News - Aria MacDonald

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Words from Asher

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Daily prayer:
“Dear God thank you that Aria is in heaven and us in the world. Amen’

“Us not a family, we have no sister”

“I am alive, see my fingers move. Aria’s finger’s not move”

“I like Omaha, New Zealand is boring”

“Why we leave Omaha?”

Prayer request: We have all been fairly sick. Asher earlier this week. Me now and Hamish likely to follow. Bad colds and trouble adjusting to brrrrrrr NZ houses. And likely fairly average immune systems too.

Happy Fathers Day

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Yesterday was Fathers Day in NZ and Australia.  We didn’t celebrate Fathers Day in the US this year, we had hoped Aria would be better and off the vent to enjoy celebrating her daddy perhaps in time for NZ fathers day.  Sadly she died the very next day.

Both days have been very difficult for Hamish, a devoted dad who cared very deeply for his little girl.  Hamish was there every night with Aria, often getting little sleep.  He loved spending time with her and she with him.  There is simply nothing, apart from God more important to Hamish than his family.  He gave up his job and life to care for Aria, supported by a society allowing him to do so freely.

We sang a song last night at church it’s first verse was this ‘How deep the Fathers love for us, How vast beyond all measure’   All day I had been thinking of Hamish’s love for Aria and grieving for his loss.  All week I had been struggling with God’s love for me- if He loved me why did he take something so precious to me?

Of course I have no answer to that question and probably never will, not in this lifetime.  But if a human can love a child like Hamish did Aria then I know God must love me 1000 times more.  And maybe the true love of a parent is to want and need your child to be in heaven with God and know that the burden of this world is over for them. God did the right thing by her and our family. But our hurting hearts still have a lot of healing to do.

We miss her. She is smiling in that photo by the way! It’s an Aria smile.

Tough Times

We have pretty much unpacked into our new place.  At least all the stuff we want to unpack, there is still lots in the garage to sift though.

We love the house, it is pretty fab.

Moving into a semi permanent place has been incredibly difficult.  I finally I understand now when people say they are afraid to start crying because they feel they may never stop.  It feels like Aria should be here and she really isn’t.  The sense of moving on is so hard.  Seeing her stuff is so hard.  Missing her is so hard.

It brings up all kind of hard questions.  Like – why did her bone marrow fail?  Why did God rescue her from a failed 2nd transplant and gift her wonderful working organs only to take her a year later?  Why did He do that?  Even if we had just gotten her back to NZ, even for a year, it wouldn’t of felt like we were so desperately robbed.

Yes Aria is in heaven, freed from her body that didn’t work quite right.  But it did work for a good period of time post transplant and it could of kept working for many years.

Actually- here is some home truth- I don’t care she is in heaven, I just want her back with us.  Yup I am selfish, because being back on earth isn’t something she would want or wish.  But I want and wish it.

But some more truth is this.  I am 100% convinced without a doubt she is in heaven and I am 100% sure I will see her again, grownup and beautiful and perfect.  And not because I am a good person or perhaps she was.  But because the only thing I have to cling too is that God put Himself in my grieving place and sacrificed His Son for me.  Jesus’s death makes me perfect and I get to enter heaven.

Not that God and I are on good terms right now.  Actually I feel He is patiently loving and providing for me while I ignore Him and question His goodness to my family by robbing us of a daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece.

Yeah, so not much faith inspiration in this post!  But I share this because it is a process, God holds me and not I Him.  I just don’t know how He plans to pull me out of this dark dark valley.

Unpacking

Today and tomorrow is moving day at our new place.  It was delayed a week while painting and maintenance was completed.

We started shifting boxes yesterday from our friends garage.  They kindly stored them for us for nearly two years, thanks friends.

Hamish did two runs in the car and Asher and I were at the house opening them up.

Asher was well pleased.  All these toys that he didn’t remember, it was like Christmas.

I got a few comments last week that I might find the process of opening boxes exciting, like Christmas.  I hoped it would be the case but in my heart I doubted it.

I stood in the kitchen yesterday overwhelmed with all our stuff, musty linen, dusty plates, the odd spider.  My heart overwhelmed with our life represented by stuff.  A life that Aria was very much a part of and now she isn’t.  I wanted to throw it all out and start again.  But I can’t, we must press on.

We packed up all this stuff (well Hamish’s mum did really) with such hope and expectation.  That we were leaving for Omaha seeking life for Aria.  We now return to NZ without her.  Our mission failed and we return with nothing, just broken hearts and a huge gaping void in our life.  How do we go on without our girl?

So Asher and I are at the beach today and Hamish continues the work, thankfully he finds the memories helpful.

Moving!

We have a house!

We are really pleased, it is really nice and ticks all the boxes.  And it is a private rental- no agents to deal with or fees to pay!! It is great and we are excited to move in.

We get the keys on Monday and can start moving.  If you have muscles or a truck or trailer please flick us as email. Or if you would like to unpack a box or two that would be great too.  We have the interested job of remembering what was packed up almost two years ago and collecting it from all the lovely people that stored it for us.

It feels hard to be moving on without Aria and not shopping for a few pink/purple/orange items for her room.  We brought Asher these cool farm animal fairy lights.  They had pink cupcake ones there too…..  I miss having a daughter, I miss Aria….

Still still here

Yup we are still here.  Is this going to be a reoccurring theme?

Life is crazy and confusing.

Always when updated the blog on Aria’s health the blog was pre-written in my head, sometimes over days or hours.  Now the blogs posts in my head change on an hourly basis.  What I planned to say in the morning changes by the afternoon.

I actually expected that life would get a bit easier now we didn’t live in hospital all the time and live with the extreme stress on having a chronically ill child.  In some ways it is.  In some ways I feel a huge sense of relief that Aria’s fight is over and FINALLY she is safe and I no longer have to feel guilty.

But that reality is that going back to normal life is pretty tough.  Some days are just so bad.  Yesterday actually started off ok and ended up a disaster.  Some days are just bad full stop.

Some days we feel so desperately alone, abandoned and confused.  Other days we just desperately miss Aria.  Some days we feel joyous and blessed.

Asher is struggling a lot and his behaviour stretches our parenting to the limit.  He is really unsettled and needs some routine.  He talks about Aria every day which is really nice.

Grief is such a profoundly unrational thing.  People assumed we feel a particular way about a particular subject and the answer is no we just feel completely devastated about it all the time.  There is very very little ability to be cool calm and collected.  Which is odd because that is how we have been for so many years.

Anyway this post feels like a bunch of random strange sentences that make little sense.

Aria was the sweetest, most bravest girl who loved her family.   She packed a lot of love into those 5 years.

Still here

We are still here!

Our little family just got back from taking a holiday from taking a break.  We spent about 5 days in the beautiful Coromandel, Hahei to be exact.  So beautiful!  Of course technically it is winter.  But I now know that winter in Auckland really isn’t winter at all.  Real winter is blizzards and -30 C degrees!!

We holidayed with our nephews and Hamish’s sister and her husband.  The days were lively with 4 boys and all that that entails and the nights were filled with lots of talking, card playing and eating a bit to much yummy NZ chocolate.

We came back feeling refreshed and a feeling a bit better.

Right now we are trying to find a house back closer to town.  It is a frustrating job but we are trying to remember God will provide.  I feel guilty that I stress about this given how much God has done for us but after the 3rd phone call to a rude rental agent one can get discouraged.

Right now there are a billion things to post about.

Last night we watched a little video of Aria for the first time since she died.  We heard her voice and listened to her make a little joke and saw her smile.  We miss her so much.  I wished she was here.  Asher asked me today ‘Is Aria going to come back to the world and play playdoh with me?’  I wish Ashie, I wish.  But she is much happier in heaven.

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.

Asher

Hamish and I took a weeks break in Red Beach.  One week of sleeping in and no responsibility, really helpful.

Asher joined us on Wednesday after we picked him up from preschool.  It is great to have him back in our daily lives but it has it’s challenges too.  Try explaining to a 3 year old his sister isn’t coming back.

He was walking down the stairs at preschool and he said ‘Aria can’t walk down these stairs, I will have to carry her’ and  ’Aria should come to preschool with me, she would have fun’.  Even as I type these words my eyes fill with tears.  It was out of the blue and unexpected.  Hamish explained that Aria can walk down stairs now cause she is healed in heaven with Jesus and she doesn’t need to go to preschool to learn things.

Later that night Asher asked me were Aria was.  I said in heaven with God and that we won’t see her again which makes Mummy and Daddy and our family sad.

Every day she comes up in conversation.  We made pancakes this morning and Asher decided Aria should have the first one.

It is bittersweet.  We love it that he talks about her and we would never discourage him or get upset when he does.  But it is super heartbreaking having to tell your son his sister isn’t here almost everyday.

Today we brought him a little globe because he is very interested in NZ and the USA and countries.  He calls Omaha home and refers to things ‘at home’.  We asked him where Aria was and he pointed to Japan!  We are trying to get a sense if he understands but we are thinking he doesn’t.  Which I fine because most days I don’t understand how someone you love so much can be with you one day and gone the next.  Death is so wrong and so unnatural.  Thank you Jesus for defeating it!  We claim your promise for our family.

Aria’s blog

(A few people have asked for our address. We are currently without fixed address but anything you might want to send us can be sent to:
Hamish and Anita MacDonald
c/o 15b Laurie Avenue
Papakura
Auckland
2110

Hi everyone.

Not entirely sure what to say except we are undecided about what to do with this blog.  Right now we are going to keep it going and perhaps share the mysterious and difficult grieving process.

Hamish and I arrived back to NZ and were excited to connect with friends and get back into life.  Well actually I was excited and a few people said ‘aren’t you going to take a break?’ To which I said ‘Nah I am fine- lets get on with it’  Unfortunately that all can crashing down last week most unexpectedly and I am now typing this blog post from the beautiful and completely amazing Red Beach.  The KIDS foundation, who have supported us so generously, have a holiday home there and so here we are.

So to all the people who we had to cancel with last week and to all the people ready and waiting to meet up with us- Thank you!  But we just need more time.  We were so happy to see lots of people at Aria’s funeral from all realms of life, new friends, old friends, work friends, school friends.  We want to see you and we need to see you but we just need more time.

Life is suddenly strange and emotional.  We spent 5 years carefully managing our emotions and making sensible decisions.  Now I can’t even decide what to have for dinner.  Much less decide what to do with our house in Manurewa or how to manage this new life.

We are grieving for our daughter whom we miss desperately.  We are grieving for our friends in Omaha who we miss.  We are grieving the loss of relationship from the medical staff whom we grew to love and trust (both countries have been hugely supportive but we know things are different now and what does that mean?)  We are experiencing culture shock.  We are establishing new bonds with family and friends or at least trying too.

We haven’t lost faith in God but it is taking a huge beating.  We are learning to view God for who HE is not thru the eyes of parents whose child is now heaven side.  He will overcome, not worry.

Aria was an amazing girl.  Trying to unravel her from this journey has been difficult.  I don’t feel like we have done a great job at that.  But we will think of ways to communicate and pay tribute to her fight in time.  There is more to come.

I said this at the funeral and I will say it again- please reach out to us.  Please don’t just read this and forget about us or Aria.  Some will I guess and that it part of putting your life on the internet for all to read, it is easy to read this and forget we are real people.  But most won’t and for everything past and present, thank you.

“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