Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


When Pillow Pets make you cry...

and giant metal roosters cause you to catch your breath...

and the empty seat in the rear view mirror becomes fuzzy from the tears that are falling...

and the silence from her rooms is so loud that I can't complete a thought...

I've learned that this is what it means to be my world...without our girl...this is true loneliness.

There is such a struggle in every day.  A fight to get to the end of another one without her.  With every change of the date, one month into two then three, four, we enter into the 9th without our sweet Ash and it hurts as much today as it did that very day.  With every passage of time it pains me when I realize everyone moved on.  Occasionally I'll hear from someone, somewhere who thought of her that day and the comfort that brings to this mommy's longing heart is truly indescribable.

Two days into the school year we lost her and now here we are in the final week, graduation on Friday, and the summer tournament season a week from today and I can't explain how we got here.  Without her.  I can't.  I just keep waking up each morning wondering if today will be the day we will see her once again.  They will be moving her soon.  After graduation.  I thought that was kind of them to wait.  It angers me that she will be moved, but its out of our control.  Her space is complete and the move will take place.  I don't know how we will get through that day.  I truly don't.

I missed my turn the other day and ended up there.  Seeing the completion of her space wrecked me.  I arrived at my destination sobbing, shaking, and tear stained.  I cried so hard in the arms of our photographer I knew I would be sick.  Again.  I can't explain why or when or predict any of my emotions.  They just flood over me.  It almost always ends with anger.  I'm not the same person I was.  I'm sad and broken and quiet and angry.  So angry.  The struggle to figure out how to live this new life of ours is exhausting.

I rarely ever speak to anyone we were once close to.  Its just too hard.  Too hard to face the people who watched us try so very hard to love her, and save her and keep her safe.  I'm just so ashamed.  So sorry.  So sad that we couldn't help her. They don't understand and I know that they don't.  I'm glad that they don't have to.  Being quiet is the best I can do.  I can't explain to my family or to those who were once our friends what happened.  All I know is that what we thought to be months ended up being days. Days.   Just a few days... and then she was gone.  I tried so hard.  I loved her more than description.  How I wish I could change what happened.  Go back and see with clear eyes what was happening.  We were just so shocked the morning she left.  So unprepared to say goodbye.

Faith is hard.  It is.  If anyone ever tells you that its not then they are lying to you.  Knowing and believing that she is with God does not make any of the pain go away.  It doesn't fill your empty arms or heal your shattered heart.  Faith is faith.  We still believe in who Jesus is.  We still know where our salvation comes from.  But...get past that and we are so confused.  Our belief in who God is and how He is involved in our daily lives is changing.  That's honesty.   Its the best I can do.  Dave and I struggle to come to grips with the way our daughter died.  The pain.  The suffering.  The horror of it all.  She could have been spared. She could have been taken by Him without all the struggle.   I believe God was able to do that. He didn't, but I know He could have.  I'll never understand why He didn't.   I know He alone holds the power of life and death and that I can't argue with.  I won't even try...but make me understand how her death...  I can't.  I'm not afraid to admit how angry I am over the way she died.  He knows my heart so lying to myself or the world would be ridiculous.

I wanted to live her life without regret.  We tried so hard to make it count.  Every day.  Unfortunately I don't believe we achieved what we set out to do.  I regret trusting and believing that there was more time.  I gave up so many days of her last few months because I truly believe I needed to invest in my older children because Ash would be so ill during this school year that I would be missing so much of their lives.  I was wrong.  I was so wrong.  I made the wrong choice and I regret it.  Had I known we would lose her so quickly I would have never stepped out of this house.  I would have spent every moment with her and the loss of that time haunts me.  It will forever haunt me.

The last time I held her I had NO idea it was going to be the last time.  At 4 am I heard her tiny hand patting the rails of her bed.  I sat up to check on her, talk to her, and see what she needed.  She signed sit up, hold me...and so I did.  I sat her up on the edge of her bed and got on my knees as she leaned her body into my chest.  I wrapped my arms around her and slowly rocked back and forth.  I told her how very much I loved her and how proud I was of her.  I had no idea why I was saying to her the things that were coming out of my mouth, but I said them anyway.  "Your doing a good job, Ash.  A great, great job.  You are so brave and so beautiful.  I'm so proud of you."  She reached her hand behind her and patted the mattress to tell me she needed to lay back down.  I laid her there and propped her elbows and hands, hips and knees on her pillow pets...

Pillow pets make me cry...when I see hers, when I'm walking through a store and see one I know she would have loved, when I see a child clinging to one at a ballgame...pillow pets make me cry and they remind me of a beautiful, precious, baby girl who loved them so very much.


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