Before the birth of Ashley Kate I never knew. I don't know how I failed to be aware, but I think until it hits close to home that its easy not to be. In the past few years I have had my eyes opened and not only that but my heart as well.
I now know that children are born with disease. That NICUs exist all over the country and that for each and every NICU there exists a PICU just a floor or two away. Parents struggle to make ends meet while their very world lay fighting for life. Nurses are some of the most valuable people in this world. Kind words can make a difference on your toughest of days. Children die and families are left to try to keep breathing when their children no longer can. Life is precious. Life is fragile. Life is a gift. How did I not know this my first 30 years?
When I hear that another child has passed the only thing that eases any of the sting in my heart is knowing that Jesus is there waiting on them. Knowing that the God who created them and loves them more than I can fathom is with them at the very instant that they take their last breath. It doesn't stop my tears from falling and my heart from grieving, but when I close my eyes I eventually find peace and rest in that knowledge.
From moments to years old it doesn't matter. The pain of losing one of your children must be the greatest that exists. I feel as though I have stood on the edge of that cliff more times than I can count with our Ashley and the very feelings and groanings that it stirred within my heart are more than my words can describe, and yet I have never had to let go. Many of my friends have and as I watched from a distance it grieved me. Today the world said good bye to two precious little girls as Heaven said hello, and although I have never met their parents my heart grieves their loss because I can't imagine standing in the place that they have been brought to tonight. My heart is heavy with their burden and my eyes cry tears for them. My prayers are with them and I pray that they can feel that they are being lifted up.
Our sweet Ashley Kate is with us and no matter how painful her life has been as we've watched her night after night in those NICU's and PICU's she is home now and home helps those memories to fade farther and farther away. Tonight I am aware. No longer am I blind to the blessing and the suffering that is intermingled in the lives of some of His creation. I wake each morning grateful for this life, for the life of my children, and each breath that our Ashley takes. I am aware that each moment our day is to be celebrated. Each blessing appreciated. Each gift opened with a grateful heart to have received it.
I encourage you to soak it up. Your life is full of His promise. Your home, no matter what you struggle with, is bursting with blessing. Your children have been given to you specifically to parent and to love. Find joy in knowing that He trusted you with them and that He knows you were the one out of all of the "ones" He chose. I love knowing that! It could have been anyone, but its me that gets to know Blake, Allie, and Ashley Kate like no other. What joy that brings my heart.
She looks amazing. After struggling through yesterday she has taken today by storm. Laughter flows from her tiny mouth at the littlest things and she applauds everything. I have no idea why she is so, so happy, but I choose to join in and clap along. I love her so much and nothing feels better than having the opportunity to walk her back into our home. God is beyond good and I am so thankful that I am now aware of that. Enjoy your weekend and know you are loved and appreciated. Trish