Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


The Heart

You can sum up the description of the heart of our family in one beautiful word: Ashley

There are no words to describe the pain that each one of us are going through at this time. Not the physical pain our sweet Ash is enduring, not the emotional pain each of us are going through as individuals, and not the pain our family as the whole unit is bearing.

Late Sunday evening Dave and I sat across from each other in the quietness of Ashley Kate's hospital room and shared a piece of his struggling heart with me. He shared how he finds himself dreaming, having nightmares, then waking up with that sense of relief, that we've all experienced after a rough nights sleep, knowing it was just a dream. Except that as his eyes focus and he looks around he realizes I'm not there and for me not to be next to him it must be real. He is living the nightmare. If I'm gone then she's gone. Its real. Not just a dream, but our reality. Oh, how my heart broke for my husband. Tears fell from my eyes in the darkness that night. My heart aches over his heartache.

He was supposed to talk with Blake last night. Our son, the 14 year old who adores our almost 5 year old, has no idea the depth of the situation we are in with her. He's been traveling and out of town during this whole time and all he knows is that she is in rejection and back in Omaha. No one has been able to tell him how very close to losing her we actually are. He has no idea that the possibility of re-transplant is looming and even more painful than that the possibility of being denied that re-transplant is there. Blake and Ashley Kate have an amazing relationship. She cuddles up with him in his special spot and watches hours and hours of baseball. They get each other. If he's happy, she's happy and vice versa. His heart is already hurting, its going to absolutely be broken once he realizes the frail place we are in with saving her life. Dave couldn't do it. He could not bring himself to say out loud the things we all know. He couldn't share with out son the words and the information he needs to have so that he may begin processing it all as well. When I asked Dave why he couldn't talk about it all he answered, "Trish I can not do this. I can't." It is just too much for him.

I spent the night with Allie in the hotel room last night. It was my first night away from Ashley Kate. Dave's mom sat with Ash through the night. As we drifted off to sleep Allison began to open her heart. Its in those quiet moments, in the dark that I have always found the windows to my children's hearts opened the most. I sit and listen, saying little as they allow their burdens to unfold. She shared that she didn't want to leave me because she didn't want to make me sad, but that she can't keep waking up every morning hoping that Ashley is getting better and then walking into her room and seeing that she is not. She cried and cried with the realization that even she could not make Ash smile again. It was her purpose for traveling out here. To make Ash happy. To help her play and smile once again. She thinks she failed. She thinks Ashley is going to die. She is hurting and every day she hurts a little bit more. We drifted off to the sounds of Allie's cries. I'm usually listening to Ash's cries as I drift in and out of sleep. Last night I realized that my Allison is hurting just as much as my Ashley. In different ways, but equally painful.

As a wife and a mother I am being destroyed through this process. It is my job to take care of the people that God blessed me with. I wake up every day of my life with the sole purpose of serving these amazing people. I am rendered helpless. Nothing I do can take the hurting out of the heart of my family. Each one of us is aching in ways we have never before. In the beginning of Ashley's life we lived with hope. Through her transplant we always had hope. As she went home to live her life and grow up we lived with hope everyday that her struggles were behind her. Today we are all grasping, seeking, searching, for any signs of hope that our sweet Ashley will make it home to us once again. Even when she does the life she had will be drastically changed. This knowledge robs of us any hope. Without hope life is broken.

Then only hope we have is that God reach down into our family, into our hearts, into the broken body of our almost 5 year old and give us that miracle. When all hope fails, the hope we seek in in Christ and His healing power for each of us. We still need a miracle. The biggest we have ever seen.

Your prayers for my son as he learns the gravity of what his baby sister faces are more than appreciated. Your prayers for my husband as he seeks the strength to actually say the words that have to be said would be appreciated. Your prayers for my Allison as she prepares to leave her mom and her baby sister without a trace of guilt for she has nothing to feel guilt over would be appreciated. Your prayers for our baby, the heart of our family, for her life, her health, her survival would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for praying. Thank you for sticking it out with us. Its rough, it may get rougher still, if you can fathom that. You will never know how your simple words "I'm praying for you" shared with me in brief message have become so much more than just simple words and phrases. It is the very breath that I am breathing through this time. When I am out of prayers, the words fail to come, the exhaustion takes over, I know that she is being lifted to our Father in Heaven and that He won't forget how desperately we all seek His presence, His miracles, and His love.


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