Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Memory Lane

 Hello again! Our computer was on the fritz for a while so we ended up with a new one. I've been in the process of switching everything over for the past week or so. We decided to send all our music up to the Cloud via iMatch. I had no idea that for us it would be a weeklong process. Phew! 

I then took on a task which sounded harmless, that is, until I dove in. How couldn't I have known? I guess my head was still in the Cloud. I've been full steam ahead, streamlining our past five years of pictures. Hmmm. Some have asked if it's really necessary to take on now. My answer seems to be - if not now, then when? It's going to hurt all the same. So far I've deleted about 6000 duplicates, wasted, don't need, and why did I takes.

I've bounced everywhere this past week. I've cried so hard I could barely breathe. I've been completely and totally taken by both Aviana and Kama. I've laughed at how unbelievable that program was, but then cried thinking of how much I had to block out in order to continuously drag her through. At times, I've gone completely numb. Through fast pace scrolling, I've watched Aviana's true decline. I've visually seen the lights dim out, especially after Kama died. I watched how she really stopped trying. Stopped holding her head up, attempting to use her spoon, moving her arms. I saw her give up, and in. I braced myself with each and every surgery. I saw the pain on all of our faces, but especially hers. I remembered so much I had forgotten. I wanted so desperately to hold her, squeeze her, kiss her, to tell her just how much I love her!! But then, in just a few clicks, I was once again so thankful that she's gone. It's been exhausting at times. Thank God for the Pie and straight up Rainey pictures. They've helped to cover all the death we've endured in the past 5 years with Zoe, Señor, Kama, Snoozer, Chelsea, Zander, and Aviana. All our family pets and Aviana. It's unreal to scroll through and see three lying on the bed together and think, they're all gone

I still can't exactly believe what happened, where we've come from, and where we are today. I'm not finished sorting, but from where I'm sitting and after what my eyes have seen, I can say one thing...I'm happy we are still standing and in one piece. 

As hard as it is, it's also good to go through at the very same time. It's good to see how we all came together. It's nice to see that even through the hardest of hardship, we always kept our sense of humor and a positive attitude. Most importantly and best to see, there was a common thread running through every picture, and that was love! We surrounded Aviana and each other in it. We chose the best nurses, therapists, care providers, and school for her. As a family, we always tried to make as light of an extraordinarily heavy situation. 

I was happy to see the pictures reflected the overall way I feel about the past years.

I was contemplating putting five posts together summarizing each year of this journey.


Anyway, that was a side note gone awry!

Sitka was by far my favorite stop in Alaska. I would love to go back.

I'm a sucker for Sea Otters, so Dave and I decided to go on a tour. Their sweet faces make me crazy. We first walked around town with my mom.

This was St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church. 

My mom wanted to each light a candle for Aviana.


We saw many bald eagles on the tour. Can you believe the biggest reported nest is 6 X 8 feet. Yes, you read that right. I still can't believe it!

On the video for the tour, they showed the otters up and around the boat. Come to find out, these guys are shy and don't like to come close to the boat? I had my zoom lens on and they were still specks in the water. This picture is not only zoomed, but cropped! They are so cute! 

Thankfully the day unexpectedly turned into a whale watching tour. We saw four different whales. Three humpbacks - two full grown, one calf, and a gray whale. 

This was the mom and calf swimming right towards our boat. 

You can find Gray whales in shallow water. Interesting.


I forgot - back to Juneau for a second. 

I don't know if you've heard of this bar, but it was really neat. It's one with saw dust on the floor, and an old country singer twangin' on his guitar.

Every square inch was covered...

So I had to find a place to declare our love. I tried, and tried. The third time was the charm. The others didn't look right, and my pen was running out of ink.

This was brought to you from behind and under our table. Ohhh, and it was written upside down and flipped. YEAH!


  1. Wonderful post, Jen. You can rest assured that you did everything humanly possible to make life beautiful for your precious daughter. I remember when yall started the "institute". I kept thinking to myself - How in the world is that going to help that precious child? Those parents need a wake up call. But as I watched you mix up that awful looking food, and build those contraptions for Avi, and stick to all those schedules, I realized that love has no boundaries and we do everything we can possibly do for those we love. I have never been in your shoes, but I do know that we grasp at every possible straw to help our children. Mine are grown, and my grandchildren are growing up, but my husband and I still rise to every occasion to make life easier for all of them. God bless you, my friend. Vicki, Grammy from Memphis area

    1. Oh Vicki - I just laughed when I first read your comment, and am laughing now again. It did feel out of control at the time, but you are so right - love has no boundaries and we knew we had to go big, or go home. We had to know we tried the most extreme program in order to - in the end - have peace of mind. You are so right when you say every possible straw, but actually...there were many other straws we could have grasped and kept grasping for many, many, years to come. We knew very early on what was to be, and it was just a matter of time.

      You sound like wonderful parents and grandparents. I would so love to meet you! I can't believe we were in Memphis a few years ago and I didn't even get to see Grammy from Memphis area. It's okay. I LOVED Nashville and WILL be back!! Can I swing by then? : )

  2. Holy shit. I cannot begin to imagine how hard this past week has been. A new computer? LOL. No, I meant the photos. And music. Music. And photos. And a new computer and the headache that goes along with that. That's a pain in the ass. Forget everything else on your computer (photos etc....) but changing computers, THAT is the real problem, hahaha. Keep that sense of humor intact!

    You crack me up about all of your animal photos and your "likeyness" of animals. To me all I think of is how much they stink. I've been to several sea aquariums and all I remember is how much they smell. You and I could not be more alike in some things and more different in others. That's why we love each other so much, that and because I can tell you this instead of just nodding "uh huh. That sounds great. How fun. Uh huh. Wonderful." No BS with this friendship!!!!

    I love you and I want photos of the new computer! I'm going to lust after your new Mac.

    1. You said it.

      They don't stink. They only LOVE.

      Yeah, I'll send you a picture of the new computer. Stay tuned. It was a desktop turned to a single laptop on May 31st, which ended up being this...on Thursday ; )

  3. Jen, I love you. Amazing is always the word that first comes to my mind when I think of you. I can never think of anything different to write, so I rarely comment, but I am always amazed by you. Love, Beya

  4. Sure, leave it to Beya to leave this wonderful, artistic, loving thing to write while all I do is flip you shit. I second what mom said :) <3 <3 //////\\\\\\|||||||~~~~~~

  5. Seriously, I cannot believe how much crap has been thrown into your laps. It is SO UNFAIR for you to have to deal with the past 5 years in pictures, while on a timeframe. I am so sorry that technology made a hard choice for you. But through your words, you are still stronger than anyone I've ever met. The fact that you can type the words to help us understand is amazing. And sea otters are adorable :)

    1. Thank you so much Gina! Yes, the technology thing has been crazy! Oh my gosh girl.,'s been wild. I have been off the grid because it's been so extreme. Oh my gosh, aren't the otters adorable : ) : )

  6. I don't know how you did it. I find going through old pictures agonizing. It takes a lot out of me. It can be good though, remembering things forgotten, reliving the good times over again. Boo on your computer for making you do all that! Switching computers is such a hassle.

    Alaska looks more amazing than I had imagined it. The fog hovering over the mountains, it's gorgeous. Eagles, otters, whales... all so beautiful to see in their natural habitats. I wonder what it's like to live in one of those houses on that little island. It's very picturesque to say the least, but they seem awfully close to the water. I'm a south Louisiana girl though so maybe that's why I'm always worried about flooding. ha!

    Good to know they have country music even in Alaska. Represent :-)

    1. Oh Alaska how I miss you! My Louisiana crack me up with your flood talk!