Its been such a long time coming.
Such a journey to get to this place...this place where I ready to step out in faith and share with the world and with all of you what has been brewing in my heart.
I'm nervous...a little afraid...and a lot excited.
Still I think we are ready...
ready to tell you about...
Please take a moment to go over to our new website at www.ashleysroom.org and look around. Its taken us months to design it, to have the image of her drawn, and to get everything just right, but we are pleased with the final results. An artist in Malaysia took the image we provided of her and brought our sweet Ash's character illustration to life. When I look at it I see her. The big bow reminds me of our beautiful Ash with her long, dark hair. I can see her in the image, and I hear her laughter spilling out of that big smile. It makes me feel happy when I look at it, and I haven't felt happy in such a long time.
I have struggled for so long trying to decide what I wanted to do in her memory, and how I wanted to get it done. I had so many ideas and yet this little idea just never went away. I came back to it time and time again. Something about it, about the Pillow Pets, and about the way I felt when I thought of how much comfort they brought to our Ash especially in the final months of her life made me choose this above all else.
I am working diligently out of Ashley's Room these days. Overcoming the sting of its emptiness as it fills up with Pillow Pets. I giggle to myself wondering what she would think if she could see it now. Most days I work with tear stained cheeks. My mind filled with her memory. My heart desperately searching for a way to make a difference. I am reminded so often of the little things that meant so very much to me in the days, weeks, and months of those long hospital stays. The little things that made the biggest difference in our days. Its those memories that drive me to use something as simple as a Pillow Pet with a tag attached to it that comes from her room to share with a hurting family that they were thought of, prayed for, and remembered today. Nothing that will change the world, but maybe just a little something that will change a small moment in the world their critically ill child is living in. Its not much, but my hope is that it may be a blessing.
Selfishly it helps my broken heart to know that somewhere, someone will read that little tag we have attached and say her name today...Ashley...it will be read, perhaps even spoken aloud...and that as silly as it may seem comforts me. Just knowing she will be remembered helps.
Already we've been so blessed through Ashley's Room. I stood in line with two baskets full of pets one day and a total stranger asked me who they were for. I briefly stated I was purchasing them in memory of my daughter for children who were in the hospital and she insisted on paying for one of the baskets.
Tears slipped from my eyes. Blessed... Comforted... Humbled...by the act of a stranger.
My mom sent me a text along with a photo of a pile of Pillow Pets she had purchased on Ashley Kate's birthday in her memory. Again...tears flowed. No one had ever done anything for her birthday since she left and that simple act in her memory blessed and comforted and humbled me.
This morning we received our very first request to host a Pillow Pet Drive in her memory. I am so blessed. So humbled. So excited.
So although its taken a while to get it right, we have finally done it and now we are ready to share with all of you a little bit about our precious Ashley's Room. Its a beautiful place.