Monday, March 31, 2014

Saying Goodbye

My mom and Gary were keeping busy getting ready for their trip. We knew there were still a few things to talk about before they left. I felt the nerves creeping once again. Who wants to continually have conversations in this same vein? By this point, I felt I'd had my fair share for years to come. I wanted to just keep my mouth closed and take in what life was left. The few remaining details screamed loudest and largest though. Our hope was to keep them short and sweet.

My mom was over, so I weaved some of what was left into our conversation, "If something should happen to Aviana while you are away, what should we do?" The answer she started with wasn't what I expected. She began telling me how to handle Aviana. The tape in my head repeated, "say what you mean, mean what you say." I half smiled and quickly rephrased my question, "I didn't mean the details of Aviana. What I mean is, how should we handle you and Gary?" My heart stopped in anticipation. Not because she didn't answer, but because of the question I had to ask, and the response she was cycling through to come up with. 

As I waited, I was rushed by all the moments, which brought us to this very one. We three sat on the couch - mother, daughter, granddaughter. We were talking so naturally, but yet suddenly, about something so unnatural - losing a child. Those were the most, and least, of my thoughts in the few moments it took for her to say, "We would want to know right away." She then asked how my Uncle Roger answered? I told her he also wanted to know immediately.


(This part can't be written without too many tears to count)

Staggered and a few days before they left, my mom and Gary, and my Uncle Roger came to our house. We tried to keep the visits as normal as possible. If my memory serves me correct, we didn't act as though this may be the very last time they were ever to see Aviana. We honestly didn't know for sure, but I believe we all had a good idea. By then, Aviana was consistently refusing 1-2 meals a day. She had also lost a decent amount of weight.

I think we'd all had enough heavy, because we tried to keep the conversations light. They spent their time hugging and loving on Aviana. I'd catch my mind wandering, sometimes capturing mental pictures of the two, or three of them together. I imagine we all experienced some of the same. By now, our behavior became an unspoken agreement in keeping it to ourselves. We all knew where we stood and the direction each was heading. With the seconds counting down, I think it was easier for all of us to act in this manner.

 I'll never know which was hardest - seeing them tell Aviana they love her and kiss her one last time or watching them walk away, and then scooping her up afterwards? I guess both were equally difficult. 

All I know for sure is - each time that door shut, I held Aviana and cried like a baby.


  1. So raw and tender, and beautiful.

  2. No words, just love and lots of hugs.
    cindy in nc

  3. I love you. I can't imagine. I'm so sorry. I am so proud of you and Dave, you are two of the strongest, loving, funniest, heart strings tugging PAIR I've ever met. I mean that in every way possible. You guys are such a solid team and I am proud of not just what you did but what you do now. I love you.

  4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. For you, Dave, and ALL your family that has been affected by this. It is sometimes hard to remember how many other family members are grieving, beyond the parents. Your entire family and how you all have handled this is still entirely remarkable. You should ALL be proud. Of Avi, and of yourselves.

  5. Jen, you are my hero. I only just found your story and commented for the first time recently, but I want you to know how much you have inspired me. I am really struggling with making decisions for my 12 year old daughter (who was recently diagnosed as "clinically depressed" after a suicide attempt). But I keep reading your entries and thinking, if Jen can do it, I can do it.

    1. Betsy!! Since you wrote your first comment, I've been thinking about you every single day, multiple times a day. I wanted to comment back right way, but couldn't figure out how? I went back and there wasn't a comment under the other post. I am wondering if you sent directly to my email? I hit reply and it said, "no-reply." I am so happy you commented again and I can write you back.

      I am so happy we found each other. It was definitely meant to be. I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I am so sorry you are suddenly in a whole new world, one I'm sure you wish you had nothing to do with! But at the very same time, I am so happy you are in her world now. Hopefully together you can help each other and both make it through!

      I know, it's not going to be easy and it's going to look like HELL at times. Pure HELL, but if I've learned anything, it's that - no matter what - we make it. We are way stronger than we think. We can do more than we ever thought possible. We rise to anything. We can cope with the un-copeable. Whatever, won't kill us (even though it sometimes damn near tries!). And through it all, there's a whole lot of positives in what looks like can all only be negative.

      I maybe overstepped my boundaries in saying the latter because it's so early and the turmoil is so thick. If so, I apologize. I just want you to know, I care greatly and I'm so very sorry for what you are going through. My heart went out to you from the very start.

      And seriously, thank you so much for every kind word you said. Honestly, I thank Aviana. She is my inspiration every moment of every day. I learned all I ever needed or will need to know from her. She breathed a whole new and improved way of life into us. From her, we gained a perspective which could only come from losing everything. Bittersweet, isn't it? In honoring her, we have a choice in counting our blessings, or begrudging our loss over and over again. We choose blessings. But of course we miss our sweet little one too!

      If ever, anytime. My email is

  6. As you know I never got to say goodbye to my friend who passed away. There's so much I never got to say. One of my greatest fears is that someone else close to me will die and I won't have had that chance. It had to be gut-wrenching for them, and you & Dave to watch, but I am happy they got to say their goodbyes. Like you said, choose to look for the blessings.

    1. Your comment made me feel both sad and grateful. I do remember you never got to say goodbye. I am so sorry for that Channe. I would venture to say she knew exactly how you felt for her, deep down. How much you loved her. How every intention was for good, and out of love, and for the well being of and for her. I would hope so. I'm sure there is doubt when someone commits suicide, but we all have to live with knowing we did what we could. And most importantly, we did the best we could AT THE TIME! Not to be confused with in retrospect!!

      I think one of the best sayings and lessons in life is simple, "Live and learn." Just like you said, your fear is someone else dying and you won't have had the chance. I guess, as you know too : ), never letting things go unsaid. I guess we don't have to be there for every death as long as it's known? I too, learned that from Aviana. In the hardest of lessons, there is good, isn't there. Is that why they say, "hurts so good?" Ha Ha!

      I read something somewhere and now I am kicking myself for not saving it! It was about someone's regrets about not having gotten the chance to say goodbye, but finally being at peace with it, because of the way they finally were able to reconcile it all within their thought process! I swear it was in regard to suicide too. I will have to search for it!

      Thank you for your comment Channe. Thank you for all of your comments. Now, get on your blog. I want a title by the end of the week ; )