Five Years -

Five years ago, after a sleepless night of agonizingly desperate prayers for God to breathe life
into Avery and wake up his brain in the morning, a bird began to sing in the dark to herald the dawn.

Every year for the last 5 years, after a sleepless night (always), 
a bird sings outside my window to herald the dawn, and tears slip down my cheeks. 

Five years ago the unthinkable happened, Avery was safe in the arms of Jesus at just 16 mo old.
The little boy who I was Auntie Jemmie to was gone and I was inconsolable.

The sad memories break my heart. Yet the memory of his happy self continues and with it, 
my love of doing happy things on his Homegoing day. So far today? 

I've gone to get donuts with Mama, a huge rainstorm deluged our town, making us drive home making literal waves
(we took Avery to the beach and then us adults got stung by jellies (it was fantastic)), 
we made giddy dashes through the rain getting COMPLETELY soaked, only to collapse in the car,
laughing for the first time this week, and I played happy songs that I think Avery would have loved:
"Woody's Roundup" from Toy Story and "Behind the Clouds" from Cars, and then I splashed for 
10 minutes in a ginormous puddle on our driveway. 

Every year I say that he's changed my world and every year it's true. 

In his name, hundreds of dollars for an unknown orphan's life saving surgery. 
In my auntie name, I propelled my photography business into what I dreamed 
would be a blessing for families, and from what I hear, it has been and continues to be. 

And most of all, in his name, he made me love harder and deeper and every-moment-counts-love,
like the bottom right pic, blurry and laughing because Auntie Jemmie just stuffed
his two little brothers full of sugary donuts and it was the best idea ever. 

You're so missed, Avery, and always will be, but I thank God we will see you again,
and we've already said our last goodbye. See you soon, Avery man. Love you forever.

Love always to Audra, John, Henry & Toby. 

- Jean Marie -