Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dear Ashley...

Dear Ashley, it has been three years, and it doesn't feel like it.  Your heaven day didn't sneak up on us... we knew it was coming... and despite a few tears I cherished the preparing.

Special pink flowers sent from a friend...a cake with pink icing...and slideshows that marked your life from beginning to end.

The sadness of preparing gave way to a joyful celebration of your life, Ashley.  And as we celebrated your life, we also celebrated all the life around us. Mira exclaimed with loud squeals of wonder and arms outstretched, that the leaves were so green when we wandered around the conservatory at Assiniboine park.  How much more, are you celebrating in heaven?  Are you dancing, and running and eating treats?  Are you singing the Alleluia like Mira does?  How full and perfect is your life, now in heaven?  What a blessing to celebrate life as we remember you, Ashley.  You blessed our lives in a profound way.  We love you Ashley.

Love,
Mommy



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blessings all around

The reminders of Ashley and Hope, alive in heaven, are everywhere.  In the butterflies, that remind us of the moments after Hope's burial when many butterflies took flight, and Brodie corrected us to say they were moths, promptly spouting some knowledge from school.  It was a lighter moment, thanks to Brodie.  In the pink and purple flowers we see in various places, especially at church.  In the tree that was planted at St. Timothy's in memory of the girls.  And especially in the rainbows that we see from time to time.  Mira is especially enchanted by rainbows.  She'll talk about a rainbow for a whole day and usually the next day too after she's witnessed one, and I love that she's had a little glimpse of beauty and promise. 

After Hope's funeral (it might have been the next evening), we were all sitting outside on the back deck, enjoying a rare quiet moment.  We watched as a rainbow appeared, and then a second, slightly fainter rainbow appeared below it.  It was an incredible moment of family togetherness as we knew are girls in heaven are still part of our family.  I still think of that moment, and of Ashley and Hope whenever I see a rainbow.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Flowers

Life continues around here, even though it still feels so recent that the girls were here with us.  Mira and Brodie are growing and learning so much, and this brings home the reality that time has passed.

We went to the gravesite in May to plant flowers and this is how we found it...

 
We were pleasantly surprised to find pink and purple flowers blessing our eyes.  We had waited for the ground to dry and it was time to plant.  Mira was excited to clean...

 
Brodie was excited to place the sunflowers...

 
And as we contemplated our little attempt to pretty up the gravesite...

 
We found laughter and joy, right along with our memories...

 
This is the first year we've planted flowers, and I don't mind that we waited for the stone to be in place.  I love seeing the photo's of our girls.  I love rememering their smiles and cuddles.  I love sharing them with the wonderful staff at St. Vital Cemetary.  We've been blessed by incredibly kind, and interested staff at the Cemetary.  It's nice to say 'hi', when we pass them in our work, and sometimes have a chat.  It's meaningful that they remember the funeral days and ask how we are doing.  My favorite moment was the morning when Mira and I went to water the flowers, and we sat at the foot of the gravesites, and enjoyed the sun, clouds and birds, while Mira sang her songs.  Blessings are everywhere.
 
Summer is here.  School is out.  And now we're getting ready for summer fun.  We'll celebrate Hopey's birthday this coming week, with six purple balloons.  Maybe I'll find it possible to finish Hope's babybook this year.  Maybe I should call it a 'Life Book' instead.  Yep, that's what I'm working on as I remember Hopey.  A beautiful book of Hopey's life.  That might bring on some tears...or maybe some more posts, as I've been avoiding the remembering a bit.




Monday, March 18, 2013

Pink Balloons

Today marks the 2 years since Ashley died.  Yesterday we remembered Ashley with her caregivers, Ashley J, Miranda and Lauren, who have become like family to us.  It felt so good to honor Ashley's memory.  We watched her video's and laughed at Brodie's two year old goofy ways, and finished it off by releasing eight pink balloons with our thoughts for Ashley.
 
Brodie asked to watch Ashley again, so I turned on the video camera, and this is what he and Mira are watching this morning...
 

This is Brodie at 2.5 years and Ashley around 5 months.  It's so interesting to think of me standing there taking pictures of my two kids cuddling on the couch together about eight years ago.
 
And today I'm standing here looking at my two kids cuddling on the couch again...

 
You can see Mira holding on to a pink balloon.  The one that she was supposed to release yesterday when we all let ours go.  But Mira let out a little yell of protest every time a balloon floated away.  We kept hearing, "oh no, oh no", but I didn't figure out what the problem was until I saw Mira clutching her ballon for dear life, and shaking her head, while she murmered, "no balloon, my balloon, no go". 
 
So here we are this morning, with our little Miracle holding on to Ashley's pink balloon as we watch
Ashley video's.  How beautiful is that. 
 
We have been so blessed.  I have been wanting to express this for a while now, but always fail to find the words.  I do have my sad days, but more often I am so awed at the blessing.  To have Ashley and Hope in our lives, to love them, to learn from them and to experience the highs and the lows...it is all a blessing.  Life is a gift, no matter what the circumstances.
 
 
 
 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

8th Birthday

Happy Birthday Ashley!  You would have been eight years old today.  We'll celebrate with family today and remember your beautiful smiles, and precious cuddle moments.

I remember when I took this video of you in August of 2009.  You would have been four years old at the time.  You were enjoying a good spell with smiles, and some calm times, and milder seizures.  You were sitting in the kitchen enjoying some music with me, and I noticed your smiles and sat down to smile with you.  Your smiles got bigger and I thought...oh, maybe I should catch a little video.  It wasn't anything huge, just a normal moment in the day.  But I am so glad I took the time to catch that moment.  Ashley, this was one of those moments when you blessed us with a peaceful spirit and a softness that calms the soul.


video
 


 
 
Happy Birthday Ashley!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Simple things

I love remembering the simple things.  Mira sat at the counter the other day, playing with Brodie's lego, completely unaware of how cute she looked wearing her green sunglasses.  She was sticking lego men in the nice cranberry bread I had made!


 
She reminded me of another time when we had the Ashley and Hope gathered at the table to participate in snack time.  This picture makes me smile too!


How is it, that I am so blessed...


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Giving is healing

Ashley and Hope taught me how to give.  I didn't always give with a willing spirit, and I wasn't always joyful but I can tell you what was beautiful.  The beautiful days were the ones when I accepted the work, put aside my own agenda, and gave myself over to loving.  The beautiful days happened when God gave me the grace to love Ashley and Hope without rushing to be done with the work involved with their care.  The beautiful days always involved giving, not getting.

I was reminded of this reality, when I listened to a speaker who shared her own journey of losing two children.  After the first funeral, she felt desperate to escape the debilitating feeling of pain, but was unsure of what to do.  When she read a suggestion that she seek out someone else who was in need and serve that person, she thought, 'ya, right'....but it worked.

I listened to her and a lightbulb went on for me.  I've experienced those days of sadness that were lightened by a choice to do something for someone else.  I've also experienced the sad days when I chose to have a nap, or a coffee break or read a book (distractions that have some value).  The interesting thing is that the distractions didn't serve me well.  They weren't bad, but they weren't fruitful either.  They were just distractions that gave me a 'break' from the sadness.  Giving, on the other hand, always led to a lighter feeling, sometimes even to joy.

I love that!  It makes so much sense to me, that I should use offer up my sadness to God, and serve him by blessing someone else.  I can count numerous memories when I have felt joy at giving.  I'm sure everyone can think of these moments in their lives.  Giving is part of healing.  We weren't meant to serve ourselves.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the opportunity to serve, to love, and to give to these precious children.