Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Her Honor

Last Thursday was Ava's due date. Instead of celebrating her birth and holding her in our arms, we grieved her death and our arms were empty. While we are absolutely devastated by her death, we wanted to attempt to experience some form of "beauty from ashes" and honor her. After talking it over, David and I decided to ask our friends, family, and coworkers to do a random act of kindness in her honor, on her due date. Buy a neighbor flowers or a stranger coffee, pick up garbage in a neighborhood, or send an encouraging note, etc. etc.
We then asked them to share what they did via text message, Facebook, or email. Later that evening after we wrote letters to Ava and then released our 19 pink balloons into the sky, we came home and read all the ways people showed kindness and honored her that day. 

Knowing that Ava's life impacted people across the world on her due date in the form of random acts of kindness, is a balm to our grieving hearts while paying tribute to her beautiful, short life here on earth. We would like to thank each person and every family who participated. You are each a blessing to us. Below is a list of beautiful acts of kindness that people did in remembrance of our sweet angel, Ava Grace Hoffman.

  • Made care packages filled with food, hygiene supplies, and resource information for the homeless and passed them out 
  • Paid for someone else's gas
  • Bought a young woman's grocery items that were not covered by her EBT
  • Baked goodies and shared them with coworkers
  • Donated girl clothes to a mommy in need.
  • Baked bread for an elderly neighbor. 
  • Baked cookies to share with a shut in neighbor
  • Purchased coffee(s) for a person(s) in line
  • Bought movie tickets for a couple in line at the movie theater
  • Watched a friends kids unexpectedly
  • Picked up trash in the neighborhood
  • Sent an encouraging note
  • Donated to a charity in Ava's name
  • Paid for a friend's coffee
  • Shared freshly picked cherries from an orchard with a neighbor
  • Purchased a bouquet of flowers for a shut in neighbor
  • Paid for someone else's parking
  • Gave a homeless girl  bus tickets.
  • Spontaneously took care of grandkids for three days
  • Donated money to Compassion International's fund for maternity and infant care in third world countries in Ava's name
  • Donated a quilt in her honor
  • Tipped a waitress extra
  • Saved a seat on the bus for an elderly lady
  • Ordered two hoodies from the crossfit gym and gifted one to my roommate 
  • Sent money to a friend who is fighting cancer, to help with medical bills
  • Left flowers for a shut in neighbor
  • At work and wanted to love on the kids and volunteers today. We had 69 kids and 6 volunteers today, so I made sure they all knew how special and loved they were
  • Showed kindness to my husband after he annoyed me
  • Helped take care of a dog who had extensive oral surgery
  • Helped two teachers pack up their classroom
  • Purchased a stranger's daughter her first pair of tap shoes and also bought her brother a toy
  • Showed extra love, care, grace, and patience to my girls
  • I let an older woman go ahead of me at the store
  • Made bracelets to pass out to friends
  • There is a little boy in my neighborhood who comes from a very poor family. I saw him the other day when he was playing outside and he was wearing broken shoes that were at least a size too small. I have been planning on going to a store and buying him a pair of shoes for days now. What better day to do it and what better reason than to celebrate your amazing strength in Ava's honor?
  • Donation in Ava's name to March of Dimes. While this is a small gesture I hope it reinforces that no life is without meaning and worth
  • Donated to the Thinking of Nikki Foundation in Ava's honor. The foundation helps families and children in Pennsylvania dealing with pediatric cancer
  • Asked someone to dinner
  • Wrote an apology letter to an old friend
  • Helped a homeless family

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 19

June 19th, 2014. Last October I couldn't wait for that day to arrive. It was Ava' s due date. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with her, I began dreaming and imagining all the fun things we would do together and as a family. Little did I know that on January 14th, 2014 I would be staring at her motionless body on the ultrasound screen and hearing the words,

 "I'm sorry, but I can't find a heartbeat."

June 19th is two days away. Instead of welcoming our baby girl into this world, we are grieving all of the tomorrows that will never be.

There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

7-19-14 will come and go without you, my little love, but you will always be in our hearts.

You are loved.

You are missed.

You will always be remembered.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rocked by Rocky

Yesterday at the gym, I found myself wiping away tears and attempting to hold back the sobs that were engulfing my body. Moments earlier I had ran into an acquaintance who had known I was pregnant, but didn't know Ava had died. She approached me excitedly and asked, " Where's your baby?!"

 I told her the news.

She cried with me, hugged me, and told me how sorry she was for my loss. By the time we parted, I was late to my spin class. I was half tempted to skip it altogether, but felt an urge to go in anyway. I jumped on a bike, buried my head down and pedaled with all my strength. As I cycled, I angrily thought.

It is the month of June.

My belly should be bulging with life.

I should be feeling Ava's adamant kicks, communicating to me that she is running out of space in my womb.

I should be waddling like a penguin.

I should be finishing up the touches of Ava's owl themed nursery.

 David should be installing our second car seat.


I am grieving.

My womb is empty.

My baby weight is gone.

Ava's nursery is boxed up and in storage.

Her car seat has been donated.

June 19th is speeding toward me and I am dreading it. What should be a marvelous, joyous day of bringing Ava into this world will be replaced with mourning what will never be. My internal thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a voice. A man's voice. I recognized it instantly - Sylvester Stallone. Startled, I looked up and around but he was no where to be seen.

"Let me tell you something you already know.The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!"

Chills went down my spine as it ended. Hearing Rocky's speech played out on my instructor's iPod rocked my broken, scarred heart. For the remainder of spin class, I mentally processed what he had said. When I left my class, my perspective on life was a little different.

I will still be mourning Ava's death on her due date, but I don't want her legacy to be that her death permanently broke me. Instead, her life and my love for her will help sustain my survival.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baby Shoes

I had a feeling when I got pregnant for the second time that I was having a little girl. I purchased a  little pair of black dress shoes and dreamed excitedly of when she would wear them.

 I took a picture of her little black dress shoes along with all the beautiful flowers, blanket, and cards that we received after her death. Her little shoes are stored in her memory box. Today, I like to imagine Ava playing on a beach somewhere with no need for shoes, the sand tickling her precious little toes and feet.