Purple and black - Aria MacDonald

Purple and black

Grief is a weird thing.  I really have no idea what is going on.  I just so desperately want to be normal and have a normal life yet I am reminded daily that that really is not a reality.  I really really really can’t believe Aria isn’t here anymore and I really don’t want any part of this grief business.  But again- that is not our reality.

I feel like walking on egg shells.  Little things completely rattle me in unexpected ways.  Someone rushed past me in the shops today and didn’t say excuse me (I need to remember I am not in the US anymore!)  and for some reason I felt really shaken- isn’t that silly??

Most days I feel like I have to put on this brave face and be happy.  I don’t want to talk about Aria’s passing all the time with people but it does hurt when people don’t ask how we are doing.  And I don’t want to stop talking about Aria either.

I see things right now as a big ball of messy purple and black yarn.  A big mess that is going to take me years to unravel.  Separating beautiful purple yarn of Aria’s memory and the wonderful girl she was from the ugly black memories of dark hospital days and her death.  Her journey was so full of pain and right now the memories are so bad.  Which is so unfair to her because she was such a shining light thru the whole thing and I don’t regret a second of it.  To know her life was to know the strength of her character and how amazing she was.  God gave her a unique personality to cope with her struggle.

Thank you again for your love and support.  We really appreciate it.




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72 Responses to “Purple and black”

  1. Deb says:

    Don’t ever feel like you can’t talk about Aria if you feel like it, that is your reality at the moment. Praying that the wool starts to unwind, and that every day you have a different bit of purple wool shown to you. Am hear to listen if you ever feel like it. Forgive us though if we don’t always have words to say, will always have a hug to give though. Love you guys, praying for you every day xxx Deb

  2. Deb says:

    PS. Aria will always be part of all our hearts. We will never forget her and we would love to learn more about her life when you guys are ready to share.

  3. Bronwyn says:

    I feel so much for you Anita. And Hamish – and Asher.
    You have lost such a big part of you. And now, you have all the time in the world…where before, you really had no time to call your own – but you didn’t mind because you were with your beautiful daughter, caring for her. She was your life! Your priority! I will continue to pray for you. Most people probably won’t get how you are feeling. Some won’t say anything and others will say the wrong thing. And, you won’t be able to tell them what it really feels like to be in your position. It will be a huge struggle for you. And yes,it will continue to hurt for a long time. I have seen a strong woman through your writing, someone who has faced their worst nightmare, with tremendous courage. You have a strong faith. I pray that God will hold you so close right now, that you will feel carried all the way. Keep writing your feelings down if it helps you, which I’m sure it does to some extent. You need to get them out somehow, to express them. Bless you, beautiful lady. I wish I could do more for you all than pray. Somehow it doesn’t really seem enough. Hang in there. You are an inspiration!!!

  4. Nikki says:

    Hang in there. x

  5. Jayce says:

    We’re still here, Anita xxx

  6. jen says:

    never feel like you need to wear a mask
    and take one day at a time

    praying for you always

  7. Nicole says:

    I agree with Jen, don’t wear a mask, be who you are and take every day as it comes, we all understand that there’ll be days when you’re feeling ok and others when you just can’t face the world.

    Love you guys <3

  8. Rochelle Jansen says:

    Oh Anita… my heart goes out to you. We are always here for you. Sending you lots of love xxx

  9. Cinta Graves says:

    Thinking of you too, all the time. It is a strange and unknown place to be in… but we’re all here supporting you through it. I too would love to hear more about the beautiful memories of Aria when you’re ready. Lots of love xxx

  10. Ali Daldy says:

    Always here for you, Anita. Love and hugs xxxxxxx

  11. Gabes says:

    Not a day goes by that I dont think of you. Hugest hugs xxxx

  12. Jan P. says:

    You are never far away from my thoughts, I know just what you are going thru, it is hard but because of all that you gave out to Aria you will survive this but it is another part of your journey. Love to you all. Be kind to yourself, and take care.

  13. tania says:

    Hang in there…wishing u all the best xxxx

  14. Vikki Bland says:

    Dear Anita, I am so happy everytime your posting drops into my inbox, because I think of you all so much, all the time. I completely understand your experience of alarm at the person pushing past you in the shop. When you are grieving, or feeling any emotion deeply and intensely, all your senses are on hyper-alert. It’s a startle reflex, and it can give you such a fright. My prayer is that you would feel able to talk about Aria as much as you would like to, and to not talk when you don’t feel you would like to. And my prayer, as always, is that you would be comforted by the love that surrounds you. We are so here. Love to you always XXX

  15. Kim says:

    We are constantly thinking of you and your diffult journey. Best wishes to you. xxxx

  16. Joan Marshall says:

    I do admire you so much and empathise with you too. It’s just a process of grief Anita and a death usually causes grief and it’s just so hard. When you have lived with someone whom youloved so much and had to let go, where do YOU go and what do you YOU do? I still think that time is a great healer and the good memories will overtake the bad. No excuse for bad manners anywhere either!

    I would love to meet up with you one day, but it’s quite unlikely as we live so far away but take heart and keep on keeping on.

  17. Lisa Robertson says:

    So much love to you all, hold tight to the purple string…. xxxxx

  18. chrissy Hallberg says:

    You are doing well,just do 1 day at a time ,close your eyes and start a new day.It will hurt,it will make you smile and you will feel anger but you are starting to heal,blessings to you and you family,remember to rest!!!!!chrissy :)

  19. Rod & Margaret says:

    Dear Anita, Hamish & Asher,Thinking and praying for you all. It is SO natural to feel fragile and hurting after all you have been through. Aria will always be very special to us and we would love to hear more about her life as and when you feel ready. Sending you lots of love and hugs and praying the Lord will strengthen you all through this hard time.

  20. Heather says:

    Anita…You are in my thoughts often. Lots of love and strength xxx

  21. Lauren says:

    Be gentle on yourself Anita & Hamish, there will be a day when the purple overcomes the black, shines through brightly and is even tinged with a bright and hopeful shade (pink? Hot purple?). The black will remain part of the fabric but it won’t overtake the way it does now and it won’t be the most significant part by a long shot.

    Wishing you comfort as you go through this horrible ‘existance’ that grief brings. Thinking always of your beautiful Aria.

  22. fiona says:

    What an excellent way to describe your feelings- the purple and black wool. So inter-twined and hard to distinguish. Please don’t feel you have to be brave all the time- be real- if people can’t handle that- well that is their problem. The gap that has been left by Aria’s passing is HUGE and painful and real and unbelievably hard. That is the reality and it is going to take LOTS of time. Focus on the good memories. Yes there was a lot of pain- but so many happy times too- laughs and milestones and shared pleasures. Bless you all heaps

  23. Moya says:

    Thankz for sharing your thorts. People know that you need time to come to terms with this awful pain. Still here for you & GLAMma Christine when you are ready. M x

  24. Peter Thies says:

    I can’t know your pain. But Jesus does and His Spirit comforts us in ways we cannot understand. We’re continuing to pray for you.

  25. Renee says:

    Anita and Hamish, knowing the pain you feel right now and knowing it is absolutely normal to feel that way. Your family is always in my thoughts, Aria’s memories will live for ever as that wonderful and brave child with a nice broad smile. Keep writing, talking your thoughts out, it will help change those awful feelings into peaceful and happy ones. Will keep praying for you.

  26. Brenda says:

    Dear Anita
    I remember a few short years ago when I lost my younger sister to cancer and she left 6 children behind and the youngest were twins of 4. I felt so sad, hurt and angry for such a tragic loss for so many people.

    I still miss her and think of her very ofter, but the hardest thing I found at the time was that life was still going on all around me and people were happy and I wasn’t. It just didn’t seem fair and the feeling of loss made me ache inside and my head also seemed to be fuzzy.

    Right now you are going through the sadest experience you could possibly have to deal with. Aria is worth every ounce of the greiving you are feeling because your love for her is and was so very strong. There will come a time when the fog in your head will clear and you will wake up and actually notice other things around you. It doesn’t mean you care any less for her; it is purely a matter of time. I never liked when people said to me that time heals….. now I believe this and allow it to happen when difficult experiences come into my life.

    Love to you all.

  27. Fiona McNair says:

    Life is sure a challenge at times, the pain is suppose to make us stronger people, I wonder about this at times. Hang in there, allow yourself to feel the pain and along with this try and find things that give you pleasure……

    Go well


  28. Nigel Burrell says:

    I am so very sorry that you are having to go through the terrible process of grief and loss for your precious little girl – Aria… Please know that I’m praying for you all from the U.K. and sending best wishes your way.

    love, Nigel XXX

  29. Cork and Carol says:

    So many, many times I think of you and miss you!!! Thanks for the blog post again. Read it with a lump in my throat for you and for Hamish. Grief comes in pieces I think and it comes when you least expect it. Today we go to a family reunion for my side of the family. It is traditional to make remarks about out lives since the last reunion. Well, your Christmas card is going with me to share how this wonderful MacDonald family impacted our lives in the last 1 1/2 years! Read a devotional today about pain and a line made me think about you…”a faith so solid that no amount of suffering can erode it.” I know that your faith has taken a beating…just praying for you that the suffering you are experiencing now will not “erode” that faith. And may more and more pleasant memories overcome the others! Love you lady!

  30. Joyce says:

    Thinking of you all each day.Not only are you having to deal with losing Aria but also of being in a strange country (USA) with so much to cope with and then after these years going back to your home and family.Take time and trust God and he will guide you along your journey.I know of no one who could have done what your family has and still be concerned about others as you are.You are an exceptional family who we will never forget.

  31. Carolyn O'Cain says:

    Praying for more purple than black each and every day. Sending my love to you all.
    In His great and mighty love…

  32. Emma & gremlins says:

    Struggling for words that don’t sound trite, this journey you are on is so intensely personal. Thank you for allowing us to share it. Thinking of all of you often xx

  33. caoimhe meehan says:

    One day at a time and in time you will find peace somewhere. God bless you.xxx

  34. liezel says:

    Thinking of you xx

  35. Jen Cato says:


  36. Cousins Kathleen & Anita says:

    May this bless and comfort you.
    Two of the most famous Christian women in the world were talking together a few years ago, Elizabeth Elliot and Corrie ten Boom. They had such a happy time of Christian fellowship, and the theme of God’s providence came up, Elizabeth having lost her first husband Jim when he was murdered by Auca Indians in Ecuador and her second husband Addison Leitch through cancer. Corrie ten Boom picked up a piece of embroidery showing only its back to Elizabeth repeating to her these words,

    “My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I do not choose the colours,
    He worketh steadily.
    Oftimes he weaveth sorrow
    And I in foolish pride
    Forget he sees the upper
    And I the underside.”

    Then Corrie turned over the embroidery and there was revealed a golden crown on a purple background.

    (The poem continues:
    Not till the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Shall God unroll the canvas
    And explain the reason why.
    The dark threads are as needful
    In the Weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern he has planned.

  37. Samantha Sutherland says:

    You write such beautiful, heartfelt and elouquent words. I remember wondering how the world could go on as normal while I was in shock and felt frozen in time, when Lara was diagnosed. I also felt hyper sensitive to everything around me. So I can understand that these are normal feelings when you have been through such a traumatic and shocking event.

    I know you will hate hearing these words, but time is the only thing that will heal you. I’m sure you feel it creeping back into your life, normality, and one day you will find that you are living a normal life again and the sadness and pain will be the abnormal part of your life. You know it WILL come because I am sure you don’t feel like this unimaginable pain you are in will last forever. You will be left with the sadness but also the beautiful memories of a precious girl and your journey with her. I’m here when you are ready or need me, you just have to call. Love and hugs xxx

  38. Jane says:

    I am so sorry I haven’t managed to get the letter off yet I have had the flu.
    I love the picture of Aria on her bike she looks so excited. Remember the fun happy times and share them with friends, and talk about the dark times because in talking about them over and over as you need to they are assimilated into your pysche and lose their power to send you into the blackness. Love you guys. I’ll send the leter off on Monday.

  39. Ann says:

    In the begining of greiving, all is pain and death then you start little by little the wonderful memories start to creep in then a long long time the wonderfull memories are the constant ones. I think about your family and your wonderful little girl often and offer up a prayer for you all

  40. Nola Young says:

    You are continually in my heart and Jesus grieves with you to. Love you so much

  41. Anna says:

    Keep going, you lovely people. You can do it.

  42. lisa says:

    Dear Anita, you have written about grief in such an articulate way. I think about you, Hamish and Asher every day. I think about Aria now in heaven every day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how hard things are for you. I can’t imagine just how bad the pain is for you. Your grief is so strong, so intense. This is because of how much you loved Aria, how special she was and how big a part in your life she played. She lives on in my heart. I hope more good memories will start to come back. Remember the only strength that is important is the kind that gets us from one moment to the next. I love you. Hundreds of people love and care about you. God loves you. Please keep blogging when you can. Hearing from you is such a privilege. Look after yourselves. xxxxx

  43. H Wilkie says:

    Thoughts and prayers are still with you xxx In Glory you will be reunited!! and I feel blessed I will meet her! xxxx

  44. lorraine says:

    Dear anita hamish and asher, your lives must be so different now. Beautiful aria walks a new journey and you are all trying to find your new path too. It must be hard every day and in so many ways. My hope is that you can gain some peace from the knowledge that you loved aria so much and did everything you could to bring her to wellness. I loved the way you never lost sight of aria the child and despite all the medical troubles you faced you made sure that aria still had fun, could make some of her own choices, and could do little girl things like singing and dancing and painting and playing. She was so blessed to have you all with her during her life on earth. Just be yourselves now , be patient with yourselves just like you always were with aria. Holding you all in my heart every day. Lorraine

  45. Patti says:

    Praying for you!
    Remember that God loves you and will help you and Hamish knit something beautiful out of the purple and black yarn so that Aria’s memory will live on and so that He will continue to be glorified through her life and death.

  46. Anne & Colin Andrews says:

    Hi Anita, Hamish and Asher
    I still have the beautiful pink orchid I picked up at Aria’s wonderful funeral service. I change the water every couple of days, and it is a constant reminder of what a fantastic wee angel she is, and what a wonderful mummy and daddy you are. Yes, time will heal. For those of us priviledge to read your coherent blogs, I can only hope that these wonderful and thoughtful replies are helping you unwind that purple ball.

  47. Richelle says:

    Hi there Anita, Hamish and Asher,

    I have been thinking of you over these past weeks and praying for you. Your journey is a very real one that is shared by millions of people who have experienced many different forms of grief. I wonder if you know about this organisation in NZ. http://skylight.org.nz Skylight has some incredible resources for families dealing with grief and loss and they would love to be able to support you all. Give them a call.

    Many Blessings


  48. jeannie overall says:

    My prayer for you guys comes from a poem I read in Our Daily Bread this morning: New mercies every morning, grace for every day,new hope for every trial,and courage all the way – McVeigh-I have just read through all the wonderful letters to you and I can see so much love and care flowing from them to you-although you feel like you are stumbling blindly through all this, there is a HUGE wall of praying warriors standing around you making sure you will not fall-not to mention the strong arms of our Jesus who can carry you all for as long as it takes
    God bless you all- jeannie

  49. Linda Crosbie says:

    Anita what you are feeling is normal for grief but unusual to how you normally would operate. Don’t feel you have to put on a brave face. I did a bit of that when I grieved the loss of my Dad. In hindsight I felt I did too much of that and shut down some of the sharing I should have done with people that cared about me. I too got cross and upset at people and their actions. I thought life was so surreal and how can people be happy and lead normal lives when I’m hurting so much with the pain of grieving. Be kind to yourself and just take time to be ok in what you are going through. You don’t have to put on a brave face. Take small steps and each day as it comes. Much love to all.

  50. Glenys Hopkins says:

    Anita, Take each day as it comes, cry if you have to, laugh if you want go with your feelings and just know you are okay and normal. Although it doesn’t feel like that. As a person who had gone through the same grief (I lost a child to who was sick, but that’s another story) just give yourself time, grief is strange like you say but one day the sun will shine for you again, not in the same way but it will shine. Life will never be the same but you will learn how to deal with it and come out the other side with beautiful memories of little Aria a very special little girl who’s journey was hard but touched so many lives. take care Glenys Hopkins

  51. Tiffany Keller says:

    I wish I could be there to give you a hug or two! People know that you are grieving, so you don’t need to put on a brave face. It’s okay to cry. You have many people praying for you, including me. May God continue to comfort you, and may God Bless you!

  52. Christine says:

    Anita, I’m so glad you have kept Aria’s blog going. I never met your beautiful Aria, or indeed any of the MacDonalds, but following your lives online means you all hold a special place in my heart. I am still shocked, as you and you family probably are, every day that Aria’s no longer here. I think the biggest jolt for me would be if you stopped writing the blog. Hope that doesn’t sound selfish! It’s great that you have a place to write about how you’re feeling and I hope it’s helping to relieve at least a small part of your sadness. I have experienced grief but I have no concept of what you’re going through. And I realise that, though I have followed your blog, I don’t REALLY know what Aria’s life or yours is and was like. However, looking at the photos and remembering the tales about Aria’s milestones and happy days always brings a smile to my face. I hope the purple yarn takes over the black yarn very soon. Best wishes to all of you. xoxoxo

  53. Laura says:

    Like Samantha, when you are ready, I will be here. I care what you are going through, what Asher is going through. Your pain hurts to read about and know, but I really care how you are doing. Praying for you, as the knots unravel, and one by one, little by little a piece of yarn untangles into a remembered look, or laugh or funny face. Give yourselves permission to still be in shock, and know it is going to take time…lots of time. Love you.

  54. Pui Kei says:

    I work at Biomed casually and have always had a keen interest in Aria and the other young home patients who receive our TPNs. I feel so connected to your family and i’m so sorry to hear of her passing. Wishing you all the best x

  55. Elaine says:

    hello friend!
    i’m so sorry to watch you go through this process, but you know ….it IS normal what is happening. just press into Christ during these long days. It WILL get better …..in Him. we love and miss you all.

  56. Samantha Seccombe says:

    We have kept on praying for you both and little Asher in your grief daily. We were so thankful to be in NZ to be able to be at her celebration service with you. We remember you before the Lord who is faithful and loving and will carry you through this season of great sadness as he did through the last season of intense trial. May you know his closeness and loving care for you each day. Remember the great hope you have in the resurrection when all things will be put right and restored. When we shall have new bodies and when Christ promises to wipe every tear from our eyes and remove the great sadness in our hearts. I’m holding on to these promises which are certain and true and a reality. May God himself comfort you both. With our warmest love. Martin and Sam and children.

  57. Lyaine says:

    Just letting you know that I often thnk about you all and stop and pray, and will continue to do so.

  58. susan says:

    Please don’t feel silly for feeling shaken. You are incredibly brave sharing your feelings on the internet. Praying for you all.

  59. Nicole says:

    There is not limited time on the length of time it takes to grieve. You’ll get through it in your own time, try not to stress over it, as hard as it may be.

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11