It’s currently 4:24am and it’s one of those nights when I just can’t seem to fall asleep. My mind begins racing each time I close my eyes. Most of these thoughts are flashbacks, and not of the pleasant kind. They’re the memories that I try hardest not to fall into during the day because if I do, it’s hard to function. The feelings provoked by certain recollections about losing Ava are ones I couldn’t explain regardless of how hard I tried. Some of them are painfully private – and when I’m in that place, it’s extremely lonely. Usually when this happens I try to count silently or pray in order to get out of my own head and focus on something else. It isn’t working tonight.
Yesterday I went to the cemetery alone to visit Ava’s place of rest. Sometimes if I’m already out and about, it just makes more sense for me to go alone and let Ryan go on his own after work. We’ve had probably 18 inches of snow fall in the last few days, and the cemetery has yet to plow at all. While I’m attempting to drive my 4-cylinder car, with tires clearly not meant for winter, down the snowy path to Ava’s grave site, I realize that I don’t even know if I’m actually on the concrete path. It’s impossible to navigate. I make it to the bottom of the hill and around the curve to where Ava is buried and I quickly jump out, whisper “I love you,” give her kisses and run back to my car. It’s freezing, but I’d drive through hell and high water just for a moment of peace at her resting place. As I’m making my way around the bend and back up another hill to attempt to leave the cemetery, I become stuck — wheels are spinning, and every time I try to reverse in order to get enough momentum to press forward, I just keep falling further and further backward. Eventually I became so stuck that I know I’m not ever getting out on my own.
I called Ryan at work, and as always, he rushed to my side. He tried and tried to maneuver the car to break it free. He tried improvising, using strength, whatever he could do to attempt to get me out of there, but he couldn’t figure out how. So, we called my dad. He, too, rushed to my side, and eventually (okay actually, within like 5 minutes of my dad getting there), I was finally unstuck and on my way.
To be honest, I was a little pissed. The cemetery is the one place that I can go to visit my sweet girl, and I can’t even get back there because my car sucks in the snow and the city hasn’t taken the time to send a plow truck through there in a week. But the whole experience had me thinking about how closely it aligns with my life lately.
I try to manage the turmoil and grief I experience every day from losing Ava on my own, and I always end up stuck — tires spinning, exhausted, trying to dig my way out. And then I lean on Ryan for rescue.. every time. Fix this. Fix me. Fix the fact that Ava’s gone. Make it better. Figure it out and find a way. But try as he may, despite every ounce of hope, strength, and love he pours over me on my hardest days, he can’t fix it. And when he can’t fix it, I keep reaching out for someone or something else to do so. But the truth is, the only one who can dig me out of this lonely dessert of thick grief is God. My relationship with God and my attitude — both of which, to put it bluntly, have sucked lately. I have a feeling that until I figure out how to work on these two things, my tires are just going to keep spinning out of control. I will continue trying to take two steps backward in order to take a step forward, and I’ll continue falling further and further behind. My husband will continue to feel inadequate because I keep expecting him to fix it and he won’t be able to. And life will keep spiraling down. This is not what I want — for the memory of my daughter to cause a downward spiral of my life. I don’t want to spend this life just going through the motions and being angry and miserable until the day God calls me home. I want Ava’s short life to bring joy to mine, to make me live with eyes wide open, fully present and full of love. I want people to see the fire and power of her life through me. She deserves that. Ryan deserves that. I know that this goal is a journey. I won’t get there overnight. But holding onto the hope that I can get there someday; well, that’ll have to be enough for now.