Ava has weighed very heavily on my heart the last couple of days. For the most part, I have this awareness every day of the fact Ava is gone. Sometimes that just means I know she isn’t with me, sometimes it means I miss her, or sometimes it just means I think about her in some way. The last 48 hours have been much more difficult. It has been more difficult to just simply look at a picture of her without it making me sad to the point where I tell myself I can’t look anymore. She is more at the front of my mind than in the back. I just wish more and more she could be here. I see that picture of her perfect face and I just picture holding her in my arms or feeling her grab my finger. There is no reason for my thinking this way. Nothing triggered it. I just woke up and felt that way.
Yesterday, we were stopping at my mom and dad’s house in the evening. We were really just passing through with no plans to stay. Leah and I were talking in the car on the way there and I told her I just didn’t want to stay there long. I honestly told her that I just didn’t think I could handle being around my niece that day. This was not her fault, which is important for me to mention and is not stated with any sort of anger. I just felt it was particularly more difficult than most days. I wanted to just stop by and leave before my brother and my niece would show up. They had dinner plans with my mom and dad.
We got wrapped up in conversation which eventually went past 6:00 PM. My brother and my niece arrived. They both came in the house and not too long after they arrived she was already saying my name. Sometimes she just seems to be drawn to me, I don’t really know why. I never thought I was someone who was very good with kids. I tend to feel awkward around them but this has somewhat subsided as time has went on. The point is, I don’t see how I am any more special than any other family member. However, I will say that I do hold that feeling close, even if I don’t understand why she can be drawn to me. Maybe she does that with everyone and I just don’t know it.
I can’t remember why, but I eventually picked her up. I had reluctance from the moment I saw her because I was having one of those days where I missed Ava a lot. When those feelings are more raw than normal for me, it is tough to be around children, but even tougher when they are your family. Even tougher when they’re girls. As I picked her up, she started asking me what everything was. She would point to the fridge, magnets on the fridge, calendars on the fridge, the handles on the fridge, the water dispenser… I would be telling her what all these things were. She would then repeat what I was saying, all be it in baby English.
I’m already holding back tears because all I can think about is how I will never get to do this with Ava. I will never hold her and answer questions and teach her things, no matter how insignificant. We walked out into the breakfast area and looked at this photo collage of family photos. I started asking her who everyone was. She eventually said, “That’s my daddy,” or some version of that. I will never hear Ava say that, I will never see her in someone’s arms pointing out her daddy in a picture. It just tore me apart on the inside. She eventually wanted down so she could walk around which was a good thing. I couldn’t handle much more.
We all talked a few minutes longer and then decided to leave. My niece was very quick to give me a hug and kiss to leave. She is a very sweet child, one that melts my heart with very little effort. It just happened to be on this day that for every heart-melting moment, my heart was also shattering for Ava. I don’t know that there is anything that I would not give up to have my Ava back. God, do I miss her. I want her here so badly. I see every photo of how perfect she was and how much I wish she could be here in my arms. I want all the chances father should have with their daughters. The ones I rationally know I will never have.
None of this is my niece’s fault or my brother’s fault. It’s nobody’s fault. I wish I could blame somebody but I can’t. I just miss my baby girl and I wish that there was something to make it all better sometimes.
Today was the same as yesterday as far as my feelings go. I still felt the same and I also was thrust into an uncomfortable situation at work. Beginning today, I am in this three-day training for those of us in finance positions at work. For most people, this would be an exciting career opportunity. You can meet people in your functional area from around the globe, build relationships and learn from one another. From a career perspective, this really is exciting. I will admit that learning these things are exciting for me, but being around people is not something I do well right now.
I was telling Leah that I have learned how to exist in the world today but I have not learned how to interact very well. I am already kind of awkward in the first place which doesn’t help. The session kicked off with some presenters and a bit of interactive dialogue between presenters and the trainees. Kids were referenced a few times. I remember a question being asked of us about whether or not we had kids by a show of hands. I didn’t raise mine. I felt awful. I didn’t raise my hand because I didn’t want anyone asking me about my children today. I at the same time didn’t want to be disrespecting Ava which is what I felt.
I was surrounded by people I didn’t know. Quite honestly with all that was going on in my life, I didn’t care to know people on a superficial level. I didn’t want to be asked about children because if I were to mention Ava and the fact that she died, nobody was going to get it. On top of that, I didn’t know how well I would even handle talking about her.
As training wore on, we had group sessions where we were working as smaller groups. This training session was also all about networking. So of course, evening activities were planned on our behalf (paid for by the company) where we would have the opportunity to network for a while. I couldn’t go because I had school tonight, but I don’t know that I would have anyway. Evening festivities were planned at a restaurant/bar downtown where many other bars are also located. People in my group were of course referencing what bars they wanted to go to and some of the local breweries they wanted to go to. People had flown in from all over the place for this training so this really was a sightseeing/vacation/training endeavor.
This of course just added on to the emotions I was already experiencing. I instantly told myself I shouldn’t really be there anyway because I can’t drink and shouldn’t drink. But how nice it would be to be able to do that. Instead, I am reminded how I need to attend more AA meetings in order to protect my sobriety. So, I just sit there while everyone else blabs about that while I can’t say much. And I miss my daughter and I don’t want to be around people. Not a good day. And I will do it all again tomorrow.
As much as I try not to complain, life can seem like I only live to just prevent or minimize the next disaster. Sometimes I wonder when I will just live. I wonder if that will ever happen with Ava gone.
My day did not end until 9:oo PM. I had not visited Ava so Leah picked me up from school and we stopped at cemetery before going home. It was late and it was dark but I didn’t care. There was no way I couldn’t see her and have a few moments in peace. I can only hope this gets easier someday. The last couple days have just been harder than usual. I still have hope, for now. And that’s a good thing.