Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


How can it be 5 years already...

I wish I knew.

It seems like just yesterday she left us, and yet seems like a lifetime ago all at the same time.  We haven't seen her...

 or held her...

 or kissed her...

 or touched her...

 in 5 long years. 

How do you survive the death of your child? How do you wake up the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year?  I have no idea.  Honestly, I don't.  You feel as though you won't survive.  Your not even sure you want to survive, and yet somehow you keep breathing.  Even though breathing hurts, you keep doing it.  I'm 5 years into this grief journey that began the day our precious Ash stopped breathing and I am still searching.  Scratching and clawing my way through it.  Determined to make her life count.  Determined to not allow her to be forgotten.  Determined to speak her name daily so that she does not disappear from this world.  Determined to use what she taught me about living to make my time here matter.  Determined to hang on to my faith even on the days when I feel as though its gone.

The loss of Ashley Kate broke my heart.  It truly did.  It broke me in a way that cannot be healed outside the gates of  Heaven.

I'm still learning how to live with the burden of grief.  Its not an easy lesson to learn.  It doesn't come naturally.  I read somewhere along the way that grief is just love that no longer has any place to go.  I'm not sure how I feel about that statement, but sometimes it makes sense to me. 

5 years past her last morning with us I can tell you this one thing...I miss her.  I miss everything about her.  I still do.  I imagine I always will. She was the most precious thing I ever held.  She was beautiful.  She was happy.  She was so full of JOY. 

Ashley Kate, you are so loved.  My sweet girl I miss you more than words could ever convey.  How I wish we had been given more time with you.  You lived the life you were given more beautifully than any other person I've ever met.  You never once worried about your tomorrows.  You taught me more about God and His Power than anything.  I learned to trust His character even when I felt that what He was doing in our lives was unfair.  I'm still learning to lean on Him as I grieve for you my precious girl.  I love you.  I miss you.  Oh how I long to see you again. Until that day I'll keep clinging to my faith in Jesus.  You are forever loved...forever missed...forever eight.



  Ashley Kate,

Its 13 minutes past your 13th birthday, and as daddy and I talked about you today I thanked him for saying yes 13 years ago when I called him to let him know about the tiny baby girl who had been born.  He didn't hesitate for even a moment that day.  His response to my announcement was "Lets go get her."  I loved him for that.  In that very moment I loved him deeper than I ever had before.  I loved him for his willingness to love you.  Loved him for his faith that all would be ok.  Loved him for not questioning or doubting or faltering for the slightest moment even though we didn't have a plan and had no idea you were coming. When I told this story with your big sister tonight I smiled when I realized we had been married for 13 years when you arrived.  I guess the number 13 isn't so unlucky after all. 

I'll be honest and share with you that I never could imagine you at 13.  I never got that far.  10...I would lie awake and could picture you...12...I tried so hard when I closed my eyes at night to see you at that age...but 13 I never even dreamed. That truth breaks my heart.  I so wish I could have believed you would still be with us at this age, but I never did.  Somehow I think I knew somewhere inside me that your work in this life...your calling...your purpose would be fulfilled, and you would have already been called home.  The tears are slipping from my eyes as I see that thought spilled out in this letter I'm writing to you on this your 13th birthday. 

I wish you were here to turn 13.  I wish your story was still being told.  I wish I could know you at this age.  I wish more than anything that your journey in this life hadn't ended at just 8 years old.  My heart cries screams in a silence that only I can hear.  I wanted to hold on to you forever, but knew that I could not.  You were never mine to keep.  Only shared with us for such a short time. Still the knowing that your life was created to bring glory to Him does not ease the pain of losing you. I'm learning to trust that His ways are higher than mine just as he says.  Even though I do not understand Him I am choosing to trust Him.  He has you.  He is good. 

The most wonderful thing about your birthday today is knowing that this day would have brought you joy.  We spent this week concentrating on kindness and spreading joy to others.  Its become our birthday celebration in memory of you.   We learned so very much from you about joy.  We love you sweet girl.  We miss you more today than we did yesterday.  We have all been forever changed by knowing you. 

Happy Birthday my sweet Ashley Kate.  You would have made the most beautiful teenager. Your mom and dad love you more than words could ever convey.  I hope with all that is in me that you knew that and felt that every day of your life.