I wanted to tell...
I began to tell her story at the prompting of my husband.
Actually, he began to tell Ashley's story because I refused. I could not imagine coming to this place day after day and sharing her here. In the very beginning it was all I could do to take care of my baby and the sharing of her every day was so far from what I could conceive I had the time or the know how to do.
So...he began to write. Small entries about what was happening every few days so that our family could turn on their computers and know how things were going. It started in that way and for that purpose. To inform our families about our baby gherkin.
Somewhere along the way the telling of her story became mine. In the lonely days of transplant, in a city where I knew no one and in the halls of hospital so far from home...it became my outlet...to write...to tell her story. Looking back I don't think I would have survived had I not began to tell.
As I took over the telling of her story I determined that I wanted to write it...all of it..the good days and the bad...honestly. From my experience and my perspective. So that she would know...she would have a record...she would have her story...a testimony to share. I wanted not only for Ashley Kate to have her own story, but I wanted for Blake and Allison to have her story too. An honest documentation of how it was that God came into our home, our family, our lives...to work through a tiny 2lb baby girl and change us all.
I now know...painfully and tearfully...that her story will never be told by her own voice, or read by her own eyes, or held in her own hands.
As the physician left our home yesterday afternoon after examining and observing the rapid changes in my babies body, she shared with us that we have only weeks left with our precious Ashley Kate. There will not be the 3-18 months they had previously thought. In there best estimation, and we and they all know the only ONE who knows exactly is God, things are moving much quicker than any of us want.
I have cried. Rivers of tears have fallen from my eyes and my heart is shattered. I can't even tell you how I opened my eyes this morning except for the intense desire to look at the face of my beautiful Ash. We have held her, and loved her, and laid next to her, and assured her she is treasured, and loved, and desperately wanted. The upcoming days or weeks or whatever God chooses, for only He has the power to choose, will be difficult. For our baby, for our children, and for us as her parents.
I shared with Dave this morning how I hope that on the day in which our Father chooses to receive my baby back to Himself that she talks His ears off. I do! I hope that she talks and talks and talks and that she never ceases to talk. I hope she never stops! I want all of Heaven to be so annoyed by the most beautiful girl who has the sweetest voice that she was never allowed to use until she arrived. I want for her to sit next to Jesus and tell Him everything that she ever wanted to say or needed to say or wished that she could say. I want the saints to shake their heads and smile and get a kick out of this little one who refuses to EVER be quiet. Then I hope that she runs and jumps and dances her way into as much trouble as she can possibly find. Because after all, He created her with that ornery streak we have loved so much the last 8 years. I hope that when we all arrive to see her there that eyes roll, and stories are told, and laughter abounds as those who have been there with her tell us all she has done since her arrival. These are the thoughts that kept me awake through the night.
We already miss her smile. Her joy. Her laughter. It has been absent the last few weeks and our home is so, so different. She is being kept comfortable and she is resting underneath the branches of her apple tree. I lay next to her and stare up through the branches, through the clouds, past the butterflies that dance above her, and I long to go with her. If she can't stay with us, then we long to go to where she is going. My desire is for Heaven to be real to each of us if we are asked to continue without our baby. My hope is that it will be the focus, and the goal, and the ultimate reward for my husband, and my son, and my daughter, and myself for I know we will never again be the same until the day we are once again brought together as a family. Jesus be real to us and draw us unto yourself. Daily bring us closer to you. Carry us as we continue each day, telling her story, writing until the day it ends with us and begins with You.
I've never published our address here in this place. I will however give to those of you who are asking for a way to send cards and letters to our precious girl the address of our office. Anything sent to her will be brought home to where she is. We have received precious cards, and drawings, and letters written by your children to Ashley Kate and they hang from the branches in her playroom surrounding her with your love. Thank you for sending them. They are deeply appreciated and we read every word you share with us.
The address is: 101 B Woodbine Place, Longview, Tx 75604
Your sincere prayers for my children. Blake, Allison and Ashley Kate. They are the ones being asked to endure the hardest of tasks. My sweet Ashley, as her body shuts down and she prepares to leave us. My son, as he walks the hardest of paths into his adulthood. I can't imagine his life without the baby sister he so adores. My daughter, her fragile tender heart, as she continues to go out everyday, putting a smile on her face all the while her heart is breaking. It is their pain, the three of them, that is crippling me. How I wish I could spare them all the struggle that is coming. Dave and I are broken. We are. We love this child as we have never loved, or ever knew we could love. If only love could heal...for she is so deeply loved.