39 sentiments shared

Before and After. {Six years}.

Six years.

The third of February, 2007. I think of it and in my head, I see a cartoon layout. The one where there is a jagged line down the frame showing two different moments. The morning and the unknowing. The laughter and the chatter and the normality of it all. And then, still on that same day, the opposite of that. The mayhem and the yelling and the panic. The allknowing.

Then the calm. The utter shock and the staring out the window of the police car en route to hospital. The surreal. Hating that I couldn’t see the ambulance ahead and hating more when I saw it pulled over on the side of the road a little later. I knew what it meant. Her Daddy holding my hand and telling me we would be okay. Not that it would be okay, but we would. One day.

Arriving at hospital in my pyjamas and realizing I had nothing else with me and wondering why that mattered and knowing that I had to ring my Mum. Seeing my darling girl and seeing the tubes and lines and beeping machines and wondering how, how, how?

Traveling to a new hospital and being met by my sister and not recognizing her through the veil of shock. The eternal waiting in PICU and wondering why Ava was taking so long to arrive. They didn’t tell us she was too unstable for the one hour journey.

But she did arrive and they added more tubes and gave us less hope and we sat by her bedside in silence. I focused on her toes so I wouldn’t have to see everything else and even with her there, with her right there beside me, I could not find her.

This day will always be the day we lost Ava. Her headstone may read otherwise but for me, the third is the last day I had her here on this Earth..my sweet girl. Happy. Perfect. Adoring and adored.

In the days that followed, no..in the years that followed, I wondered so many things. Would life ever feel normal again? Would my children grow up happy? Would Crayton and I make it through? Would we ever feel whole again? It does, they are, we have and we do. Time helps so much to heal, if you let it. I have spoken endlessly about perception and priorities and gratitude. Six years have given me more heartbreak and more insight than I could have possibly imagined and today, through the tears and the wishing, I am still so thankful to have survived it..with my family, and my heart, in tact.

Superprincess, thankyou for you.


39 shared sentiments

  1. jayne says:

    I have a before and after of that day as well Sheye. It does not feel like 6 years ago. I saw your blog post of Ava dancing, that’s my before. I smiled and felt warm at that precious sight. And then a little of the news filtered through. That was the after. I can’t describe it. I just remember crying out loud for a family I had never ‘met’ and a little girl whose images had warmed my heart.

    Time is the greatest healer – thank goodness for that.

  2. Denise Armbruster says:

    I did not know before only after but by reading every word you wrote soaking up every picture you shared I had to for a minute think really hard if I did know before. Thinking of you with a lot of love and goodness. <3
    xx Denise xx

  3. Fernanda says:

    Six years, Ava.

    I still remember when I found your story and when I met you. It was when only was 1 year without you. Now?

    6 years, my darling. And I still don’t understand many things. I had not being in there when you died, but I feel I had.

    Our adored girl. Perfect. Happy. Beauty Full. Innocent. Superprincess.

    For me, February 3, 2007, is also the day you dissapeared from this earth. The day our hearts were shattered. The day your family, especially your mum, knew you were gone.

    Six years without you, my darling. I still see that day so far away but so close at the same time.

    Fernanda loves and misses you, darling girl.

    Fernanda xx

  4. Sitting here with tears streaming Sheye. I remember the early days so so clearly and the wishing and the hoping. Still, 6 years on, I just don’t believe that Ava isn’t with you physically.

    You are amazing.


  5. Steph says:

    Yes, Ava, thank you for you. xx

  6. Emily says:

    so much love to you and your family, sheye. xoxo

  7. Cecilia says:

    Such a beautiful and painful post.
    I share your pain, having lost a child myself. You captured my feeling exactly. Hugs and kisses for you on this day.

  8. k8 says:

    Six years.

    I remember the before as well – the fun, laughter, hazy, summer days, Fred Bare, Oilily, beautiful things.

    I remember the shock on the 3rd and feeling so helpless for you all. I remember praying for a gorgeous little girl and her family. I remember crying for you all. I remember so much how those first days, weeks were dark for someone like me who had never met you all but ‘knew’ you.

    Now, when I think of Ava, I think of her joy filled face. I think of pink and tutus. I think of all of the many people ALL OVER the world that she has bought together (through you). I think of love – the pureness of it. I think of lives changed because of Ava. She had a marvellous purpose in our lives.

    All my love Sheye xx

  9. Kristen says:

    I too have a before and after…..My heart shattered on May 17, 2012, when I lost my seven year old daughter, Molly. It started to break when we found out on September 22, 2010 that she was very sick. I have hope from reading your blog that someday life will be a little more “normal” and that my other children will grow up happy. I worry about these things a lot. Everyone says time heals, but right now it sure doesn’t feel like it. Thank you for sharing such hopeful words. Hugs to you and your family and kisses to your angel Ava.

  10. Susan Hayes says:

    Sheye, your words about Ava always make me stop and think about the people I love, and it reminds me to savor this time with them. Thank you, as always, for sharing your journey, and I wish you love and light as it continues with these two new souls.
    Sue, NYC

  11. Michelle says:

    I have been thinking of you and your gorgeous family.
    Sending you much love. xxx

  12. Kalimna says:

    Your strength and insights are a gift to everyone of us who reads your words and loves your beautiful images. You, Ava and your family are a gift too. Thank you for sharing your life and thoughts with us all. You and Ava are in my heart today. Love Kalimna

  13. Svenja says:

    I met you and Ava in 2009. For me, there is no before. For me, there is a woman that shares her feelings, her pictures, her good and not so good moments. You shine and show other women that there is a way out. Therefore I totally understand the SUPER in front of the princess. Someone whose story touches so many hearts and changes so many lifes, absolutely deserves a super. I am so looking forward to meet the twins. Life is unbelievable in its hurtful moments as well as with love.

  14. Jen says:

    You are one amazing lady Sheye…..I’m so glad you are able to express all that you feel. I’ve known this date was coming up …. I will always remember because happened only a handful of weeks after we arrived home from China with Ebony. I always think of my joy at that time and your heart wrenching pain. Little Ava ~ with you for such a short time. Her fingerprints left all over your soul for eternity. Words will never even come close to expressing how I feel for you…..all of you xxx

  15. Jen Wright says:

    I can’t believe it has been 6 years. Ava still travels into my thoughts so often. Thank you so much for sharing her with us. Sending you so many wishes for a bright and beautiful future. Xo

  16. Niki says:

    hugs to u and your family, I think of u all often and ur sweet Ava, I remember reading her story and seeing her pics and thinking how does 1 survive such a loss, how does 1 ever get thru the biggest loss any1 could ever encounter, the loss of their precious child, I cried so much 4 u, thinking I could never survive this…..lil did I know I would be joining this heartwrenching club the next year on 12th July 2008 when my beautiful 4.5mth old son Maxx would suddenly be taken from me, sadly my marriage ended 2mths later thru his actions and I barely survived losing Maxx, but somehow we do, we have too, its now our job, our legacy to ensure the precious memories of these beautiful souls gone on before us are remembered with honour, dignity and in the hope others will hear their stories be uplifted with their pure beauty and maybe another child will be saved thru their story……bless u all and sweet dreams, god speed lil Ava and Maxx…soar high precious angels

  17. Lorraine says:

    I haven’t visited your blog for a few years but for some reason I thought of Ava today. I have a superprincess of my own now, Mabel Ivy, three and a half years old and obsessed with everything pink. Thank you for sharing your story – for reminding me of what’s truly important, and to take more photos.

  18. Nomi says:

    Thinking about you and your beautiful family. Much love sent your way xoxo

  19. Nic says:

    Thinking of you all today xxx

  20. bridget says:

    Perspective is a powerful ally for our personal growth. Big hugs to you and yours, especially the little ones who will soon arrive. We are so excited for you and this new chapter of your lives.

  21. Claire says:

    Hugs. Love. And more hugs. xx

  22. Rachel says:

    Hi Sheye, one of the followers on my blog led me to you, to this post, today. Tomorrow it will be 4 torturous months since I lost my darling Hamish, only 20 months old in a tragic accident. I read your blog and it gives me a glimmer of hope that we may make it through the horrendous pain and the agonising longing. All my love to you and your beautiful family. Rachel x

  23. Sylvia says:

    All my love Sheye xx

  24. dearest sheye –
    you are always on my mind + in my heart. annie and i think of ava so much – we see the color pink and we see ava. annie continues to blow kisses up to heaven and is comforted to know that her nana is most likely enjoying tea with your superprincess. we find comfort in that thought and send that warm feeling right to you. sweet precious ava, you are loved + cherished always. xoxoxoxoxo

  25. Time oh time Sheye – thank heavens for time. As I approach 10 years I too remember “that” day with the jagged line down the middle. Life too has that jagged line down the middle doesn’t it – the line that both in sad times and happy times teaches us things that we never new possible – and points us in new directions that we never dreamed of! Sending the biggest of hugs for what is both a bittersweet time but an oh so precious time for your family. Oh look now you have made me cry – my fingers and toes are crossed for the safest of days ahead x Leanne x

  26. lizalikesphotography says:

    Heya Sheye,
    What you & your family have been through (& continue to) – I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

    I’m glad to read time has allowed you introspection & perspective.

    From this outsiders view – Your strength of character & endurance is absolutely inspirational & your generosity in sharing what can only be described as the ultimate tragedy for a parent leaves me wanting to give you the biggest cuddle! Alas, it will have to be a ‘virtual’ one.
    I’m sure writing those words cannot be an easy venture & I’ll wager that many tears were shed in doing so. I applaud you.
    Nothing but BIG LOVE Sheye x

  27. Ninka says:

    Thinking of you and your girl, always <3

  28. Ninka says:

    Thinking of you and your girl, always xx

  29. Jennifer says:

    Thinking so much of you and yours. You’re amazingly strong and resilient.

  30. Heidi says:

    Just sending love, and lots of it.

  31. Kati says:

    I think and pray for your family as if it were my own. I’ll always remember you and your Super Princess! xxx

  32. Amber says:

    You were on my mind first thing this morning when I woke up. I can’t believe it has been six years. RIP Superprincess Ava. Much love to your whole family as we follow you on a new journey of love and laughter that you are about to take on. I can’t wait to see these new little beauties (as well as Ivy and her brothers) grow up!

  33. William Carney says:

    I only started to read about Ava just this last year but cried a number of times reading your stories. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Ava. I wish you well.

  34. Helena says:

    Photography is not your only talent …

    I can never even begin to phatom what you and your family have gone through …

    But you have a way with words that makes my heart feel unbearably heavy and like somebody is trying to pull my guts out with their bare hands …

    And tears … of both sorrow for a Superprincess I only know from your blog and pictures … And joy that you have survived …

    You also have a talent when it comes to writing …

  35. Kylie & family says:

    Remembering on bad days that with time the sun will come out again is what pain and grief taught me. The only way out is through.
    Thinking of Ava, you and your beautiful family. With love, Kylie & familyxxxxo

  36. Lisa Jay says:

    Oh Sheye the way you write. I’ve been reading this story. Your story. Ava’s story.. through many of your posts for years now. It has just hit me how amazing it is that yes you have survived with your heart & your family in tact. That is inspiring & just so good. Thank you for sharing your heart, your journey & all the hope that comes with it. xx

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  38. reading back through your last few posts as I was looking for update on the twins. I love your blog, your heart, the very real way you have shared your journey through motherhood and grief and how it’s all come around full circle to see you with the twins, well that’s just so beautiful it makes my heart sing. I am going through a very hard journey now as my husband is fighting terminal brain cancer. I have seen how you have come through this with grace, and I know it’s still hard, yet you live life and that is a blessing and it’s very encouraging and gives me hope, that I too, can come through this and be okay. that my two beautiful darling daughters, will also be able to one day be okay from all of this. I have an Ava too, and we talk about your sweet Ava a lot. She knows all about your Ava and your story will forever be a part of us Sheye. xoxo tara

  39. Katie says:

    On November 9th 2013 I lost my boyfriend, the love of my life, my future. We had just begun building our life together. We weren’t even fully unpacked in our new apartment. He was 30 yrs old, but to his parents he was their baby. I replay the moment I found out over and over in my mind. I hope one day I will be able to remember more than just that moment. You give me hope that I will. I know the circumstances of our pain is very different but I know the anguish of the word forever and I thank you for the opportunity to share it as I am now. I walk around everyday pretending I’m healing, but in reality that hasn’t begun yet. Thank you, I will never forget your daughters precious face or name, or the strange sense of peace this story has given me as I lay awake tossing and turning and thinking of him tonight in my half empty bed I know my heart is not alone.

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