Joy | Grief | Action | Change

 I planned on documenting most of my trip and having a video to share with you all. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wanted to keep the actual video footage of us releasing Aria’s ashes private. I can tell ya, it was absolutely beautiful. There was no question that Aria was with us in spirit. Even though every event felt like she was missing, because she was, physically.

I went to Target about 3 hours before I left for the airport to go California. I was extremely nervous to leave. The idea of carrying her ashes on the plane, having her go through security, literally made me vomit before we left. As I walked into Target, the first visible clothing section is the “Wild Fable” collection. As I walked by there, I noticed 3 little girls wearing white tank tops. They were around 11 years old. I couldn’t see what was on their shirts but I was immediately drawn to them. So, I pretended to look at the same clothing table to see what was on their shirts. The 1st girl I noticed had 3 butterflies on her shirt, the 2nd girl had 1 butterfly on her shirt, and the 3rd girl had 2 butterflies (321). All the butterfly’s looked the same, they were monarchs. My eyes immediately swelled up with tears. I said to the girls, “OMG, ladies, I love your butterfly shirts, where did you get them?” One of the girls looks at me and said “Thank you, I got them in California.” I was blown away; I quickly ended the conversation before I got emotional. I looked up and said “I see you Bug”

There were little things that happened daily. For instance, we only saw one “celebrity” last year on our trip. It was Evan Ross, Diana Ross’s son, who we don’t really care about. But he was recording an album at a hotel we were swimming at. He was sitting at the bar as we were leaving, we didn’t say anything to him. On Friday, our first full day in LA we were driving to dinner and standing right outside Katsuya, was Evan Ross. We all busted out laughing. Then at the next stop light there was this ginormous mural of butterflies on the corner building. He was once again the only “celebrity” we saw for the whole trip.

Saturday, on our way to the ocean, we were listening to the radio. We were going in and out of conversation. Some funny memories some that made us cry. All of a sudden, on 94.7 The Wave, the smooth radio station that usually plays old r&b hits from the 80’s and 90’s, played “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish. Of course, she would!

Last year we took Bug to Dylan’s Candy Bar at The Grove. She loved that spot. Every time we would go to LA or New York, she would HAVE to go. Last year we must have spent 45 minutes in there. She bought pop rocks and candy cigarettes, typical teenage candy. Also, she bought “Unicorn Poop” which is basically slim tinted glittery purple. I thought it was a complete waste of money but, that’s what she wanted. As we walked into the store on Monday, I immediately got emotional. I was walking around and reminiscing. All of a sudden, I heard a mom yell “Aria.” The little girl walked up to her mother. She was around 11 years old. I looked behind me and asked my mom if she heard it, she didn’t. So, I mosey around, act like I’m looking for candy and I spot the girl right in front of me. I look over her head and yell “Aria” as if I was looking for my own kid. She looked right at me. I walk around the store and run into her again and stopped her, I HAD to know for sure.

 “Excuse me, is your name Aria.”

 “Yes”

“Wow, it’s such a beautiful name, its my daughters name too. How do you spell it A-R-I-A”?

She said “No, A-R-E-E-Y-A.”

We had a sweet little exchange, and I said my goodbyes before I started to cry. OF COURSE there would be a little girl name Aria at Dylan’s at the same time as I was there. It was the validation I needed, she’s with me. I left without any candy or “Unicorn Barf” because the poop was out.

Last year we stayed at my sister and Kitch’s apartment for the duration of our stay. One afternoon Aria was playing on their deck, writing on their windows, throwing flower petals and harmless things off their 3rd story balcony. Ya know, kid things. A month after Aria passed, I was sitting at home alone. I called my sister as I was in the middle of a panic attack. She was trying to talk to me to take my mind off of the anxiety. I told her to be quiet and just listen on the other end. She starts moving around her house as I sit on the floor rocking back and forth in complete silence. All of a sudden, she said,

“OMG, OMG BRITTANI OMG”

“SHUT UP ASHLEE YOU CAN’T FUCKING SAY THAT, IT MAKES ME MORE ANXIOUS”

“OMG, OMG BRITTANI, I JUST OPENED MY WINDOW AND IT SAY’S, MOM”

“What, what are you talking about?”

“Remember last year, Aria was on the deck, she must have written “Mom.” I’ve never noticed it before, but it’s for sure her hand writing. Brittani, LA has had the most rain in months and it’s still here. OMG she’s talking to you, telling you to chill out and that she’s with you.”

She sent me a picture and sure enough there it was, MOM, in Aria’s handwriting.

Two weeks ago, before we went to LA, Kitch called Ashlee and told her the windows were being cleaned, Immediately, Ashlee panicked about the “Mom.” But by then it was too late, it was already done.

When I got to LA on Thursday evening, I looked for it but couldn’t find it because it was dark. When I woke up the next morning, I opened up the window to this……………

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