Christmas Morning with her Daddy and that ugly, orange dinosaur she just needed to have. One of our very favorite snapshots of Ashley Kate. Her beauty radiates from this image. Oh sweet girl, you are missed.
We have now been separated from our sweet Ashley Kate for 4 Christmas mornings. Each one as difficult as the first. I have now spent 4 holiday seasons standing in a cemetery. There are no words for how hard that is at Christmas.
It seems as though I've watched the Father collect so many of our children and take them unto Himself over these last three years. Each time I hear of yet another mother enduring the unthinkable my heart breaks a little more. Death has robbed so many of us of so many moments with our little ones.
As I sat through this Christmas Day choking on my tears as the memories of Ash flooded over me, I thought of all of those mothers who were waking up this morning to spend their first Christmas Day without their child. Oh how my heart aches for them...for me... for all of us. Christmas just isn't Christmas anymore...not once you've walked away and left your most precious of gifts in the ground. Precious mother, I feel your pain today. I cry for your loss. Your longing. Your wanting to wish it all back to the way it once was when sleepy eyes woke with wonder, and stockings hung from the mantle with sweet surprises just waiting to be discovered. How I wish I could spare you from the loss you will be feeling today.
It is so very hard for those around us to understand. So hard for them to see past the painted smile, and the forced effort to be present as the celebration of this day unfolded before us. I wish I could make them see, let them be one of us for just a moment, but yet I would never wish the pain of such loss on another even if only for a short moment.
Today I found my heart searching for understanding...seeking a peace in knowing that our beautiful Ashley sat near the feet of Jesus and not on the lap of Santa for another year. Oh the JOY she must have felt this Christmas morning as all of heaven sang Holy, Holy Holy round His throne. As much as I missed her today...as much as I wanted to give to her...as much as I wanted to hold her close to me...I understand that all of that CAN NOT compare to what Jesus has given, and shown, and bestowed upon my precious girl this day. She has seen Him face to face. She has walked along beside Him. She has touched His face. She has seen the very face of God! I can't even comprehend.
As I long to have her here with me this Christmas day and every other day I am trying so very hard to bring my heart back to these thoughts. These things that I know to be true. He loves her. Although it makes no sense to me how He could love her more than I do, I believe that He does. He must.