Aveline Mae was born on July 8, 2016 at 6:01 PM, at just 24 weeks of gestational age. Her coming into this world so early was not part of the plan. I had just two days with my daughter before she passed away. She was in the NICU the entire time and Leah was also recovering from an emergency c-section. The entire time just felt like this unreal, impossible dream I was living. I remember quite a bit of those few days but it would be remiss of me not to mention just how much it didn’t feel real. It was both precious and traumatic at the same time.
When we were rushed to the hospital via ambulance in the afternoon of July 8, my life as I had grown to understand it for the last 30 years would never be the same again.
I took every second of Leah’s pregnancy for granted. I was wound up with problems in my marriage, the stresses of work and whatever else life was throwing my way. On innumerable occasions, I would complain about my lot in life. I would ask why I deserved any of the issues I dealt with on a daily basis. These issues would supersede absolutely all other aspects of life. I always assumed Ava would be born on October 25, 2016 without issue. I would hold her in my arms and life would be way better after that. My actions were evidence of my taking that assumption for granted. The one thing I can say I do on occasion feel guilt about is how much I took Ava for granted.
When I said this journey was about purpose, I chose that word for Ava. In just two days she completely changed my perspective of the world. Everything was different. Although I can still fall into the routine of complaining about high-class problems from time to time, I have never been given more of a purpose to live. Ava taught me that the meaning of life is to be decent and as a man I should take care of my wife and be the father that Ava deserves. Ava taught me that life is not only fragile, it is unpredictable and does not operate within the bounds of what is just.
By simply grabbing my finger for a few moments while I sat next to her in the NICU, Ava taught me what it really feels like to be a father of such a beautiful little girl. There isn’t a feeling that compares to it. I picture that moment often, trying so hard to remember the feeling of her touch and the strength of her grip. Being just 1 pound, 7.5 ounces, her strength was impressive. Every fatherly feeling I have in me today is a gift from her. Every bit of inspiration I need in life all comes from her.
I miss her so terribly much. I can drift off into a dream where she is here when I stare at a picture too long. She will always be my first baby, my first daughter. For the rest of my life I will miss her and remember her.
I love you with all of my heart Ava, I sure hope I can see you again some day.