Friday, May 30, 2014

Just the Six of Us

The phone rang. I picked up. My mom said, "Do you want to go to Alaska?" I said, "Of course I want to go to Alaska. You know I've always wanted to go to Alaska." She then told me my uncle and aunt had booked, she and Gary were about to, and I needed to right away. 

I asked when we were leaving? She said May 10th. "Mom! That's the day of my race!" My mom asked, "Would you rather go to Alaska or run?" I wanted both. I tried for both, but it wasn't going to work. 

It's a long story but in the middle of March, after about 18 years of being unable to run outside (suddenly started wheezing out of nowhere, couldn't breathe and an inhaler didn't help) I had once again become able. Because of this, I became a running fool. 

I really wanted to start signing up some races. My friend Sara knew and soon asked if I wanted to run my first 5K with her. I was really excited, but asked if we could do the 10? She took some time to think about it (I knew she would, because rises to any challenge) and agreed. I immediately signed us both up! 

I was ready. I had usually been running about 4 miles, but increased it to 6.2 to make sure I could complete the whole 10K. Then, 6.2 turned straight into 10 miles. I couldn't stop. I used to dread every moment of running. I could break a run down like nobody's business. I would dissect them by how many songs I had run, and further break that down by how many minutes an average song was. I'd then calculate to figure out how close I was to done, because God forbid if I looked at the time! If I did, I might quit all together. I used to run only as a means to an end. Now, I understand all those who love it! It's become infectious. It's therapy. It's much like writing for me. It clears my mind and makes me more able to carry on in a better and more productive way. I am beyond grateful that I was given back the gift of running outside. There's nothing like it. It's freedom - to go, to explore, to experience the world with all your senses.

It was a complete impromptu trip. We had two and a half weeks before leaving. I like when trips come along in this way. We were looking forward to spending time with these four! The only times we had ever traveled with them previously was to go back and forth to the brain injury institute. We knew it would be wild, but for different reasons this time!

And of course, there will always be other runs...

Friday, May 23, 2014

It's 2am...

And I'm suffering from something along the lines of...

On Tuesday I was responding to comments and out of nowhere, I felt a little something in my head. I stepped away from the computer, but it was too late. And so began a three day headache. 

Towards the end of today was the first time I was able to do almost anything. It's like I now have a new lease on life. I can't sleep because I'm excited to be both vertical and out of my homemade cocoon.

Now that I'm wide awake, I've a million things which have gathered over the course of the past few days. That's what happens when forced to lie flat and do nothing!

So, what's been swirling?

Cameo, and her family. They are one of the closest, most loving families I know. While out of commission, I came back to a blog post, which I can't seem to shake from my thoughts. So if you would like to go over and send some love, I'm sure they would appreciate it.   

This is Cameo, her mom Beya, and I. I believe this was the night of Aviana's service. I think we went to dinner the night of. They hadn't been, or wanted to go to a service since the loss of their daughter/sister, Trina. They decided to drive all the way from Washington to come to Aviana's service. Amazing! We affectionately call them The Washington Wagon Wheelers! I love you guys!!


I've met some of the absolute best people through this blog and I'm so thankful. Sometimes I can't believe some of my nearest and dearest friends came through here. I've met Cameo and her family a number of times. It's wild. I've spent time with my friend Ellen both in Pennsylvania as well as here in California. My friend Trina came to San Francisco, and I was able to meet both her and one of her daughters. My friend Dixie...well, we both continue to visit each other. She was so sweet to also come up for Aviana's service. Speaking of Dixie, for some strange reason, I have almost always called her Dixie Pants (don't ask why, I have no idea). Just recently I was sitting at her house and gave her an up/down. I was in shock and must have spit my words, "Dixie! You know I always call you Dixie Pants, but the whole time I've known you, I've never once seen you in pants!!" And you know, she said she doesn't wear pants. I couldn't believe it had never come up. Oh Dixie Pants!

I have a list of so many others I would love to meet : ) And guess what, I'd like to become a domestic and international traveler, so this may work out!


Hmmm. You know how I said I wanted to write this story in order? I think those were some famous last words. I laugh at myself sometimes. Okay, more like all the time. I've subconsciously been thinking it since, but as I was running in Alaska - it all came clear. I don't live my life that way anymore. You know - carefully planned and in some great order. That was more along the lines of who I used to be. My life is not wrapped up with a pretty little bow. It's a little messy. There are bits and pieces here, there and maybe everywhere. It changes from day to day too. I don't like to conform to pretty much anything. I want to write about what I want, when I want! Yeah! That sounded good in theory and maybe that would have been nice, but really, since 5 years ago, I've been more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person. Now, it's whichever way the wind blows me and I like it. So I'm thinking I'm going to let it fly from here on out!


Have you ever had Swiss Muesli? It was by far my very favorite thing to eat while on vacation. I couldn't stop. I was a morning muesli monster...and then thought about it all day and dreamed about it by night. Yeah, that sick! I am going to make it, but I'm not sure how mine will turn out, because I'm going to use Almond or Coconut Milk, take out the yogurt and add raisins. I'm a tweaker, so I'll just keep going until? All I can say is, I'm in love with my Muesli! Okay, I'm more like a Muesli Machine. 


I don't like to psychoanalyze myself, but with way too much time on my hands, I did. My headaches have been way better, so why did I get one when I got home from vacation? I think it was because everyone else comes home and goes back to their job. Good or bad, like it or not, it's their routine. It's their job. For some, it maybe serves as their purpose.  Whatever it is, all I know is - mine is gone.

Everyone was really worried about me before Aviana died. I thought I would be fine. No, I thought I would be better than fine. I was literally on some sort of high knowing we were doing so right by her. Keyword, by her. I was so focused on her. I thought that high would be able to carry me all the way throughout (really the rest of my life). In my eyes, I had grieved for what felt like an eternity over Aviana. I was so done grieving. Little did I know, grief doesn't work like that...jerk! It wasn't until after her service that I felt true sadness once again start to creep back in. Not for her, but for us. I knew she was okay, but we were still here, without her. We felt at peace with the Aviana after the accident (of course we missed her though), but the before the accident Aviana was who began to hurt us most. We were surprised because we thought we had grieved for her ages ago, that was a long ago - been there/done that. But here it was again, back for more.

I ended up setting a counceling appointment over it because I wondered how to hold it all - being happy for her, but also being both happy and sad for us. It's such a strange situation and mix of emotions to continuously walk around with. Being mostly happy and the rest just plain sad at times! It feels like I've been on a roller coaster for far too long, and I didn't expect to be on for even longer. But really, how naive. How can I expect to lose our daughter and not be sad?!? She was my sole purpose for so many years. She was tied to my every waking hour. So when I came home from vacation, and everyone goes back to their normal life, there's definitely a void...


In places of great beauty, I look around and wonder where she is? Often times, I miss her more.


We spent hours trying to pick out the perfect urn for Aviana's ashes. I finally found a beautiful wood carved one with butterflies on it. We were figuring out the inscription and were just about to order it, when it dawned on us - no way! She was trapped in her body. The very last place we want her to be is trapped in a box. Our girl needs to fly free!

Dave was going to pick her ashes up, but was going to have to leave work early, so I told him I would go. I remember right after the accident, Sgt. Merenda and I were sitting outside having coffee, I told him I would never be able to go by the accident sight. He told me I could do it. He said I could do anything. He was right, it took time, and a few attempts, but with his words echoing in my head, I did. I've used his words in so many situations over the past 5 years and know I will continue to. Going to pick her ashes up was no exception. 

I went to put them in my nightstand next to Kama's. I have a terrible habit of putting things in such a safe place I can never find them again. Well, when I went to put the ashes together I found our lost passports. We had been searching for at least a year.

You can go wherever you'd like baby.


I had all the questions you'd asked on my phone and for some reason my notes sometimes disappear? I have no idea why and usually I email notes to myself because I know this sometimes happens, but I didn't. I feel bad for not having been good about answering the questions and also for now losing the note : ( If you're still out there and still want to know, can you please refresh my memory? I'm sorry to have to ask. I do remember, of course, that many have asked how Rainey is doing? I will definitely be posting about her soon. I know I've said that before, but I really mean it this time ; )


I've been bit by the baking bug again. It's all I want to do. Every single day. So that's what I/we do. It's insane, and I love it. Dave has a love/not so loving it relationship with all the baking. He's been working out hard for awhile now. In a lot of ways it's how he handles everything with Aviana. He's also recently starting competing in CrossFit competitions. He's done really well. Dave's the type that once he sets his mind to something, he always does amazing. We go all over the place for these events.

Northstar Run

Tough Mudder

First Competition

Second Competition

Third Team Competition


That's why I'm suddenly getting in the way with all I'm whipping up. I keep telling him, you don't have to eat...

Best Blueberry Buckle EVER!!

From my favorite newfound blog ever! She's truly amazing!!

Finished this for tomorrow. I can't pop it out until then : )

No Bake Strawberry Milk Cheesecake

I guess we deal with grief in opposing ways...


It's 4 am. How did that happen?

Actually, this is what happens after a headache bender. 

I should stop.

Tell me, what's on your mind?

Monday, May 19, 2014


Hi! We just got back from Alaska.

We went with my mom, Gary, my uncle and aunt. Alaska has been on my vision board since making one in 2008. Every time I'm in my closet the word stares back at me and I think, I've got to get there. We came super close last year. We had the trip all lined up for Aviana's birthday, and then, at the very last fell apart. The train to Denali National Park was full for the week we were able to go, so we said forget it.

We flew to Seattle, and stopped in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria. Every stop was unbelievably beautiful. The weather was perfect. Alaska reminds me of Tahoe. Have you been to Alaska? If so, where were your favorite places and what were your favorite things to do? I have too many to count. I'll have to put together a post : ) I already want to go back so I'll have to make notes of where to go and what to see next time : )

After we took this picture Dave said, "Honey, like him. Look off in the distance..."

Ohhhh ; )


I'm suddenly having a flashback. I'm never very good at following the statues.

I wanted to get a picture with my favorite little guy on Valentine's Day in San Francisco. 
So we did.

But then, we wanted to recreate, and the same sort of thing happened. We tried to quickly figure out which order the monkeys go with the flipped camera angle - 
see no, speak no, hear no... 

But then we got it backwards, and I forgot to cover my eyes with both hands!

Oh well. We came close.


I absolutely loved reading all your comments about signs!! I've been champing at the bit to respond!! A little more settling in and I'll be all over them. Thank you so much for everything you wrote.

I also want to thank you very much for your love on Mother's Day. I appreciate you for thinking of me. 

I hope each of you who are, had a really nice one. I hope each who are trying to be, had one which was easier on your heart. And for those who've had a loss of any kind, I hope the love and beauty in what the day still held was found.  


Friday, May 9, 2014


I never really put much thought into the afterlife, but somehow always grew up believing in it. I experienced a few losses early in life, but was too young to grasp the enormity in terms of after. Or maybe, if anything was present, I don't remember.

I was much older when my grandma died. I took the full impact of her death then, and for many years to come. Still, I only remember one instance of her presence bringing any sort of comfort afterward.

I never believed in signs before, but these "phenomena" started happening after Kama died. Even after, I wouldn't call them by name. I'd just look at Dave and ask, "Isn't that weird?" As if they were merely coincidence, knowing all the while I don't believe in coincidence. But, these things just kept adding up - one atop and more distinctive than the next - until they just couldn't be denied. In a world of hurt and astronomical pain, they brought a sliver of reassurance and comfort.

After a while, I was able to call them by name. Now, there have been countless signs and times both Kama and Aviana have come back to me, each in a way that's completely unique to our relationship. Sometimes they're on the subtler side, but certainly never to be ignored. Other times - when I'm really in need - they are in my face blatant. Either way, the message is always clear, "I'm here for you. You are not alone."

I definitely wasn't open to this before. It's been a long time coming. I think about who I was before Aviana's accident. That girl was more controlling and close-minded. She moved quicker, and was less patient. All this makes me wonder? Was my grandma there all along and I was too blind to see her? Was I moving too fast? Was I not still enough? Not open enough? Or did none of this matter? I don't know. Whatever the case, I'm grateful for what I have now - two girls who reach back for me. Two girls who continuously let me know we are good. Two girls who show me we are one... and always will be.

I've heard many of these kinds of stories and I so love them. I'm wondering, have any of you experienced this as well? If so, can you tell me more? Do you think they are real, or not? If you do believe in them, did you always believe in this sort of thing, or no? Were you skeptical at first? Are your signs subtle, or straight forward? If subtle, did you sometimes have a hard time believing them at first? Can you tell the difference now?

Thank you


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Auntie Amy

Some say that we choose our life before we come into it. Sometimes I can find truth in this - and sometimes I cannot.

How and why would Avi choose this life for herself? And why would God choose this life for her?

If I look at this through an open mind and an open heart, as Avi's or God's would have been - I am able to see.

I imagine Avi looking at this life - at this journey. And through her eyes--I can see what she must have seen:

A foster family that would care for and love her, and teach her at a very young age how to become independent.

She saw that she would be needed, wanted, and loved by a family that possessed qualities that she could learn from.

She saw a tragedy that would bring people closer. That would bring about new relationships and friendships - and strengthen and deepen those that already existed.

She saw an opportunity to teach forgiveness, sacrifice, tenderness, and true to Avi form - she saw an opportunity to teach those she would come to love to be strong.

She saw that she would have to go through hell----before she could get to heaven.

- - -

No matter what I believe, I find comfort and peace in thinking that on some level, she knew that for THIS journey, Jen and Dave would be exactly what she needed - exactly what God needed for her.

Jen and Dave are the perfect blend of everything…and they have done everything for their little girl from the moment they set their hearts on her!!

When Avi came home with them she fit into her new surroundings and with her new family immediately. She was like a chameleon - she could go anywhere and adapt to anything. She quickly shared her Mommy’s love of music - she loved it and loved it loud! She could call out a Gary Allan song, or a Butch Walker song in just a few lyrics!

She was a bright, spunky spirit - full of vim and vigor…definitely sugar and spice and everything nice! She was sweet, loveable and approachable. But don’t even THINK ABOUT trying to tell Avi not to do something! Avi, as Jen puts it, was fiercely independent! And boy was she…in the BEST possible way. “Avi do it!” was her motto! Avi had that special something - even after the accident -- she still had it. Her strength carried her -- it carried her through each day of her life. She was a fighter…and so are her parents!!

I believe Avi would not have lived as long as she did without the love and devotion of Jen and Dave. Without their determination and their will to fight, Avi‘s time after the accident would have been very different. They had worked SO hard to bring this little girl across the globe to be home with them - and they were not going to let her go without a fight.

- - -

In letting her go - they honored her. They allowed her to be free - to finally be with her best friend and her guardian angel - Kama. They gave her the wings that she so desperately wanted and needed to fly!!

- - -

I am going to miss Avi so much, though. I will miss snuggling up with her reading to her. I will miss spending time with the daughter of my best friend in the whole world. I will miss seeing her in the cute clothes I bought for her --- How in the hell am I ever supposed to go into a Target again and walk past the Girl’s clothing section and NOT BUY SOMETHING FOR HER?!?!?!

Truthfully, I have feared the process of saying goodbye to Aviana for some time now. I feel the day that she died, my fear was replaced with a different word: PEACE

I remember taking deep breath after deep breath. Each one filled my heart and my soul with an intense feeling of peace. Knowing that Avi would never again have to endure another seizure, never need another surgery.

She would never again have to feel something she didn’t want to feel / or not feel something she wish she could. She would no longer be trapped in this body that once gave her freedom, she could now be free from it. With each breath, I felt a surge of comfort, and oddly - of joy, knowing that Avi is free. She is free. And I have found peace in that.

- - -

Avi will continue to live on through the hearts and memories of so many, as her journey touched so many in so many ways.

Avi was a gift from God. She was special, unique, silly, loving...and strong.

Avi has taught me so much. And her journey -- her life and her death -- will continue to teach me every day.

I will remember her always with great love, and great respect.

I will love her forever.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Good morning. For those that don’t know me, I am Roger Remedios, Jennifer’s uncle and Brenda’s brother.

I’d like to spend a few minutes telling you about the most significant memories I have of Aviana and the last four years.

One memory I have is the pain I saw in the faces of Jennifer and Dave, and Brenda and Gary, after and since the accident. This memory, I know, will dissipate as the future brings better times.

I remember clearly the times we accompanied Jennifer and Dave and Brenda and Gary to the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia. These are bitter sweet memories because of the reason we went and the hope we had. I truly enjoyed both trips because of what we learned about therapies for brain injured children that we would use for Aviana. I also enjoyed the good time we had there…one also filled with laughter. I remember the time Rella mistook a midnight fire alarm at our motel for her alarm clock; she almost destroyed the alarm clock trying to turn it off. Oh the expletives I could tell you about…but we are in church.

I have strong memories of Jennifer and Dave’s love and devotion to Aviana as expressed in the extensive and endless therapy they provided to her seven days a week and most of the waking day. Some therapies consisted of patterning, breathing exercises, and crawling on a sloped board that Gary made for Aviana. It also consisted of feeding her a diet of nutritionally balanced and organic foods.

The memories I have of therapy have always been positive because it was done as a team effort for Avi. Even though all therapies were done with precision, we learned early that therapy time, since it is long and often tiring for Avi and us, must be treated with a light heart and humor. I think Aviana appreciated our laughter. I remember once, after a particularly long session, Michelle, Aviana’s nurse, said she noticed Aviana’s angry stare and finger pointing at the front door, as if to say that it is time for Michelle to leave.

I also have memories of all those days getting to know Jennifer…better than I ever knew her before the accident. This memory has brought about the admiration I have developed for her (and Dave) for their courage and stamina, their focus, their pragmatic sensibilities, and their warm and caring nature for others needing help.

Regarding Aviana, my recollections are more personal. One memory over the past four years is the calm I felt while cradling Aviana in my arms. Jennifer has told me that Aviana looked calm during those times. What few know is the calming and healing effect Aviana had on me. For many years, I suffered from a heart arrhythmia. Often I arrived with this problem and wondered if the discomfort would shorten my stay. It never did. Within 10 to 15 minutes of holding Avi close to me the heart rhythm irregularity switched to a normal rhythm. I cannot remember any time when holding Avi did not work for me. I like to think that Aviana and I had an unspoken agreement that we would swap strength for weakness…that I would bring her calm and she would bring me a normal heart rhythm. This memory of cradling Avi in my arms will always be with me.

Finally, the most vivid memory I have of Aviana is of a beautiful little girl with a pixie smile and determined look that greeted me one Easter Sunday when Rella and I visited Brenda and Gary. On entering the living room, Aviana took my hand and pulled me to the back yard. She handed me a bucket and dragged me along in search of Easter eggs. Avi knew what our roles were…she was the Finder and I was the Carrier. Her pretty face, captivating smile and determined look will always remain as clear as if it occurred yesterday. If you asked me what kind of a dress she wore or what color it was I would not be able to tell you. However, I can remember her face and mannerisms very well. It is interesting how seemingly inconsequential memories of events at one time take on a more important meaning later. It is also wonderful that we can decide which of our memories are important enough to remember.

So what are the memories that I consider important! The memories that taught me to love and respect Jennifer and Dave for their devotion to Aviana. Even though my love for Brenda and Gary remain the same the love itself has deepened during these past four years. I can officially say that Brenda, now, is my favorite sister (his only sister!) and Gary is my favorite brother-in-law. As for Aviana, last but not least, I remember her as a beautiful, amazing and determined little girl.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Heart and Soul

Music is my life, so we chose carefully. Shuffling back and forth, making up our minds, only to change them once again.

Thankfully, we had the help of our other musical counterparts. Amy, my brother, and cousin weighed in and threw songs our way. Pie Nights turned into service planning nights, and many included mostly the music.

The processional song was set from the beginning. An unwavering Ave Maria. This was my grandmother's favorite song - and she - one of my very favorite people. We played this song the day of our wedding as I walked down the isle. Somehow it once again struck me as perfect. I especially wanted and needed my grandmother's presence on Aviana's day.

In the end, we chose the songs which meant the most to us as a family. We also made sure they best represented both the good, and difficult times.

Christine McVie has always been my favorite in Fleetwood Mac, and Songbird has never held more meaning to me than after we lost Aviana. 

Gary Allan ties our family together beautifully. We all shared so much laughter and happiness together while listening to him. Aviana was such a goof over that man! I have no idea where she got that! Probably Dave! Not only did Aviana and I completely bond over him, but he also happens to be one who understands true tragedy. Gary Allan's music continued to help through the years after Aviana's accident, so appropriate doesn't even begin to describe his collection.

The Beatles. Where do I begin? I suppose all my life, but truly back in the 9th grade when my room was floor to ceiling covered, and that's just about all you heard coming from my speakers. Yep, I was that girl, the one with every ounce of paraphernalia. And Blackbird? How could I have known at such a young age? That melody and those perfectly strung lyrics would so beautifully apply in my life and to our freshly freed girl? Never. Not ever. All these songs, I could never have imagined - to me, to her, to us, and especially in this way. Ever.

I've never really been a Garth Brooks fan. In fact, I only have about three of his songs. So when my cousin floated me The Dance, I was hesitant. One listen, and I was in tears. It was so incredibly powerful. I never listened through the ears of death. Every single time I watch the video, I have no choice but to cry. If not that day in the beginning, I will because of that song. It's perfect. I am eternally grateful for that song. Every word resonates with us.

We went back and forth with the recessional song most. As people walk out, they may want a more upbeat, pep in their step know, before they go eat their Costco hosted lunch. Would you expect anything else from this family? Aviana was the Snapple Queen and for us, (meaning all) going to Costco is a serious hobby! We were brought up that way. It's in our blood. Dave says I'm a cheap date because all he has to do is take me to a different Costco! He's right.

Anyway, I was torn between IZ's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (which I think is one of the most beautiful songs ever) and The Band Perry, If I Die Young. Back and forth we circled. Dave and I finally said, "It has to be If I Die Young!" We felt it most. It was Aviana's story. It was our story. It was our end. It was what's to come. It was everything. The lyrics summed up our journey, the day to come, and the rest of our life as we saw it - both happy and sad at times, both blessed and a difficult at times. Overall, we loved it because it represented our reality. We thought it was the perfect send off. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dave and I are spiritual and wanted Aviana's service to be the same. After looking at many places, we decided on our friend Jen's church. It was perfect in every way. Everyone was warm and welcoming, and everything - beautiful. The pastor was one of the kindest people we'd ever met. He was also respectful of our spiritual wishes.

After looking through what seemed like every reading the Internet had to offer, we chose these. They most closely reflect how we feel.

Read by Dave's sister, Dinah.

Do Not Weep For Me

Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell
among the wonders of the earth; 
for my larger self is free, 
and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain -
on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, 
for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, 
a tropical breeze upon your face, 
the hush of joy within your heart.
I am the hope in a darkened night. 
And in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you.
I will share your tears, your joys, your fears,
your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am with you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers.
I am the calm that follows a raging storm.
I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God,
and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die,
as long as you remember me…
with a smile and a sigh.


Read by my friend, Summer

She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,

or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,

or you can be full of the love that you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone,

or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back.

or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

~ David Harkins


Read by my friend, Jen

Weep Not For Me

Weep not for me though I am gone;
into that gentle night.

Grieve if you will but not for long,
upon my soul's sweet flight.

I am at peace,
my soul's at rest.

There is no need for tears.
For with your love I was blessed;
for all those many years.

There is no pain,
I suffer not,
The fear now all is gone.

Put now these things out of your thoughts.
In your memory I live on.

Remember not my fight for breath;
remember not strife.

Please do not dwell upon my death,
but celebrate my life.

~ Constance Jenkins

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Change of Heart

Before Aviana died, I was able to take any other topic somewhat in stride, except for her service. I imagine no one really looks forward to this sort of thing. I definitely had my hand waving high up in the air, screaming, "Pick me! I want anywhere, but here!" Out of all that was cringe worthy, I was looking forward to this the very least. There was something about her service, which instantly turned my red blood, blue. I would twist, shift, and submit a request for an immediate conversation change. Why? I didn't know. Nor was I interested in taking the time to figure it out.

I knew it was inevitable. The service and I would meet soon enough, but while Aviana was still with us, I wanted it to stay away. I felt awful for pushing it aside. For feeling the way I did. I knew it wasn't a bad thing. I felt I was being disrespectful to Aviana, and every one of our family members and friends who had loved us along the way. I had to sit with it, to go with it. I didn't have a choice. There wasn't any energy left, or should I say, any left to put in that direction...

Looking back, I was also preserving what remained of my heart. I could only handle so much. The vision of a day, which included everyone who loved us gathered together to pay his or her final respects, undeniably shredded what was left. At that moment, the very last place I wanted to be was there, surrounded in anyone, and especially without her.

After Aviana died, I thankfully had a change of heart. All I wanted was to honor the most inspiring girl I had ever known.

It was then that I realized all the reasons I was previously rendered silent on the subject of Aviana's service. Everything felt daunting, overwhelming. It wasn't one - it was two. Two in one. Of course it was. How was this all going to come together? How were we to plan a service for our, not one, but two daughters? How do we properly honor them both? How do we properly put together a service representing how we feel, which is sad for the vibrant little girl whose life was cut way too short, but happy for our other little girl whose life was honored by releasing her loving spirit? How do we plan a day which perfectly meshes together a Cloud 9/we finally freed her feeling with our beautiful baby is dead and for the rest of our lives we will have to live within that shadow with our only hope in giving her life meaning...that is, until we too, are no more. We had a huge undertaking upon us. There were times I wasn't grateful for the extra time we had to plan Aviana's service, but in light of all this, I suppose I should have always been!

We spent many days and nights, but I think we found the perfect balance. Through readings, our family, pictures and music - we shared Aviana with everyone. Both the trying, and not so trying times were just as special as each other. They each made her exactly who she was, and through it all - she loved, and was especially loved. And in the end, that's all that really matters.

I have shared some from her service with you, but I'd like to share a little more in the next few posts.