Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart

9/26/2007

Bitter Sweet Blessing

How do I even begin to unfold all that my heart is holding on to today. I struggle as I try and work through the emotions. I have been thinking a lot about this day lately. It started a few weeks ago as I would be reminded of our sweet friend's anniversaries. One by one they came to pass and I would smile a smile of happiness and say a prayer of thanksgiving as they made it to the 1 year milestone. Happy, "healthy", and home. I would remind myself that we too were almost there. I began to count down the days and make the plans of how we would celebrate sweet Ashley Kate's anniversary knowing that whatever I decided on would become tradition for our family. While planning our celebration I could not forget the ones who were also approaching that 1 year anniversary and how my heart hurt each time I realized theirs would not be one of celebration but of heartache. How could I ensure that our sweet Ashley would never forget to remember the one who gave her so much?

The last two years have been painful for us. There is no denying how deeply our hearts have ached as our Ashley has fought for life. There have been many days when it felt as though I would not survive the pain of watching her struggle. I thought to myself, "Nothing could hurt more than this." To see her slipping farther and farther away from us was excruciating. I do not exaggerate when using that word. Then one year ago today, September 26, 2006, the telephone rang early in the morning and I learned that yes there is something more painful than watching your child suffer. Watching you child die. In the midst of the most unimaginable pain there was a family who was hurting more than I. There was a mommy whose heart ached with a pain deeper than mine. There was a mommy who knew what it felt like to watch your child teeter between life and death and during that hour she thought of me. She thought of my Ashley.

How do I explain how it feels to know that my child lives because hers did not. The emotions are so very complex. Bitter and sweet at the same time. I kiss my Ashley's forehead on her good days and on her bad, but this mommy will never kiss the sweet forehead of her child ever again. The joy I feel for my Ashley is mingled with the sting I feel for her.

A year later I look back over the many,many struggles (even now as I listen to her cry with each movement of her body we are in the middle of one), but I also have the privilege of looking back over the many, many joys. Many smiles. Many giggles. Many kisses. Many triumphs. Many gifts. All given to me because another mommy's heart was large enough to look past her pain and imagine mine. How do you say thank you for that? I hope that someday I will know.

I have no idea who gave us this gift, and the reality is that I may never know. Regardless of that detail I can say that I love her for thinking of me and my sweet Ashley Kate on what had to be the hardest day of her life. Forever I will be humbled. Forever I will be blessed. Forever I will be grateful. You gave us the gift of time and I pray that I never take that for granted. With all my love I thank you today and I pray for His peace to surround you as you remember your child. I have not forgotten. Bitter sweet was the gift you blessed me with. Bitter knowing how much you lost, but sweet because of how much you gave. May our God bless you.

12 Comments:

At 2:16 PM , Anonymous Courtney said...

What a beautiful tribute to those families out there who have given so much in their hour of deepest pain! Well, said...

 
At 2:24 PM , Blogger Krista said...

I am just amazed how wonderful you are and how much you can think about everyone else in times such as this. You have touched my heart in so many ways and so has your little Blessing of Joy. I look at my children every night and just thank God for their health. Little Ashley will always be part of our family even though we have not met her. She is a Miracle and we have been Blessed by her Story. OUr Prayers will continue on her behalf.

 
At 2:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are the most touching words I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts and emotions.

 
At 2:44 PM , Anonymous Grandma said...

Oh yes, I agree from the depths of my heart - what a huge blessing it is to know that someone out there cared enough to give Ashley a second chance at life! And today as I reflect on her life I am ever so grateful for the family whose love ran deep enough to allow another to live. I can't help but think all day, too, about how our Heavenly Father gave so freely his son so that we all might live forever spiritually as well. We are indeed blessed in so many, many ways and I'm grateful! I pray comfort and peace for that loving, giving family today as they remember the day they lost so much and yet gave so freely so our precious baby could live. May God bless both families today in a very special way! Love, hugs, and prayers......Grandma

 
At 2:49 PM , Anonymous Janiece Baldwin said...

I just knew this would be an emotional day for you no matter where you would be or no matter what you would be doing and no matter how all the family would be celebrating little Ashley's one year of being given a fresh start in her little life. That's just who you are Trish. I'm sorry you and Ashley have to be in Omaha, but I am thankful she is where she needs to be at this time.
So thankful to hear that her bowel
"woke up" and continuing to pray for her kidneys to "pour out" and that her breating will get back to normal. It would be such a blessing if you two were able to be home next week. Miracles happen all the time and we know that our Gracious Father holds that power in His Might Hands.
Thanking and praying for that mom who made that most difficult choice on this day one year ago. Asking God to just hold her a little tighter today as she also remembers.
Much love and prayers to you~~~Janiece

 
At 4:01 PM , Blogger Alicia said...

Lovely, Trish. I hope that kind mother is able to read this someday.

 
At 4:18 PM , Blogger Sun said...

words fail me - I cannot imagine being in either shoes - yours or hers - your heart is precious. We will not cease praying for you and your entire family! Sunshine

 
At 4:25 PM , Anonymous nikki said...

I've been praying all day long (and all week, really) for that precious mom, and for Ashley. It brought comfort to realize that whoever she is (and her hubby) and whereever they are, there's a good chance they were praying anonymously for Ashley, too. I'm sure they want their gift to keep giving and not be in vain. And I believe their prayers probably cry louder than all of us commenting.

 
At 4:42 PM , Blogger Valarie said...

Trish you are a woman after God's heart. To stop in the midst of your storm to sing the praises of another mom - amazing! God will bless you for your faithfulness! I pray for you and that sweet angel of yours every day and I will say one for the "other" momma too! What a gift for you both!

 
At 5:29 PM , Blogger Paulette said...

I am out of town , but I am checking as much as I can. I cannot stop thinking about Ashley so when I think about her I lift her before the throne. I know God has not brought any of you this far to not care about her set back. I know he is holding her in his arms this moment, and while he is at it, he is holding you and Dave as well Trish.
Please feel that this very minute.

 
At 6:00 PM , Anonymous heidi said...

Amazing words. Our family always prays for the birth mothers of our children. What love it took to do the right thing. Ashley's donor's parents/family also did the right thing. Let's all "do the right thing" and remeber we are loved and we need to love. Be a donor.
Bless this family and the family that brought them life.

 
At 8:31 PM , Blogger jtcosby said...

What a beautiful post. You have a way with words enabling someone to feel like they are sitting next to you talking to you...and right now, I wish I were there to hug you and to give Ashley a kiss...praying and sending hugs!

 

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