Ava Quijano-Edwards

Ava Quijano-Edwards, 15, Dickinson, died on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 surrounded by her family at home. Ava’s Celebration of Life Service will be at 10 a.m., Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at Ladbury Funeral Service, Dickinson with Chaplain David Jenkins officiating.

During her lifetime, Ava Magdalena Francisca Quijano-Edwards was two different people. We had the magnificent privilege of loving them both. Ava was also half of a whole; her twin sister always right by her side. Ava stood in two countries at once, couldn’t wink her left eye, and had a love/hate relationship with her birthmark. Her eyes talked. They told the story of her health and we learned to listen to them. Her instinct was to experience life to the fullest, have as much fun as possible, and to be brave, as though she knew she needed to cherish every moment.  She had an extraordinary memory that we all relied on. She was so strong and so fragile at the same time. By being herself, she made this world more beautiful, funny and empathetic. We miss her desperately…there are no words.

Ava had a high-pitched belly laugh that was so fun to listen to, and so contagious. Her laugh was followed by a giggle, a wheeze, or snort depending on how hard she laughed. She was very witty and had a funny comeback when needed. Ava loved kids. She always found the youngest child in the room to take care of, but babies were her absolute favorite. She wanted to have five children. Ava loved not only family, but friends. She enjoyed her first love and we are so thankful she got to experience that feeling.

In her short life she climbed a mountain, snorkeled, touched a sting ray and a shark, swam with a dolphin, learned to wakeboard, ski, drive a boat and a car, among other experiences I know we’re forgetting. Ava took every opportunity she had and lived her life well. She loved everything a typical teenager loves and has numerous Starbucks tumblers that she collected with her Aunt Amaya. Ava liked to be feminine, loved to have her eyelashes and nails done, and had her own beautiful sense of style. She always kept her purse stocked with emergency items, just in case. Although Ava was a strong and independent person, she needed some reassurance that things would be okay.

Ava was adventurous, even after cancer. Her initial wish after her cancer diagnosis was to scuba dive in the ocean. When we realized that wasn’t possible she wished to fly in a helicopter above a volcano in Hawaii.

After cancer affected Ava’s brain she became more gentle, fragile, patient, selfless, brave, giving and sweet. She bought her immediate family gifts to remember her by, something we will treasure forever. Her appearance slowly changed over time and eventually the Ava that used to be, seemed to be gone. Her memory became a little less sharp. Her laugh changed into a soft giggle, as though she was too weak to laugh out loud. Her actions slowed and were more calculated. She depended on others for help and struggled with losing her independence and confidence.

This Ava relied on us completely, and we had the privilege of knowing her completely because of that. She loved watching “Good Luck Charlie”, getting coffees, playing card games, going to her grandparent’s house, Snapping on her phone, eating her favorite foods (next time you eat an appetizer, think of Ava), and us. Most importantly, she loves us and we love her.

Through the changes, Ava remained strong, so courageous and resilient, still enjoying the happy moments of life. Happiness was our ultimate goal and God’s love made it possible.

She was preceded in death by her cousin, Honor Wheeler; grandparents, Grandpa and Grandma Kessel, Grandma Edwards, Grandma Thurow; and many others.

Ava is survived by her parents, Chad Edwards and Sasha Quijano-Edwards; twin sister, Ana; and sister, Isabela (Chris) Bulgan; maternal grandparents, Yvonn (Weigel) and Clarence Frank; paternal grandparents, Lloyd Edwards.

We are blessed with a caring family. Ava had numerous aunts, uncles and cousins that would take a whole page to name! Know that you are included in our love and were loved by Ava.

Memorials in honor of Ava are preferred to Make A Wish ND, Landon’s Light, Kaidra’s Good Vibe Tribe, Brave the Shave, Ronald McDonald House or St. Jude’s Hospital.

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