Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Holding it together

I've spent the better part of this summer holding it together as I traveled from place to place, ball field to ball field, with Blake.  I've sat in the stands surrounded by people and never once cried in front of them.  I've had conversations, ate lunches, and cheered on our boys alongside a group of parents who for the most part had no idea that our world, the real one, was falling apart.  I think I did a pretty good job of saving my tears for the private moments when I was in the shower, where the sounds of my sobs could be muffled from the ears of my son.

Tonight Blake had a prospect evaluation in front of the coaches he hopes to one day play for.  Dave traveled over to the campus with him since he hasn't seen much of Blake's play this summer.  I stayed home with my girls because Allie had an important volleyball meeting tonight. I felt like I needed to be there with her.  Even though it probably wasn't a good idea for me to go, I went for her.  I sat in a gym surrounded by players and parents, some who know us well, others who don't even know my name.  It was surreal.  Mainly because the only desire I had to be there came out of a love for my Allie B. and making what is important to her important to me. I tried so hard to be interested in what was being said, but I couldn't make myself care.  Fundraisers and car washes seem so unimportant today.  I hate that, but its true.   My insides were rattled from a very hard day with Ash.  I felt myself shaking as I sat in the gym and listened to the new coach talk.  Ashley had struggled and cried the entire day and despite my best efforts I could not make her comfortable or ease her pain.  It was probably not the best decision for me to be in public tonight.  When the sophomore girls were finally called up to grab their paperwork I felt so relieved.  A few more minutes, a few more steps, a few words to be spoken to her coach and then I would have successfully made it through and held it together.

At the approach of a friend I fell apart.  She asked if we were ok...if there was anything I needed her to help me with,,,to which I replied...with tears.  Full out, fall apart, have to walk away tears.  I can't explain it.  I guess it was the friendly face, the knowledge of her love for my daughter, and the kindness with which she spoke that triggered the response I've fought so hard for so long to not have in front of anyone.  There was no more holding it together.

Its so different to live this journey surrounded by a group of  strangers all summer long.  They don't know me.  They don't know us.  They don't love my sweet Ash.  I can sit, broken hearted, worried, scared, and they never have a clue of the turmoil I'm feeling inside as Blake steps up to the plate to hit a ball across a field.  It was so easy to hide there.  Tonight, I knew I had friends in the room.  I knew I had people who know my Ash and love my baby sitting in the rows of bleachers around me.  I couldn't hide.  I tried.  Trust me, I tried to blend, tried to pretend, tried to do my mom thing.  I did.

Its getting harder.  Everyday its getting harder.  I want to hide from the whole world.  I want to pretend that everything is going to be ok.  The problem is that I see my baby and I know its not ok.  Its never going to be ok again.  Its so far from being ok.  I'm a mess and although I'm trying to not be a mess there are cracks in my exterior and my "mess" is leaking out through them.  Its leaking out on the people around me.  Tonight it came pouring out all over a friend who didn't deserve to have to shoulder that.

I don't know how I'm going to get through this school year.  I simply don't know how I'll have the strength to sit at volleyball games, basketball games, pep rallies, and baseball without falling apart every single time someone approaches me.  I've got to get it together again.  I don't have a choice.  I'm a mom. I have three kids.  They all three deserve to have a mom who can hold it together.

I failed today, but I'm determined to be better for the tomorrows.  It was just a really, really bad day.

Your prayers for Ashley Kate are so appreciated.  We are battling infections in different areas of her body and trying to keep more from developing.  Its a nightmare of a place I find us in day after day and I'm just waiting for something good to happen for her.

2 more days till her 8th birthday.  8 more until the celebration of it.


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