))))
Posted by Anonymous uumomma :  April 16, 2008

Prayers, thoughts and hugs coming your way!

Thank you for being so open about Ava and for sharing her with us.

You are an amazing woman!
Posted by Blogger Jessica :  April 16, 2008

What a beautiful post. Thank you for allowing me to regroup and remember what is important. I am raising two young girls with a terminally ill husband. You are in my thoughts.
Posted by Blogger Kim/2 Kids :  April 16, 2008

I couldn't comment at the time, but know that I was thinking of all of you. And as always, so impressed with your grace and courage.
Posted by Blogger Gina :  April 16, 2008

You truly are an amazing person. The post was beautiful and I think it is wonderful that you let the balloons go. I do think of your story every time I see one in the sky.
Posted by Blogger Steph :  April 16, 2008

Everytime I read a post about Ava I begin to cry for people Ive never met, never spoken to.

Its amazing how one person can hold so much love and pain inside themselves.

You are a good mother.
Posted by Blogger Tachaé :  April 16, 2008

So beautiful are you. And little Ava.
I can't imagine the loss of a child, but I can imagine how loved she must have felt, and must still feel.

Peace and hugs to you and yours.

I have tears in my eyes. *HUG* Thank you for that post. *HUG*

Karla and family, I don't have to tell you how lucky you were to have that beautiful little girl for the time you did, but I think you need to know that Ava must feel so lucky to have a family who honors her memory so well. In her eternal journey through time and space; I am certain that she feels that love. My heart goes out to you. May peace and love live on in your heart.
Posted by Anonymous Chrissy :  April 18, 2008

someone told me once that sometimes a soul had such a terrible time in a previous life that it just needs to come back for a short time - to be loved unconditionally, and nurtured, and to experience those emotions it didn't recieve previously, to heal. Maybe you were that loving thoughtful vessel that she needed. My thoughts are with you.

I can not believe it has been three years. Ava is beautiful and you are an amazing woman.
Posted by Blogger TBG :  April 19, 2008

You and beautiful Ava are in my thoughts.
Posted by Blogger Kristin :  April 20, 2008

Karla, you're a very brave mom and person deep down. Your daughter will always be remembered. Memories are treasure, and should be kept in the most beautiful way that one should recall. Without tears, without fears, but only smiles that one can understand, and nobody else. We all send our loves to you:). Congrats on having Nathan, he's so gorgeous and have the blue-est eyes I've ever seen.
Posted by Anonymous Ally :  July 30, 2008


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