Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


The Bravest Girl I Know

Tonight as we worked together changing Ashley Kate's line dressing Dave asked if I had ever taken the time to count her scars. In all honesty I think it would be an impossible feat. There are so many small ones from the multiple sutures they use to secure her central lines, then we have sets of them from her multiple chest tubes and the sutures used to hold them, then the incisions for the broviac lines, the larger scars from her bowel resection, re inastimosis, transplant, and heart surgeries. I wouldn't even know where to begin. Underneath her clothes she bears the details of her story. Each scar a chapter that tells of a battle and then a victory. As she lay there so sweetly allowing us to do what was necessary Allie walked in and I said, "Would you like to meet the bravest girl I know?" She giggled and said, "May I touch her yet?(she has not been able to for almost two weeks now because of her rash). I watched as Allie lightly touched the top of Ash's hair and listened as she whispered, "You really are the bravest girl I know".

Now as I sit and reflect on those moments I realize that I know more than one brave little girl. In all actuality I know several of them. Some better than others, but all brave just the same. Not only do I know some of the bravest girls you will ever meet, but I know a few boys too. When your closet friends become those who live in the halls of the PICU you are face to face with the bravest people you will ever meet. The little people we have grown to love have taught me what it is like to be brave. They have taught me how to face adversity head on. They have taught me how to live life to the fullest. How not to take even one moment of my day for granted. I have heard them scream out in pain as they endured procedure after procedure only to finish the day with a smile on their face as their mommy's rock them to sleep. I have cried for them, prayed for them, and loved them. These little people are my heroes and their mommy's have become my heroes as well.

I don't know how they do it. Day after day. Night after night. We all have the same goal. Life. Time. Memories. Normalcy. I have said it before and I will say it again, the road of transplant is rough. It can be easier on some, harder for others, and over for many. In the end I think we would all still choose to travel it. Without it the time with our brave little ones would have ended much sooner. I know for Dave and I we have placed it in His hands and we wouldn't trade the days He has given Ashley Kate for all the world. I still wake each morning and thank the Father for her life, her donor, her organs, her smile, and her presence in our family.

Some days are easier than others. For the time being our days seem to have gotten a little easier than some we have had in the past, but for our friends it hasn't been such an easy day. They face the possibility of rejection, they will soon board a plane for Omaha, and they will wait for easier days to come again. Big sisters have said their good byes and the first hand knowledge I have of watching Blake and Al say good bye to Ash makes my heart ache for them tonight. Again I will ask for your prayers. Kylie really needs them as does her mommy and her siblings.
Our hope is that it won't be too long before they are all reunited back home in Louisiana.

Bravery isn't reserved for those who are old enough to handle it. It can be seen in the tiniest of people. In our house the bravest people don't happen to be the mom and dad. The bravest ones who reside here are hands down Ashley Kate, her big brother Blake, and her big sister Allie. They face this transplant journey with faith that puts mine to the test, strength that is un matchable, and a love for life that is inspiring.

Again I thank you for continuing to be here with us. Your thoughts, your prayers, your encouraging words are such a blessing to us. You are loved and appreciated.


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