She will not fail

On Oct. 13, senior Abigayle Redeker’s life was turned upside down when she returned home from picking up her parents at the airport to find that one of her two sisters had committed suicide.
Redeker climbed the stairs to the second floor of her home to find a white note from Amber, who went by the name Avery, on the bathroom door. In a moment of absolute shock, Redeker screamed for her parents.
“I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but I knew something wasn’t right based on the tone and urgency in her voice,” Redeker’s mother Jan said.
Avery’s suicide was not unexpected. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 12, and according to Redeker, her condition progressively worsened.
“There were always warning signs,” Redeker said. “It wasn’t the first time that she attempted, it was just the time that she succeeded.”
Despite the shock, Redeker pushed through, not missing her activities, such as Homecoming float building for cheerleading just mere days after Avery’s death.
Redeker is quick to describe Avery as her biggest fan, claiming that she never missed a dance performance or cheerleading event, even when her parents could not make it. Unfortunately for the Redeker family, the first varsity football game after Avery’s death was senior night.
“Senior night is supposed to be about your family,” Redeker said. “We took family pictures and it was hard to accept that it was just my parents and I. I feel like now I’m doing for my sister.”
Redeker joined cheer just this year after being convinced by a friend and varsity cheer coach Renee Chambers to give it a try. Before making varsity cheer, Redeker participated in drill team for two years due to her love of dance. After quitting drill team, she continues dancing at what she claims is her second home: Jody Phillips Dance Company.
“I’ve surrounded myself with a good group of people through dance, people I want to be around,” Redeker said with a smile. “The people make it feel like home.”
In the wake of her sister’s death, Redeker tried to flip her world back right-side up by keeping to her normal routine of dance and cheer as much as possible. But as the holidays approached, no amount of bright Christmas lights could push away the darkness Redeker’s family faced.
“We had a lot of traditions that we did with her that we just didn’t do this year,” Redeker said. “Every year my sisters and I went ice skating at Crown Center and baked cookies with my nephews. We didn’t do any of that this year. We just stopped all traditions. It was kind of strange.”
The holiday season was the hardest time to get through for both Redeker and her mother, who she describes as a “supermom.” Throughout these painful weeks, Redeker claims that her oldest sister Sam was able to keep the family afloat.
“ was really the backbone of our family,” Redeker said. “She took the hardest beating of us all because we relied on her so much, but she still kept it together really well.”
In defiance of the extreme difficulty Redeker faced in coping with the death of her older sister, she continued to remind herself of her motto, “God is with her, she will not fail.”
“I rely on all the time, just knowing that I have God there for me to lean back on,” Redeker said. “I know that God wouldn’t give me something I couldn’t handle.”
In knowing this, Redeker is strong enough to not only handle Avery’s death, but remain her “positive and outgoing” self, as her best friend senior Grace Seibold puts it.
“After a death, everyone expects you to be all gloomy and sorry for yourself, but it’s important to know that it’s okay to have joy and happiness,” Redeker said. “The person you lost wouldn’t want you to be sad all the time. They wouldn’t want you to go through that.”

Sofia Nash and Austin Bachert