Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Clean Up on Aisle Jen

For me, most of the sad moments hit hard and fast. Some creep and crawl, but most jump up and out of nowhere. They all seem to be of the same sort though, and that's adjusting to a life without Aviana.

A couple weeks ago, we took our first trip to the grocery store after Aviana died. We were just wandering around as always. 

Dave: What do we need?

Jen: I'm really craving hummus. Can you grab some dill, and a cucumber please? I'll get a lemon.

Dave: Okay, anything else over here?

Jen: You know, I actually don't really feel like hummus. I don't know what I want.

Dave: Okay, I'm going to get some sweet potatoes.

The sound of those two simple words caused tears to rush my eyes. No amount of skyward staring or hand waving helped. I looked at Dave and told him, 'I'm really doing it. I'm crying right in the middle of the produce department. Aviana used to eat sweet potatoes. We used to buy them for her. We don't need to buy them for her anymore.' The tears were streaming down my face.  At first I tried, but as I stared at the people staring back at me…I realized - there was no use, I was too far gone.

Suddenly I began firing on all cylinders. Smoke billowing. The thoughts were ducking, and weaving like a boxer, but a sucky boxer - maybe in his first fight, or one he was definitely going to lose. My thoughts were uncoordinated and bouncing all over, and into each other. 'What? Where did you come from?' I wanted out of the ring, but there was no way out. Oh no, uh uh…this is going down! Right here, in the middle of the store. And all Dave could do was sit ringside with the pumpkins and pomegranates. Everyone, watching my demise. At this point, I couldn't even see straight or tell what I was saying out loud, or to myself. I do know one thing though; I was talking to all three of us - him, her and me. In retrospect, I'm kind of impressed given how fast it all happened. 

'We don't need to buy sweet potatoes for her anymore. She loved sweet potatoes. Baby, that was the  one thing you did like, those sweet potatoes. Maybe you could have lived on sweet potatoes alone...for all of your life. No, that's crazy. You would've gotten tired of those, just like everything else. Aww, even if you could have lived on only sweet potatoes, it wouldn't have changed your life. Baby, I'm so happy you are out of this life. But we miss you so much, but we are so happy for you. But we miss you. Can you believe we won't ever shop for her again? How do you do that? How do you shop for someone, and then never again? We are. So I guess we know how. Oh Aviana, you taught us so much!!! All because of you we are eating this way. We would never have learned about nutrition like this if it weren't for you. Oh the irony. Oh Aviana...

Dave: Hon, are you okay? Maybe we should move over to the wine.
(Dave's the best. He always knows exactly what I need and that's to just be heard, a little direction and to go through it : ) 

Jen: Huh? Yeah. I'm okay. Really, I'm okay. I can stop crying. Noooo, I can't. Yeah…the wine section.

Dave: Are you okay?

...we would never even have completely started shopping here if it weren't for you!! If it weren't for Aviana we would never have learned to eat the way we do. She was the most unbelievable little girl. She taught us so much. She made us better people. I miss her so much. My gosh, I am so happy she is free.

Dave: I know. I am too. Honey, do you maybe need to go to the bathroom?
(He always knows I'll be fine once I have a little space and can breathe again. I just love him. A dance you perfect over time…for sure.)

Jen: No, I think I'm okay. Actually, now that you said the word, I do think I need to use the bathroom. I'll be right back.

~ Exit bathroom ~

Jen: Hey Dave, do you know how we're doing on crackers?

All over a sweet potato, but of course, it's not just about a sweet potato...


  1. How perfect that was. It is the smallest things we treasure. Cry where ever you want I know the ache will always be there. I am lifting you up in prayer.

  2. Jen, Its completely natural for you to have your little breakdowns, its also "healthy" for you to cry at the little things, in reality they are big things. They were all part of your life , or should I say your whole life for most of your time with Aviana. It only means you continue to have her in the for-front.
    She gave you all so much in that time, you learned so much from her,that it will be impossible for you to forget.Thats what love is all about! Don't be embarrassed if you cry in the grocery store, they have no idea what shoes you wore for years. thousands of things will remind you of your little girl , that's the beauty in all of it.
    Aviana did a beautiful job teaching us all what love is about and for that Im thankful .
    Aviana changed my world but mostly yours,how beautiful is that?
    We eat a lot of sweet potatoes , Aviana will now be in my heart and thoughts as we eat them. See, a new outlook on sweet potatoes from one of your fans :)
    We love you,
    just remember that you & Dave have earned the best Mama & papa award ,thanks to Avi.
    Cindy from nc

  3. Oh sweet Jen I am so happy that you have Dave, someone who knows exactly what you need. It is always surprising what can trigger opening up the flood of emotions and tears. The intensity of the love that you showed Aviana is matched by the sadness you must feel now that she is gone.

    You are always in my heart, thought and prayers.
    Love you,

  4. Tears are streaming. Much love to you two wonderful people, and to Avi too.

  5. Hugs to you and Dave, you both are so good for each other. I have 1 sweet potato this morning and was trying to decide what to do with 1 without having to go to the store. (it is 35 & cold for Texas since is was 70 yesterday) I went in and put some toothpicks in my "sweetie" put half in water and put it in my window so that I can grow a sweetie for OUR sweet Avi & to remind me how beautiful y'all are to me.
    Julie xoxo

  6. Jen,

    Hi wonderful woman. I heard about Avi just recently and I wanted to send love and prayers your way. I don't know much about grief (I'm pretty sure college break up's don't really count here) but I know it's a tricky little bastard. Something you want yet hate at the same time... the reminders, the pain, the love, the emptiness all mingled together. Therefore I can't really say what I hope for you...but just know that I do HOPE. Hugs to you and your sweet family.

  7. My chosen ( consciously or not ) place to melt down was in the grocery store. A few years back when things were so tough, not once in a whole year did I ever go to the grocery store without crying! Big, huge, wet, snotty tears. People stared, some with sympathy, some with questioning eyes, some with embarrassment. The more they stared the more I cried. To be honest, crying and I were soul mates for a while. For me it was very healing.

    To lose your child twice. Unimaginable ! To miss them so much and yet be so happy that they are not suffering, indescribable! I marvel at the beauty of your family. The love that resonates throughout your writing is breathtaking.

    I love you all. Your words are healing balm to my soul.

  8. Oh Jen, my thoughts, my prayers, my love is sent your way.

  9. Dave is an awesome guy. Love will get ya'll through this.

    I love you!

  10. Not a day goes by that I'm not thinking of you, wondering how you're coping. I don't have to tell you that Dave is awesome. It's very rare to find such a compassionate, thoughtful and yet emotionally strong man. I'm so happy that you have him by your side. You two are a gift to each other, especially in hard times like these.

  11. Oh my sweet friend whom I've never met... Oh how I love this post. First I must say how I laughed out loud at the "maybe we should move on to the wine section" --- um, maybe I can relate because I am drinking a glass (or 3) of wine while reading your post. :) You write so well about your love for Aviana, your happiness for her newfound freedom from this world, and yet your struggle of living on without her. I cannot imagine your pain and grief; nor would I pretend to. No one should go through what you have endured. It sucks and it isn't fair at all....but I am so thankful that your beautiful daughter has such wonderful and amazing parents looking out for her. :) Please know I am sending you lots of love and hugs. (and really?? Can you buy wine in your grocery store?? I live in Oklahoma and unfortunately we must make a special trip to the liquor store for our wine - ha!) Many, many blessings to you and Dave as you navigate your way through this world without your sweet baby. Always thankful for the knowledge that one day we will all be reunited forever. Melissa

  12. My computer crashed earlier this year and so I haven't been following along your journey. I thought about your family at midnight last night, got on my Kindle, and cried when I found out about sweet Avi. I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you both. I will say, you make grief beautiful with your words. I love reading them. They always bring healing comfort. Much love to your family.