Monday, August 24, 2009

Strong Enough

How do you do it? How do you stay so strong? If I were in your shoes, I would NEVER be able to handle what you are going through. I admire you! These are questions I have asked one friend in particular. She has always told just do, you have to.

I could not wrap my brain around this way of thinking and was convinced~ if I were ever in a terrible predicament; I would surely be splitting into pieces and falling all over the floor.

Well, yes I have found myself in such a predicament and I finally understand the conversations between my friend and me. I am now faced with all of the above questions and statements. While I fully understand these comments, I can't help but feel slightly uncomfortable. I now know that when faced with a terrible situation, you can dig down deep and find the strength which has always been there. I just had no idea it was dwelling in the depths of my being. It makes me think that we may not know what we are fully capable of.

I used to watch Oprah and see people sit on stage and explain various horrific stories. I would think to myself~ How are they still standing? How are they speaking? Functioning? I now get it, you just do. You have to. What is the alternative? There are hundreds, possibly thousands of things I did not think I was capable of handling.

I did not think I was strong enough~

to hear my mom’s voice letting me know what happened.

to drive myself to the hospital to see what happened.

to sit in a room with a doctor telling us there is not much hope.

to have Gary sitting in another room struggling with the affects of being hit by a car.

to sit and wait as my daughter had not one, but two surgeries, back to back.

to see her sweet face afterwards.

to think about her being air lifted to UCD (this one was very difficult.)

to having to call some family and friends and explain what had happened.

to see her hooked to every machine in what seemed like creation.

to see her puff up like a blow fish.

to feel her skin and not feel her at all.

to constantly talk to doctors and nurses who do not think she will ever walk, talk, eat, etc.

to look at CT scans of her severely damaged brain.

to have to endure yet another surgery.

to look at a multitude of medications which are pumping through her little body.

to watch her beautiful long lashes disappear due to swelling.

to come in to find her earrings removed also due to swelling.

to sit and watch her lie there and be able to do nothing.

to pick up the pieces of our broken family puzzle and put them back together.

to walk through a house of constant reminders of better times.

to see her smiling face in numerous pictures everywhere I look.

to having family dinners with one very important member missing.

to have to make life or death decisions.

to arrive at the hospital and go through a “family meeting.”

to talk about the whereabouts of my daughter’s bone flaps.

to bear another surgery to put her skull back together.

to see her beautiful head with what seemed like 500 embedded staples.

to talk to police investigators and lawyers about the accident.

to read newspaper articles and people's comments about “our” family.

to see my family members actual names in print in relation to a terrible accident.

to reminisce about Aviana and all of our wonderful memories of her.

to see her terrible transition to Kaiser, her body in complete distress.

to make it through my mom's birthday celebration without that special little someone.

to hear another doctor pull us over to a scan and express their opinion as to what a terrible outcome they think this will be.

to see her tolerate yet another surgery.

to suction her mouth as she threw up every time something hit her stomach.

to watch her be wheeled out as she needed to undergo another surgery.

to pack her prized possessions for another transfer.

to ride in an ambulance along with my baby.

to watch her struggle through some of the physical therapy.

to make it through Aviana's 3rd birthday party without crying.

I know that anyone who has been through something awful has their very own detailed list. While yes, I have cried enough tears to fill the Truckee River, what I am trying to say is.....I think we are all stronger than we give ourselves credit for!

My family has endured so much in the past 9 weeks, but we have all also had the privilege of witnessing the good which arises out of a situation like this.

I have felt blessed~

for all of our family who has come together in a way we have never seen.

for all of our family and friends who came from near and far to gather in a small room in support and then caravan down to pull together in an even smaller area at UCD.

to meet the heroic man who resuscitated our baby.

to know there was a Good Samaritan helping Gary, too.

for the doctors and nurses who work diligently to help our little angel.

to experience the outpouring of love and support through cards and comments.

by the beauty of watching Aviana wheeled back in the room after another successful surgery.

by the kindness and sensitivity my family has expressed with each other through the worst time of our lives.

by the amount of visitors who arrive to make sure we are all OK.

to watch Aviana’s fighting spirit.

by the look of concern on her little friends' faces.

by the delicious dinners provided by our friends and family.

by the perspective we have gained along the way.

by the fact that the trees look greener, the sky looks bluer, the clouds look puffier.

by the appreciation I now have for my very own girl.

by the patience we are in the process of developing.

to watch funny shows and be able to laugh out loud.

to see Aviana make even the slightest of improvements.

to see the police department care so deeply about our family.

to see Gary heal physically day by day.

by the true giving spirit of people.

for meeting and developing new friendships.

by meeting a new friend who also happens to be Aviana’s lawyer.

to watch Aviana transition back to herself.

by her entire medical team and all of their expertise.

to be able to put Aviana’s earrings back in.

to see the return of those beautiful long lashes.

to be able to dress her in her own clothes.

to see medical equipment get disconnected and disappear.

to be able to take Aviana outside.

by all of the people who celebrated Aviana’s 3rd birthday with us.

that Aviana is still with us and getting better with each passing day.

to have the most wonderful husband; to truly be a united front.

Wow, I had a lot to say!!


  1. where you see only one set of footprints in the sand, that is where Jesus is carrying you!! praying for healing for aviana and strength and hope for your and your family.

  2. That is very deep Jen, you guys have been so strong through this terrible tragedy. Know ever knows how they will act until something happens. Just know that you can one day look back and say "I made it!", and feel closer to those that you might not have before. There is no easy answer but to say keep doing what you are doing and Aviana one day will be running around and doing all what you remember all so well. My experience in Iraq was horrible and I seen and done things that no person should ever endure. But look, I am still here and I seem to be living normal but now I appreciate all the little things in life I once didnt think about. Take Care

  3. I know it's hard to find the positive in all that has happened, but you did a GREAT job! I'm so proud of you! You ARE stronger than you think! And I've said it before, you WILL get through this!


    PS...your dragonfly is in its very cute "larval" stage! =)

  4. Also whenever you are ready for OPERATION AVIANA BREAKOUT let me

  5. wonderful post, andyou are right what else can you do what is the alternative, only to move forward with what you have ans see all the positive changes and know that is is perfectly OK to cry your heart out over the injustice of it all when you need to.

  6. Speechless... and all choked up, again. Prayers and blessings to you and your family and of course Aviana.