It's the title of one of my favorite movies, the title of my blog, and something that I continue to whisper to myself on hard days, "Life is beautiful."
I've had to spend a lot of time reminding myself of that over the past few months. It's a challenge to believe those words when a beautiful child who worships the Lord, the Earth and all of God's creatures is taken from that world so soon. Wondering that, no matter who you are or what your relationship to that child may be can put you in a place so dark and so haunting, it's hard to find your way out.
There are moments when you're so angry at everything, you don't even know what made you angry in the first place. There are moments when you're so sad that anything can, and will, make you cry. And then there are those few moments of clarity that help to make sense of everything you're going through. A song on the radio or a text from a friend. Those little symbols that prove that despite the pain and the heartache, things are going to turn out okay.
I was so unbearably worried about our meet where we honored Avery. I stopped sleeping, and just ached for some guidance. I had to write the intro to the meet, where the announcer would ask Avery's family to come to the center of the floor and we would honor their daughter, their sister, our angel. It was a little like the blog I put off writing for two months after she died. I just didn't want to write it. It was something that made it really, extremely final.
I wrote it anyway, obviously... because I am a perfectionist to the core, and was not about to back out of something I agreed to do. Though they changed it a bit to be read by an announcer, and to fit into a script... this is what I originally had:
Today the Warhawks are honoring the memory of one of their biggest supporters, Avery McCarthy.
Eleven year old, Avery Johanna McCarthy, passed away in October on her way home from gymnastics practice. Avery was a member of our GymHawks gymnastics club and a participant at our summer camp over the past few years. As one of the biggest cheerleaders for the Hawks, Avery knew every gymnast on the team by name, which events they competed, and when they were having a bad day. Her smile could brighten the entire gym, and her beautiful laugh and goofy personality could make anyone’s day better. Avery had an old soul, and could often be found talking with a college gymnast rather than one in her own class. She had a deep understanding of life and faith, and her unconditional love and compassion for everyone she met was inspiring.
Despite her young age, Avery led her life by setting a positive example for those around her. Everyone mattered to Avery, no matter who they were, they were important.
Avery’s zest for life and passion for gymnastics were contagious. The Hawk’s will never forget how much they meant to Avery, and more importantly how much Avery meant to them. Today, the gymnasts are wearing orange ribbons in their hair, as Orange was one of Avery’s favorite colors. The team has also provided orange ribbons for the crowd to show support for their beloved GymHawk. Along with their ribbons, the Hawks are wearing T-shirts with the saying, “All day, AVERYday,” so that EVERY day, they will take the time to remember how precious life is, be thankful for the opportunity to be a member of the Warhawk family, and grateful to have known such an incredible little girl.
Please join us in welcoming Avery’s wonderful family, Bridget, Matt, Jadrian and Brody!
|Even though the team broke the school record, in outstanding fashion I might add, this was my favorite moment of the day. A standing ovation for Avery and her beautiful family that I have grown to love tremendously.|
That day was so special. The Hawks broke two school records, including the total team score. Avery was there. I know she was. There was a moment after one of my senior's bar routines (which was awesome) where she hugged me and said... "I was barely hanging on to the bar! I didn't do that routine... Avery did it for me." This child has touched SO MANY LIVES. I smiled sweetly at her, and wiped the tears away from my eyes as the next girl got ready for her routine.
Life is Beautiful.
One day last week, I was having a hard time. You know those days? The ones that really aren't that bad... but there's just something making you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? Yep. It was one of those days. Well, I was getting in my car on that bad day, and a song came on the radio (that I LOVE), and it was just one of those moments where the first words I heard were the best words I could hear in that moment.
"I wish you wouldn't worry, let it beI'd say have a little faith and you'll see"
Brad Paisley is a smart man. His song, "Letter to Me," is a perfect reminder that no matter what life throws at you in that instance, you will be able to look back and say, "I'm okay... that was pretty hard... but I'm okay." And most likely, you'll be thriving because life threw you a curve ball... and you swung at it anyway.
I love thinking that in 20 years, I'll be able to look back and know that this has made me a stronger, more compassionate person. Do I think I'll forget what it felt like... how hard it was, and the pain of losing her. Absolutely not. Avery will be with me forever. But Avery is making me a better person everyday... and that, my friends, is the point. That is my reminder that Life is Beautiful.