Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


This feeling

I sit here tonight staring at the reflection of the tree lights in the window. I can hear the carols playing in Ashley Kate's room and I smile at the memory I just stored of her tiny self, rosy cheeks, candy cane nightie, and blue dinosaur all snuggled up underneath her quilts. Blake just walked past me and told me goodnight and as he stepped into the hallway I heard him say, "I love you, mom." Down the hall my beautiful Allison is trying to sneak in one last chapter of the book she is reading before being asked to turn out her lights. I can hear Dave laughing out loud as he watches an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond that I know we have seen at least a dozen times. My heart is full of this feeling that I find hard to describe. Tears sit on the brims of my eyelids and I'm not sure why they are there.

As the smell of a Yankee Christmas Cookie warmer mixes with the smell of the freshly baked pumpkin seeds the boys made tonight fills the house I feel so overcome by all that surrounds me. This life, this place, this family...this amazing moment in time...I never want it to pass. If I could freeze this moment that I am experiencing now and never let it go I would be content for the rest of my life. I can't describe it...I'm just

At this time life is good. It is precious. It is so, so blessed. And yet...there are struggles lurking just around the corner. I know they are coming. I know we won't have the opportunity to avoid them. If I allow the knowledge of that to overtake me then it steals from me all that there is to enjoy.

Our family is on the verge of breaking. My daughter is dying. My children will be left for months on end without a mom in the home to keep it running. My husband will be torn between pieces of his heart scattered across the miles and the responsibilities that come with being a husband and a father. Responsibilities that force him to keep keeping on as if life wasn't slipping out of control. None of these things have escaped me. No they are there, under my fragile surface, and if I'm not careful they render me helpless in the moments I allow them to come to the forefront of my thoughts.

But...I choose not to dwell tonight on the pain in this home. I would rather just sit and find the peace that fills my soul as I try and convey my grateful heart to the One who has given me so very much to be thankful for tonight. My tears are falling, they have slipped from the brim of my lids down onto my cheeks and they are tears of joy and thanksgiving. How easily they could switch from those of contentment to those of pain. I'm trying not allow that to happen, but still the pain is in my heart. Its there and He knows that it is. I suppose I'll allow the Father to sort through the tears and figure out from which each one comes.

I just don't want this moment to pass. I don't ever want to wake up and not be here with our sweet girl in her bed down the hall. I don't want to open my eyes one morning and see the lights of the PICU and hear the laughter from the nurses station. I don't want it anymore. I want the peace of this night, this feeling to last forever for us and since I know that it can't I'm trying to capture it in these words so that on that morning when I do open my eyes to those sights and sounds I can look back and read this entry and allow the words to take me back to this place. To this feeling.


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