Our sweet Avery,

Today is your day.  Your big 12th birthday, the last year before you would officially be a teen!  You should be planning a fun celebration with your pals and closest friends.  It might look different than in years past because of the quarantine we are under, but make no mistake, we would be celebrating and doing something spectacular in honor of you!  You would request sparkles and bling and no doubt pizza and a movie too.  You would request us all to sing a million times and you would insist that presents should be opened first thing this morning.  You would require this day to be all about you!

And so, even in your earthly absence today, as we miss you terribly and continue to do our best to honor you each day, today we will do our best to celebrate YOU.  The you in the very beginning when we held you in our arms after much anticipation and wait, to the you as a rascal toddler keeping us on our toes and testing us in all ways, to the you who loved to be silly and sassy, to the you who faced brain cancer and didn’t give up, to the you who endured endless suffering and never gave up hope, to you who taught us all while never knowing it, to the you we imagine you to be today on your 12th birthday.  You.  Your life will always have purpose and meaning, and we will celebrate who you were and who you are forever.   

But, all the while, we do have Avery shaped holes in our hearts, a void that only you can fill.

We get through our days knowing you have everything you need now and are comforted knowing heaven has made you whole.  There is no more suffering for you now, a promise we are so grateful for!

Your foundation continues to do all it can in your honor too.  We are pushing ahead for a cure in collaboration with doctors, researchers, other families and all who love you.  We welcome the chance to say your name and share your story.  Some days are harder, but we lean on all that you endured, and we remember your fighting determination as our single motivator.  We fight in honor of you and also all the other new DIPG heroes and warriors we have also come to know and love.  You would be so proud.  Thank you for teaching us never to give up.   

Happy heavenly birthday, sweetheart.   

Mommy, Daddy, Alexandra, Cade & Addison

Scout, Hoppy Jumpy and Jack too. 🙂