Peace in knowing. Those are simple words to say, to write. But to feel them is an entirely different experience. At that very moment a whole new life began for all of us - albeit separate, always together. Yes, it was going to be a different kind of life, sometimes difficult, but overall for the better.
It was a Saturday. Our baby died on a Saturday. It was dark outside. We still needed to tend to things we never thought we would. It was okay though. Luckily we were handled with such care beforehand.
As Aviana lie in her bed, and we waited for Hospice, I made a few calls to my Uncle Roger, my dad, my brother. Through all the calls and in the back of my mind, I wondered, "Could I catch my mom and Gary in Croatia? They are nine hours ahead. Would my email reach them on land? What am I going to say? How can I possibly find the words to accurately convey this feeling?" I really couldn't tell many until they knew, so I was hoping the email would find them. The last thing I wanted was for them to hear the news from anyone other than me. While we were waiting for my mom and Gary to find out, I remember Beverly from Hospice advising us to enjoy the time we had together. She really understands everything important about this life. She's a true gift. They all are, really.
Dave and I walked around. We hugged. We talked. We walked some more. It was honestly surreal with Aviana in her room, yet in our eyes and beliefs, not at all.
The sun had risen. Hospice arrived. She pronounced her.
From "The Dress"
"Dave and I believe once someone dies, their spirit is gone and their body is a body. We respect that body though, but just as we thought, it was more difficult to change her back into the dress afterwards. It was okay though.
We wrapped her in her soft, polka dot blanket, handed her to the two gracious men in our front entry and watched them lovingly carry her down our walkway. They got into their van, one holding her while putting his seat belt around the two of them, and the other in the driver's seat. Down our road they drove.
We were lucky enough to have a wonderful Hospice social worker who made a request for a two person transport and a mortuary who had never once heard of this, but wanted to do anything and everything to make it easier for a family who was about to lose their 7-year-old little girl. The people who make the world go 'round never cease to amaze and inspire me.
And the way we chose was like the day of the accident. I felt it would provide closure for hearts which could never before truly find any. I watched Aviana's vibrant being toddle down that walkway and drive out of my life once before. And now, we watched her leave our lives for the second and very last time…at least physically. But this time, she was off to once again be that spunky, sweet, glowing, grinning girl she was meant to be!"
After, we weren't sure what to do on a day such as this. Dave asked if I wanted to take Rainey to lunch and for a hike in Auburn. Nothing sounded better than getting out and away, especially the three of us, together in nature.
Everything felt indescribable. Leaving our house without Aviana. Driving without her, but forever this time. I kept looking back, attempting to grab those little feet, only to realize - never again. That day it wasn't sad, just strange. There was actually a good feeling along with the realization. As we drove, our surroundings seemed amplified, the colors much richer. The sights and sounds, as though they had a pulse.
We decided to first walk down to the Auburn Dam. The sun was shining, the sky blue, and the clouds - perfect. The forest was alive. The birds, with their outstretched wings, were gliding up above us. Everything was beautiful. As the wind blew, I could actually feel Aviana's spirit dancing on the breeze - so light and free.
As we walked our path, I suddenly wanted to sit down on the ground and take it all in for a little. I looked to see what pants I had on before finding a seat. I stopped dead in my tracks, my eyes staring in disbelief "I never wear these pants - not ever." But this day and without thinking, I had pulled them on, almost the very same ones, but with the pink stripes. I looked at Dave and said, "There are no coincidences."
The day we put Kama to sleep (exactly three years before) I had wore the same pants, but with the white stripes down the side. The pants have never been washed and still sit folded on my top closet shelf, covered in her fur. Because I was so out of my mind that October 26th day, I didn't even realized they were up there. I was going through my closet to gather for Goodwill a few years later and wondered what on earth those pants were doing up there. I pulled them down, and saw Kama's fur all over. My face hot with tears, I immediately lost my breath. I was easily in one of the worst ways possible.
Never had I really believed in signs before Kama died, but thankfully they came fast and furious after she passed. I was almost hyperventilating at the sight, the feel, and the thought of that day. I instantly remembered all our last pictures together in those black with white striped pants. I remembered all our last moments. And as my music always is - blaring - this song immediately broke through, just for me. From her, from whomever is up there, from both of them.
Flash forward three years to the day. When I looked down and saw the black with pink stripes, I couldn't believe it. But then again, I could.
As we made our way to the dam, we came across a few of my very favorite little guys. I was afraid we would never be able to move past them because I kept following them with my camera. They were really tolerant of my antics. I think they knew what had happened that morning.
We went to downtown Auburn afterward for lunch. One thing we didn't account for was the courthouse which is in the heart of downtown. This is the place we took Aviana to become a U.S. citizen. It was a very happy day after all we had been through with infertility and the adoption process. Even though we'd been around it plenty of times, and since the accident, it seemed odd to be right there on a day like that.
Overall, it felt kind of like we were in a secret world of our own, yet surrounded by everyone. As we waited for a table, interesting didn't even begin to describe listening to normal, everyday conversations on the day our daughter had passed on. What I found most fascinating was - if they were listening in on our conversation, they would think nothing of it either. I decided to go shop in some stores while Dave and Rainey waited for a table. Everything felt strange. At lunch, when the hostess and server asked how we were and how our day was going? The real answer was, "Good." But, in secret and in the car later, we laughed at if they only knew, or how strange it was that Hospice and the mortuary were just at our house that morning.
Throughout my entire time with Aviana, but especially since the accident, what always stirs about is how I really don't have a clue what's going on with anyone. Whenever I look around, I often wonder what people in passing are going through, have been through, or even...will go through in the future? It's always something for me to feed on.
My Aviana pants.
Once home, I folded my Avi pants and placed them over Kama's. I stood back and thought to myself, a physical representation of the beauty that happened today.
That Saturday morning Dave had one picture in mind, one he had to find, one that meant so much to him. This picture still sits on my desk every day, right in front of my keyboard...
It was a Saturday, and for you...we couldn't have been happier.