I couldn't shake it though. As Aviana and I sat and stared deeply into each other's eyes, my holdback finally broke. I lowered myself closer to her and whispered, "Baby, is Kama coming back for you? Tell me, are you waiting to join her on the 26th? Is this your plan?"
I always took great comfort in the thought of the two of them being reunited, but this deep down early feeling took hold of me in an unexplainable way. I fully understood the magnitude of just how much extra peace this would bring us. With this vision tucked away, I held Aviana tight and cried - both sad and happy tears.
At the time, the possibility was much too far off in the distance. I wanted to put the very same amount of space between this notion, and the remainder of my brain. I couldn't get my hopes up.
In one of our earliest Hospice meetings, our doctor gave examples of what the very end of life was like. He spoke of some people having visions of their dogs coming back for them. I lost it. The tears weren't the rolling kind, but were of the unstoppable spilling variety. Every thought of just how close these two were flooded my head and heart at the very same time. I had to leave the table for a moment. I could barely breathe, see, speak - anything. This newly colored mental picture, coupled with my previous inkling, all became too much to bear! I was about to collapse. Face meet floor. Floor meet face!
We soon spoke to our Hospice nurse and social worker. In reveling our thoughts about our two girls, it became clear. It seemed like a pipe dream that would likely go up in smoke. We didn't think Aviana could make it that long because she had decided to stop eating altogether.
The days continued on though. Aviana was focused, alert and attentive. We continued in loving her, reading, taking her on walks, to the park, and so forth.
About three days prior to her death, it was apparent - we should never have doubted her. When Aviana sets her mind on something, she accomplishes it. Aviana was always methodical in everything she did. If she was opening a Christmas present, watching cartoons, doing a puzzle, or getting dressed… methodical. She always put great attention and detail into everything. She was the most determined little soul. As you all know, she was tough too. She showed every one of her truest qualities, especially in her last days.
On the morning of the 25th, her 15th day without, she didn't fully wake. We knew she was finally making her transition. She was calm and peaceful, just as she had been the entire time. This was also the very first day we stayed in bed with her. We cycled through her books - all into the night.
Because she doesn't like anyone sleeping with her, we understood the reality of what was to come. We said goodnight to her at about 10:30. We kissed her goodnight, and what we knew was goodbye. It was one of the hardest moments of our entire lives.
At about 1:45am I couldn't take it anymore. I had to check on her. If she had already passed, I couldn't handle the thought of leaving her until morning!! I talked to Dave and he agreed.
I went in and her breathing had changed a little. I crawled into bed with her. I kissed her head, hugged her, and told her she made it! It was the 26th. I knew I wasn't telling her anything she didn't already know. I told her how much we loved her and how proud I was of her. I told her how I've never met anyone like her, and never will. I told her how there was so much I just didn't understand before I met her, but especially before the accident. I explained that I wouldn't trade one moment of the last 4 years for anything. I thanked her for being here and all she had taught me, especially after the accident. I told her I would never stop learning from her, and I would do my best to continue to share her. I tried so hard not to cry as I told her how much we would miss her, but how I would smile as I thought of her and Kama running and playing just as they used to!
I laid with her for a couple more minutes in silence, but I knew, as much I so badly wanted to stay wrapped up with her, I had to leave - for her.
I snuck in there one more time after 2am. A calm came over me. The last thing I said to her was that we were okay. I said it was her time to be with Kama. I told her how much we loved her and kissed her goodnight and goodbye, one last time.
I went in again at about 5:50am and she was gone. Our baby was gone. I didn't cry. I felt an overwhelming peace. I crawled back onto our bed with Dave and slowly woke him up. I whispered to him, "Honey, she's gone."
Our girls were both 7 years old, and joined each other on the very same day - 3 years apart.
November 16 ~ October 26
August 16 ~ October 26
Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell
among the wonders of the earth;
for my larger self is free,
and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain -
on the other side of darkness.
Do not weep for me,
for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin,
a tropical breeze upon your face,
the hush of joy within your heart.
I am the hope in a darkened night.
And in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you.
I will share your tears, your joys, your fears,
your disappointments and your triumphs.
Do not weep for me, for I am with you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers.
I am the calm that follows a raging storm.
I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God,
and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.
Do not weep for me, for I shall never die,
as long as you remember me…
with a smile and a sigh.
~ Joe Fazio - adapted