A 10th Birthday Letter to Avery
My dearest Avery,
I woke this morning with my heart feeling more heavy than usual. The morning fog also so heavy outside, I couldn’t see the short distance right outside the window. It is just how my heart feels—suffocated, heavy, hard to see past what is very near. Looking out further, its blurry and dark, I can’t see 10 feet away, only dark fog—I know the sun is out, somewhere past the heavy darkness that traps my vision. It’s how I feel about you and the grief I feel without you. I know you are out there—out of my reach, out of my sight and I keep longing for the day when the fog clears and I see you again. Every so often a ray of sunshine breaks through the fog and we see a smile of your life, a reminder of your joy and a precious gift of your love. But we long for all of you…
10 years ago today, you breathed your first gulp of living air on my chest and in my arms. We had waited so long for your arrival, and you made such a smooth, yet brilliant hello into the world. Your birth was different from the others, there was no rush, no worry. We were calm, but ready. And then you came and changed our lives in an instant. It was a day no mother, or father, could ever forget. Your big sister was so proud. Cade called you his honey-bun. Parenthood and birth with each child does that to us. All is made right and well. Glorious, beautiful, incredible and life-changing.
Never did we think, that seven years and 3 months and 28 days later, that you would also breathe your last breath of living air in my arms too. Parents never plan to say goodbye to their children. A piece of all of our hearts died along with you that day and we are ever-so-slowly continuing to mend our hearts and to honor you and the gift you will always be to us. This is the third birthday we have now celebrated without you.
Your friends still love and miss you. Our new neighborhood playground is going to be named after you. Pink and green ribbons still hang from the trees in our front yard. Hoppy Jumpy is still the top bunny and oh how you would love Jack and Scout. Your dahlias are still blooming like crazy this far into brisk October. Alex is still dreaming of ways she can help families like ours now in her future career—she wants to be a tool for others in grief because she loves and misses you so much. Cade still wears #7 to honor you with each team he plays for. And Addison, she tells everyone she meets about you. Daddy never misses a chance or opportunity to talk about you at work. He has written hundreds of articles and told your story on the radio and tv—because you are incredible and we want everyone to know it. Together mommy and daddy have planned events and started your foundation so we can find a cure for DIPG for other kids ahead. Your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all think about you all the time and also miss you. You would be proud of how everyone is honoring you, sweet girl. We dig deep each day and try to be like you.
Avery, I hope heaven throws you a party fit for the princess you will always be. Daddy and I and Alex, Cade and Addison are going to spend the day doing things that you loved so that we can feel close to you. We plan to eat your favorites, go to some of your favorite places, talk about you and dream about what your ten-year old self would have wanted for this special birthday.
While our hearts are sad and incomplete without you, we do have such great Hope in His promises and trust and know that you are not missing us like we do you. You have every birthday present and everything you need. You are free from a DIPG and you have been made perfect. Avery, we miss you more than words could ever adequately describe and we love you more than you would have ever imagined. Happy Birthday in heaven, kiddo. You’re forever in our hearts.