Monday, July 18, 2011

Birthday Blues

Before I had a child, I always envisioned the birthday parties. After Aviana arrived, I carefully planned every last detail of each of her parties. I loved seeing her in her cute little birthday dresses. She was the most adorable little birthday girl ever.

Coincidentally, I was out shopping for her 3rd birthday party decorations when the accident occurred. Little did we know, we would be celebrating her big day in the U.C. Davis PICU.

Each year since the accident, the birthday blues start inching their way in. As the day gets closer, I feel an overwhelming amount of sadness. Her birthday is August 16th and I have been feeling it for about a month now. The sad feelings are getting stronger and stronger.

I know it seems I would want to celebrate the fact that she was born on this day, and that she is here, but it's just not that simple. It is a sad, depressing, emotional day. I feel awful when I say this, but I don't look forward to it, in any way. I love her so very much, and wish it could be different, but I can't make myself feel any other way. It is a day that I can't help but reflect on her past birthday's. I can't help but wonder what she would have been like this year. I can't help but think of what she would be saying, what she would be doing, what her favorite things would be, etc.

Sadly, it is also a reminder that another year has passed, and not much progress has been made.

For too many reasons to explain, I don't foresee ever having another birthday party either. It is just too painful. Too painful for myself, and my family members.

We will celebrate, in our own, private, small way, because I love her so much, but it will not be in any way I ever envisioned for my family.

~ First Birthday ~ 

~ Second Birthday ~

~ Third Birthday

~ Fourth Birthday ~


  1. thre's no easy way around it. the passing of another year is another subtle (or not so subtle) reminder that things are not the way WE PLANNED them to be.............

    this is the part i have a hard time accepting: WE are not in charge....WE did not design this life we are's all in HIS hands and HE will reveal it to us as HE sees fit.

    our only choice is to find the rainbow. no matter how small it may be and let it's light shine through

    <3 <3 <3 <3

  2. I have read most every post you've written. I "know" you off-blog now too.

    You are a fighter Jennifer. You do not give up. You may have moments of feeling like raising the white flag...but you never, actually, do.

    Shoot...You do not even OWN A WHITE FLAG SS.

    God created Avi and brought her into this world on August 16th...Evil has tried to take her away.

    Sadness brings you down ...understandably... you are comparing her to other peers her age on her birthdays...and also because it is so close to the accident. Your brain has a 'knee-jerk' reaction to "August".

    Downplay her birthday....BUT Celebrate her living...

    Chose whatever day you want...maybe tomorrow?!

    I have oftentimes not celebrated on the actual day of my kids' bdays for various reasons.

    August sux for you. Chose another day to celebrate your daughter....



  3. I totally understand you.
    I think it's very normal and understandable that you feel this way.

    Although it's been many years since Audriana's accident, on each birthday after that awful year as we sing Happy Birthday to her, no matter how hard I try not to let the thoughts creep into my head, they always manage to get in there and whisper to me, "This is not how she was supposed to be. I wonder what she would be like right now had the accident never happened?" I do my best to push those negative thoughts out of my head, but they are there all the same. As a matter of fact, those thoughts haunt me regularly. I just consider it a black cloud that is always hanging over me, over my life...reminding me that no matter how happy I am or how great things are right now...there is always something not quite "right" with my world. And that is Audriana's brain injury. "It" keeps me from being 100% completely happy. I always have "that" .

    Today is Audriana's young sister Afton's 16th birthday, and as we all sat on Afton's bed and talked about "being sixteen" I couldn't help but to look over at Audriana's face as her sister talked about getting her driver's license in a couple of days. She just had this facial expression that said, "I wish I could do that, too...I'm smiling for you right now, but inside I'm wishing it could be me."

    While I should be thrilled that Afton is getting her license soon, secretly I'm not. It just reminds me that Audriana's younger sisters and brothers are going to pass her up, do things that she will never be able to do. And Audriana knows this. And her facial expression said it all today, and my heart about broke for her. On the one hand I am so happy for my sixteen year old, but on the other hand I am sad that she is passing up her older sister. First to drive, first to get a job, first to go off to college, first to move out....when it should be Audriana doing all those things before her. When Tony did all those things (Audriana's older brother) that was okay because it was in the correct order...but now that Afton is heading in that direction, well...that's just entirely different. Just like when Afton was first to learn to ride a two-wheeler, roller skate, got her first babysitting job, etc. It's just in the wrong order. Audriana, as the older sister, should have done those things before her.

    But see, I would never say these things (my thoughts) out loud. Nope. I can't. No one really wants to hear it. I know that sounds awful, but it's so true. It's been a little over 13 years now since her accident and I'm telling you, no one wants to "go there" into that "sadness" anymore with me. If I mention it, then I'm a "downer" -- so I just don't mention it. But I think it all the time.

    I always think EXTRA about you and Aviana in June and in August. I know because of experience that it's the accident month and the birthday month that is absolute hell to live through. It does get better, though. Time dulls the pain a bit, as the years go on. Once - and this is hard to believe - but once I actually forgot the DAY of our accident! I had to stop and think about it! So strange because for years I would be counting down the days, and then when the day came I would watch the clock and think, "at THIS time on February 17th 1997 we were having lunch..." and "at THIS time on February 17th 1997 we were driving down the mountain..." and "at THIS time on February 17th 1997 we were sitting in the ER while Audriana was being worked on..." To go from that to actually forgetting the DATE it happened? I guess you could call that progress, huh?

    xoxox Hugs to you always ;)

  4. Thinking of you. So sorry. Birthdays are a day of reflecting their growth and their changes, so sorry. Hope you can find a wayt o celebrate that would be something fun for her.

  5. So sorry. So so so sorry.

    Valentina had the same first bday party theme.

    I love you.

  6. Katrina's postback says it all, especially since she truly understands your circumstances. I applaud you for recognizing your feelings and acknowledging them. This is why you choose to blog.

    In my mind, without true comprehension of your situation, based on the board game posts -I would have a party with balloons and super sweet cake with rich ice cream and all the people who love her most and that she has always loved. I think she will enjoy it immensely. Celebrate the now for her, celebrate her Leo the Lioness! (My BDay is only a few days off from hers! My candles will be hers, my wishes will be hers.)

    <3 *hearts*

  7. Love you, love you, love you. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
    Fi's mama

  8. As an outsider, and impressed reader of your blog for over a year now, I see so much improvement in her! I bet she could even tell you on her little board exactly what she would like for her birthday party, day, presents... I hope this birthday is the best yet.

  9. Oh mama - I so get it. We have a birthday coming up in September (3rd)! And, I just wrote on my online support group yesterday that I *HATE* that this SN world takes some of the joy out of birthdays. For us, because Sammie B is in early intervention services now and will switch over to school district services at 3, her third birthday brings tons of evaluations and meetings. Yuck. It also means losing the therapists we've worked with for two years and starting anew. Yuck. We skipped a party last year, and just did a family vacay to Sea World - it was EXACTLY what I needed, and Sam had a blast. This year, I'm sort of kind of considering a VERY small party. I WANT to feel nothing but joy over my little's bday and that's how IT SHOULD be, but unfortunately, I also feel anxiety and worry and wonder. And, I feel guilty about that. Boo.

    On another note, I'm part of a group on - Special Needs and Medically Complex Kids (SNaMCK) . . . it is a great group of women that have been fabulous sources of support and sharing for me - you should join! Just go to babycenter and search groups for that one! The needs and delays of the kids on the board vary greatly, but we all share something in common . . . we "get" what its like to NOT be having that "typical" development in our children.

    And, on another note, I'm just curious - have you guys considered a SN preschool setting for Aviana? Would she benefit from being with other kids? I only ask because as Sam turns three, we are going that route (in addition to private therapies, we will supplement -- not depending on school district for everything!) and though finding a perfect fit is overwhelming, we are trying . . . is that something you've considered? Or is it not in line with the Institute's program?

  10. *hugs* I can't say I know how you feel, because I don't. I understand how hard those "special days" can be when you've lost someone, though. You haven't lost your little girl, but things are different.

    Do whatever feels right. In the end, that is all that matters. Enjoy that time with her, and know that we're thinking of you all.