Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sent Away With Love

Aviana's birthday couldn't have been a more perfect day in and on Lake Tahoe. With our combined ashes we set off to our three chosen destinations. 

Our first stop was in front of our new house. We wanted to be able to look out our sliver of window, off our back deck, or drive down the road and know Kama and Aviana were with us always. 

We decided to release the little sea turtle, which contained a combination of the two first.

Next, we decided to place them in front of my dad's house, and for all of the very same reasons. I grew up there so his house and the entire surrounding forest have a complete hold on my heart.

Aviana Reese Hodder

Sent Away with the Words of a Love Song

August 16, 2006

October 26, 2013

We couldn't help but laugh and joke because the Aviana one would not sink. Dave was saying things like, "Avi do it!" We were also joking and saying how it's all in her time, and by her own agenda - not ours.  To this day, we still can't make her do anything!

I think the funniest part was at the previous stop we spent a good amount of time because it was our first. There was a real lull towards the end, kind of like we weren't sure when to go. We had rented the boat, so I finally said, "Come on guys, let's go, time is money!" So when this one wouldn't sink, Roger yelled out, "Come on Avi, time is money! " We couldn't stop laughing : ) 

Avi sure has a way about her and we love everything, even her extreme stubborn streak.


Our last remaining place was Lakeview Beach. This is the beach I spent my entire childhood. We would take the boat out every weekend and this was the place we would pull in and spend most all of our time. 

Our dog Baxter would pull us around on our rafts for hours. We would walk across to Lakeview Pizza and often times order food and bring it back to the beach. Lakeview is where my dad hung out the majority of my life. It's also where I worked from the age of 13 to the time they closed down when I was about 20. We all miss them terribly. It's now Old Range Steakhouse and is the place pictured with the green roof. 

From a very young age, my cousins and I would carry our rafts down to this beach and spend the entire day in the lake or catching crawdads from the pier with string and a little piece of raw bacon (eww)!

While Aviana was well, we took her down there a few times, and Kama many in her life.

There wasn't a question about wanting Aviana and Kama intertwined with our past, present, and future lives with Lakeview Beach. 

It was perfect how the Kama Girl one (although both ashes were contained) was being placed here as our dog Baxter sadly passed away crossing the street from Lakeview to this beach.

Kama Girl

The Reason Why

November 16, 2002

October 26, 2010

The three of us had the most enjoyable, peace filled day on the lake. It was full of everything I'd hoped for: reflection, happiness, living, light, love and especially calm.

* * *

We reserved just a little of the combined ashes to bury at both our and my dad's house on the 1 year anniversary. Our friends and neighbors Jen and Scott just so happened to give us the perfect going away gift - one of my very favorite trees - a Dogwood. I have left an open invitation to my mom and Gary. If they so choose - they are welcomed to come up and be a part of that day with us.  

* * *

We returned the boat and decided to walk over for a nice lunch overlooking the lake. Uncle Roger, Dave and I thoroughly enjoy each other's company. We always have the best laughs and great conversation - whether light, extremely in depth, or anything in between. This day in particular was nothing but light, as hoped for : ) 

After lunch, we stopped by Skylandia Beach and took Rainey for a swim. 

I don't know, do you think she likes Tahoe?

After the beach, it was our plan to go out to dinner to further celebrate Aviana's birthday. Dave and I decided we'd rather stay home and cook a nice dinner. I opened Pinterest and had my dad and his friends pick whatever they were in the mood for. We shopped, cooked and had a really nice night together. 

Since the accident this day has previously been indescribable. The culmination of incredible love and knowing otherwise in your heart of hearts is a pain which can't be explained. On this day, of this year, I felt the most overwhelming peace. Aviana was with me the entire day. It's as though we are one - as though we have an understanding. I don't know if that makes sense, but it makes perfect sense to me. 

Our girl was here for the exact time she was supposed to be, and now she's gone. And while at times it can be desperately difficult to live without her - at the end of the day, we know she's where she's supposed to be and wasn't here for one moment longer.

I always find solace in that deep down knowing, and ultimately that's what carries me through each and every day. 


  1. Beautiful, peaceful, perfect day for you three, Jen. I'm so happy to read that your day went just the way you planned. You have some wonderful photos to remember the day, though I know the memories will remain vivid in your hearts, regardless.

    I like what you say about Avi's days. I believe what I read in the Bible about God knowing our days, even before we are born. We can't understand His ways. He's God. We're not. But there are things we can know. One of those things is His peace, when we trust that fact.

    Best wishes in Tahoe.
    Nancy in the Midwest

    1. Thank you Nancy. It's interesting, I've never read the Bible, but what you wrote resinates strongly within me. I feel it's not for me to understand, and I definitely trust like never before. I feel God. I feel Aviana. I feel them. I sometimes don't know how to separate the two - like where one ends and the other begins, so I just go with it, and don't try to analyze it. Often times they are one in the same but for the best in us - guiding us, loving us...

      Thank you so much for your love and support...always!


  2. Beautiful... I love the flowers spread over the water and that Aviana will always be with you. Prayers and blessings for peaceful memories of your beautiful girls.

    1. Thank you so much Sarah. I hope you are receiving my messages when I send them like this? I know you said you wanted to email me something in the past. I wasn't sure how to send you my address. My new one is homeswettahoe@yahoo.com : )

  3. Beautiful........Best Wishes in your new home in Tahoe!


    1. Thank you Denise! I so appreciate the well wishes!

  4. It looks so beautiful & serene. Water and lakes are so calming I think. I can't imagine how it could have been more personal or more beautiful. So glad your Uncle Roger was able to be there with ya'll.

    1. Channe...it was exactly as you are saying. I too, am so happy Uncle Roger was with us! He's the BEST!

      Love you!

  5. A beautiful day for a beautiful family in such a beautiful place. Oh, and I do think Rainy thinks it's beautiful too. :) Your pictures are amazing, such vibrant colors.
    Love to you in your new homestead.
    cindy in nc

    1. I have a question ? :) What does the ' THE REASON WHY" on Kamas "tribute" mean? I can imagine what Avianas mean , but not Kamas, I'm sure it has to do with love, and has special meaning to you, will you share? <3

    2. sorry, that was me again, above, cindy in nc

    3. Thank you Cindy! Rainey is in heaven! She hasn't been this happy since her best friend Snoozer and Aviana passed away.

      I wore a necklace with the saying, "The Reason Why" and Kama, Aviana & Rainey below. The title The Reason Why comes from a Little Big Town song. Kama first taught me how to love in the most unconditional way. She first showed me that I would go to the ends of the earth for another, that I would do anything and go to any lengths. I had never before felt that kind of love. She is the reason I felt a love that was truly magical. To me, there is still never a love like one between a dog and human. It's an unspoken depth and knowing.

      Before the accident, Aviana and I were surely well on our way, but after - we developed something similar - an unspoken knowing. It was such a beautiful thing.

      Thank you for asking : )

    4. I truly get IT!! :) I just knew it had to do with LOVE, and how I know so well the love between a dog and a human like ourselves and the love between our human children, not everyone has that in them, they miss the most "magical" feeling I believe we feel here in our earthly life journey.
      I am one to be totally obsessed with our pets, especially with our dogs (3), we also have 2 cats and 3 chickens ,that are now free loaders :)
      Some people I know think Im insane, as I have brought our chickens in the house if we have gotten tornado warnings, I.ve also brought them in and bathed to try help them pass an egg(call me crazy) I don't mind, I do what my heart tells me to do when it comes to LOVE ;)
      cindy in nc

  6. Love you so much, Jen. And I have to add, you look absolutely beautiful in your new (old) surroundings. I am crying happy tears as I type this. Can't get the right words out, but I'm truly moved by these photos.