Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Jealous of the Saints of Heaven Tonight

Since the early hours of this morning you've now spent 4 years in Heaven...and...

 I'm missing you today.

 I miss you every single day since you left, but today its a longing that has no end.

 I'm wondering what your doing.

 I'm imagining all that you are seeing.

 I'm wishing I could catch a glimpse of you in the place you now reside.

 I'm jealous of all the saints in Heaven tonight.

The first day of your eternal life was the very worst day of our current life.  How thankful I am that the pain you had to endure as your body lay dying has ended.  How very thankful I am that that part is over for you.  Never again will you feel pain.  Never will you fear.  Never will you cry.  Oh precious girl I am so very thankful for those truths.

Still we hurt from missing you.  We hurt from the recurring memories of those last days with you. We hurt from never having the ability to see your face, or hold your hands, or smell your sweet hair again.  This anniversary day of your homecoming is bitter and sweet for all of us.  Its never an easy day.  All four of us struggle through it.  Wishing so desperately that we hadn't lost you.  Wanting more than anything to have somehow saved you from your broken and failing body.  I wanted to spare you the pain of dying and spare your brother and sister the pain of watching you die.  I wanted so much to dry the tears that fell uncontrollably from your daddy's eyes.  I wanted to keep you safe and hold onto you forever.  I couldn't do any of those things.  You slipped from our arms into the arms of Jesus that morning and though the bitterness of death stole you away from us we believe that the sweetness of Heaven awaited your arrival.  How sweet to know that all the hurt ended that very moment.  How sweet to see that you no longer struggled for air to fill your lungs.  How sweet to imagine that as your last breath left your broken body your new life began and all of Heaven rejoiced to see you there.  

This day has been so difficult.  The tears have fallen from my eyes since the moment they opened. I miss you desperately.  I long to see you again.  I can't deny the brokenness that our hearts still feel.  I imagine they always will...but...

I rejoice for you today.  I know you are at peace.  I believe you are with the One Who created you and gave you to us and allowed us to love you for your short life here.  How beautiful it was to have the opportunity to be your family.  How precious a gift you were to each one of us.  Ash, we love you.  Still we love you.  Forever we will love you. If only I could tuck you in again tonight I would still whisper in your ear that Daddy loves Ashley...and Mommy loves Ashley...and Blake loves Ashley...and Allie loves Ashley...and Jesus loves Ashley.

You will be forever loved...forever missed...forever eight.


It would have been...

...her 12th birthday today.

We haven't seen her face since just after her 8th.  How can that even be true? Time doesn't seem to work the way it used to.  It feels like its been forever, and yet it feels like it was just yesterday that we celebrated her 8 years of life.  I can't make sense of it.  Any of it.

Its become tradition over the last 4 birthdays for us to spend this day performing random acts of kindness around our community in celebration of the life that Ashley Kate lived.  She lived a beautiful life.  So full of joy.  Still it stretches us to our emotional limits to put ourselves out there on this day, and even though we experienced great joy today in sharing with those we came in contact with the tears still flowed.  Tonight I sit here in our home with pounding head and heart from the range of emotions we experienced throughout the day.

I wish I could share that time heals and things get easier as the years pass, but the truth is that it hurts. It still hurts. The hurting doesn't go away.  The tears don't dry up.  The empty place that is left inside of your heart when your child loses her battle in this life does not fill itself back up.  It just doesn't.  Standing in the middle of a cemetery on the date that you celebrate the life of your little girl will never feel normal.

I share all of that because that is truth.  It is the reality of living without her here with us.

But...we know we were blessed.  We are still blessed.  Our family was given a gift August 4, 2005 when that tiny 2lb bundle of baby girl took her first breath in this world.  She left us with beautiful memories that flood over our hearts on a daily basis.  We have hurts, but we also have joy  We have joy because she taught us to feel joy.

Ashley Kate, you beautiful soul, your mommy and daddy love you so very much.  We miss you.  We wish we could see who you would have been at 12 years old.   I can't imagine what your day held. I hope that it was filled with joy and laughter. Being in the presence of Jesus is so much more than what we could have given to you on this special day.  Happy 12th Birthday to you our sweet, sweet girl.

You are and will always be...Forever loved...forever missed...forever eight.