Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday March 24, 1995

Today has been a wonderful day. This morning, I was blessed with an oopportunity to help my sister with her boys. Kris had surgery at 7:30 a.m. and they had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. All I did was go out to her house and make sure Zack and Kasey were taken care of. It meant getting up a little early, but it felt so good to be able to help my sis in her time of need. She and Kris have done many things for our family, especially in the last few months. I am so very thankful for the chance to return the favor.

Monica and I were able to finish up our visiting teaching this morning as well. I truly love my sisters! I haven't seen any of them for a very long time now. I feel bad I didn't even send them a note while I was busy with Ashley. But now I have the opportunity to make it up to them. I pray Heavenly Father will guide me to be as helpful to them as my dear visiting teachers have been to me.

I came home and cleaned house like a crazy woman. This afternoon, I went to the chiropractor. It felt SO GOOD to get adjusted. I knew I was all messed up. I needed to get cracked for many months now, but I couldn't leave my angel. So I just dealt with the aches. It is going to take some time to fix all that is out of whack. It hurt to be fixed, but it is means to an end. Tonight I have pains all over! I don't think I have ever been as sore after an adjustment as I am now. The good part of it all, the doctor thinks he can fix my dizziness by adjusting my neck. What a blessing that would be!! I can't wait to get rid of that stupid problem!! We will see how that pans out of the next few weeks.

This evening was parent/teacher conferences. I am so proud to say all my boys are doing excellent in school. They have good grades, and they participate well in class. What a blessing to hear the teachers say my children are a joy to have in class!!! (0: Jason and I have been blessed with not just one, but three other valiant and righteous spirits. They are amazing kids. I couldn't be more proud of them!! I rewarded them by buying them each a couple of new books from the Book Fair. I am really trying to encourage them to read more and watch TV less. I know turing the TV off will help our family so greatly!!

I also found out that I can start volunteering at the school right after Spring Break. I am so thrilled to have that opportunity!!! I think it will help Austin as well if I am there to help keep him in line too. He he he!

Overall, I am really starting to feel I have a place again. I have felt so lost. I still do, but I know as I continue to serve and help others, I will find myself. I will find my place again. And I know Heavenly Father will bless me as I seek those opportunities out.

I have to say one more thing before I hit the sack, I have the sweetest, most attentive husband in this whole world!! He has been such a support to me. He calls me numerous times during the day to make sure I am doing alright. He is willing to run errands with me, to go anywhere I need him to go. He holds me when I cry and loves me when I need reassurance. He is constantly looking for ways to help me with the housework and with the boys. He puts me first in every situation, no matter how tired he is, no matter how stressed out he is. I love him with all my heart!! I thank Heavenly Father every day, Jason is my eternal companion. I can't praise him enough!!! I want the world to know what a fine, righteous, compassionate, loving, and SEXY (he he he had to add that) man that he is!!! He is my rock.

Ok, now that is said, I am going to go cuddle with him. (0: Hope everyone has a wonderful evening!

Wednesday March 24, 1995

Just a quick entry this morning. I have had several people emailing me worrying that they have offended me in some way. It was important for me to let everyone know I am NOT upset at anyone. Some things happened a long time ago, and they are in the past now. That is where they will stay. I was only trying to share my experiences with forgiveness, and how Heavenly Father helps us to forgive. There are so many wonderful people in our life, that are strong, valiant examples of gospel living. I can't express how thankful I am for all of these marvelous people that keep me on the straight and narrow. Much love to everyone!!! Please, please don't anyone worry! I have nothing but love in my heart!! (0: May everyone have a beautiful day!! (0:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Today has been hard day for me. I have been feeling sad. I am sure the reason for my sadness is because this is the first day I have been alone all day long, without my kids or Jason being here. It was difficult for me to face the empty house. There are so many reminders of Ashley here. I decided after I returned from taking the boys to school, to let my feelings out for a while. I put on the wonderful DVD my brother made of Ashley's life, and watched it and cried. It felt so good to get the sadness out! Don't worry. I didn't self pity for long. (0: I got the crying out and then I got busy, making phone calls and cleaning and getting myself ready for the day. I am working hard on cosmotology school. I made more ground today. YEE HAW!! (0: I so want to be in school! I need to keep myself out of the house as much as possible. It is too difficult to be home. No doubt about it!! Austin's teacher is ready to put me to work in his classroom. I am estactic about that. I want to go volunteer with the other teachers too. I love kids and I love teaching. I know being at the school will be a great opportunity for me to serve and feel useful again.

I was very blessed to spend the afternoon with my visiting teacher. She is a wonderful massage therapist, and had offered to give me a complementary massage. I was delighted to get out of the house and go visit with her. I had no idea how tight and knotted my body is. I found out today. Sarah is going to help me work on my sore shoulder and neck. I have lots of aches and pain these days. I enjoyed my time with her at her home. She is awesome!! Both of my visiting teachers are wonderful. I love them both!!! (0: Then after I picked up the boys from school, we went out for a walk. It was so nice to be outside, looking at the trees and flowers growing again. Ashley and I loved going for walks. Before she was too sick, we would walk to the school every day. I felt close to her today as we walked. Close to her, but missing her so much!!!

Tonight I am going visiting teaching with a young girl in my ward. She attends the singles ward and needed a partner for this month. Tomorrow is more visiting teaching for Monica and I, doctor appointment, and parent teacher conferences. So it will thankfully be a busy day. I need to finish up thank yous as well. Most of them are written now, but I don't have all the addresses. I can't believe how many people reached out to us! So far, I have written over 80 thank-you's and I have more to write. That wasn't including all the people who sent cards. We have been richly blessed in so many ways. I can't thank everyone enough for their continued support. We still need it.

Well, better go make dinner for the troops!! Here's wishing everyone a wonderful evening!!! (0:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday March 21, 2010

I would be so ungrateful if I didn't take the time to write down the feelings of my heart. It has been such a spectacular day full of peace. I haven't felt such comfort for a while now. The past week, while busy, was difficult in many ways. Fortunately I had my sweetheart by my side, helping me drag from day to day. And of course I had my rowdy boys, who always keep life interesting. The pangs of loss still found their way into my heart. How I miss my angel!!!!!!!

This morning, when I woke up, I didn't feel good. I felt light headed and dizzy and my ear was aching. I had aches and pains all over my body. My first instinct was to roll over and go back to sleep. I tried, but I knew, as I lay there, we needed to go to church. I knew Ashley wanted us to be there, that we would be blessed for going. I drug myself out of bed and woke up the troops. We were late. We didn't make sacrament meeting, but with Jason's help, we arrived just as the closing song was sung. My sweet Spencer was so happy to be in church. He told me church makes him happy. He is right. I feel so much better when I get my spiritual refill for the week. I felt that happy feeling overtake my heart the moment we walked into the church.

Our gospel doctrine lesson was fantastic! Sis. Quist always does a wonderful job with our Old Testament lessons, but today, the lesson was what I needed. We talked about Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. Specifically, about when his brothers came to Egypt to ask for food for their families. We talked about how hard it was for Joseph to forgive them, after the wrongs they committed. Joseph suffered greatly because of his brothers' jealousy. But he did forgive them. He loved them still. I was asked to read a scripture from Doctrine and Covenants, which was a scripture about forgiving others: D & C 64:8-11

"My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil, they were afflicted and sorely chastened. Wherefore, I say until you, the ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trepasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you, it is required to forgive all men..."

That isn't the whole reference, but the point is, we need to forgive those who offend or hurt our feelings. Sis. Quist asked for examples of times when it was hard to forgive someone of an offense. I immediately thought of a situation which of late has been plaging my mind heavily. It was something in relation to Ashley. I won't go into specifics. But I will say, I have cried many tears over this situation, feeling that my daughter was ignored because of her illness. That is all I can say. Last Sunday, I was again reminded of the feelings I have tried desperately hard to supress over the past few months. I was sad enough, I vented in my blog, but later erased it because I knew it wouldn't help. Long story short here, after our lesson today, I knew what I needed to do to get past these feelings I am harboring. I have to forgive. I am NOT one to hold a grudge. NOT AT ALL! I never have been and I never will be. I know those involved didn't realize how hurt I was. They never knew how hurt Ashley was. And they never will. I know Heavenly Father will help me to let go and forgive. And then I will have peace.

I also was impressed today to share a comment about families. Because of time, I didn't get to share in class, but I wanted to write it down here. In our discussion of forgiveness, we talked about forgiveness in families, and why it is so important to keep peace in our homes, amongst our love ones. My thought: when we leave this life, all we take with us is the knowledge we gain on this earth, and the love of those we associated with here on the earth. The love of our family. There is such power in family. When we had Ashley's funeral, and were surrounded by family, Jason's and mine, (we had aunts, great aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, all of our siblings....it was amazing!) there was such strength from being surrounded by so many people we love so dearly. Our family got us through. They still are. I am so deeply thankful both Jason and I have such good family relationships. There are no grudges. There is no contention. Just peace, harmony and love. And with that, comes a strength that can never be defeated. I wanted to tell everyone to love their families, resolve issues, let grudges go, and let the strength of the family carry them through the hard times. It will!!! It will get you through anything!!!!!! I know this is true. I have experienced it firsthand. I love my family, my extended family, my in-laws....they are all the most amazing people in this world. I would not be who I am without them. I would not survive this trial without them.

I also had another beautiful experience in Relief Society. Our lesson was on the fall of Adam, when Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden. The discussion had turned to life outside the garden, when Adam and Eve knew what pain was, what joy was, were able to have children and exercise their agency. We talked about trials, and how they help us become stronger. We talked about how Heavenly Father has a specific plan for each of us. He knows what experiences we need to help us grow and develop on this earth. The plan was in place for Adam and Eve. The plan is in place for us too. I distinctly knew today, it was not an accident that Ashley was chosen to be our daughter. Heavenly Father knew we needed her. Our entire family needed her. She has brought so much unity into our lives. I can't begin to explain how many lives have changed because of Ashley's example. I know my heart will never again be the same. It is like the eternal perspective has been re-opened. I can see into the eternities, and I have hope of the beautiful world that awaits the righteous. I know one day I will hold my princess in my arms and tell her over and over and over just how much I love her and how grateful I am she was a part of my life. She changed my heart. She changed so many hearts. The world was a better place because she lived in it!!

Miracles still do happen. Our family has been privileged to have our own miracle. We have been blessed by an angel. I know as we continue onward on this journey through life, she will be watching over us. I felt her today. I knew she was proud!! I will keep praying that in the many days ahead, I will continue to feel her near. I pray she will always know how deeply her mother loved her!!!! I will think of her every day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday March 18, 2010

The days are very difficult. I still feel such emptiness. It consumes me. I have to fight hard every day to keep a smile on my face. The tears come so freely!! I feel so lost too. There are times when I don't know what to do with myself. When I do sit and think, I get sad. It is so easy to be swallowed up in memories. My answer to the pain I feel: soft music, NO television, prayer, and lots of hard work. The harder I work, the less I feel pain. I have considered getting a job, but at this point, I am not sure what I would apply for. It has been years since I worked an actual job. It scares me a bit, especially since my head is still off. I feel dizzy every day. It is definitely a problem I have to deal with. It is starting to interfere more my daily life. I would be exercising two times a day if I didn't get so dang dizzy!!! I hate it!! I get nervous every time I drive without Jason. When the car is in motion, I am alright, but the minute I stop at a light or stop sign, I feel like I am on a rocking boat. It is pretty scary. I don't want the world to spin so badly I can't see to drive. I had that happen one day on Eagle Road. It was absolutely frightening! Fortunately, I was close to a parking lot and was able to get out of the heavy traffic. Something is definitely causing my dizziness. I know I was blessed the week we were in Burley. I felt better that week than I have in months. I was relaxed. I thought for sure my anxiety would show its awful head. But Heavenly Father blessed me. The only day I felt dizzy was the day of the funeral, and it eventually subsided enough I was alright. I can always put on a fake happy face and press onward. I have done that so many times over the course of my life. I don't like to let people know I feel sick. But I still do, and I hope and pray soon I can fix this awful problem.

I want to start into school in the fall. I know it is the right thing to do. It is time for me to pursue the career of my choice. My patriarchal blessing tells me that I will be blessed to get the education I need, and that it is important for me to go to college, and train for a career. The problem now, deciding what to do. I LOVE children and teaching. I am three years into my elementary education degree. I am not sure now if teaching is what I should do. I also have a passion for hair, makeup, and nails. I have ALWAYS wanted to attend beauty school. I know I would enjoy that my whole life long and never tire of making people beautiful. I feel at this time that beauty school is where I want to go. I haven't prayed or fasted about it yet. But I have checked into school. I can start in the fall with no problem, and they think I would be an excellent candidate for financial aid. I am so stoked about the possibility of cosmotology school in August!!!


So I actually started this entry a couple of days ago. As you can tell, it was a harder day for me. I was struggling in many ways. That is going to be the norm from now on. Some days are going to be better than others. But there is always something positive to see in every day. I have not once let my sorrow ruin my days. I let the tears come, and then I get up and keep moving forward. I am NOT one to let life pass me by while I sit around feeling sorry for myself. I refuse to let things take me down. There are so many good things about our life now. I have tried hard to focus on what we do have. I am so grateful for my boys. They are busy and crazy and they drive us nuts at times, but I would be LOST without them. They keep me hopping at all times. I am excited for the things we get to do together. I am thrilled for summer to come, for all the new adventures waiting for the Winn family. Jason and I have talked extensively of the activities we want to do with our busy little boys. It will be fun. I know it won't take the pain away, but there is so much joy in family. I take great comfort in my wonderful husband and sons.

This past week has been busy. Jason and I spent some wonderful time together. We even took one afternoon and went to the movies. That was delightful!! I was able to have a lovely lunch with my visiting teachers. I love the sisters who watch over me. They are both kindred spirits and they have been such a great support system. I was feeling sad when they came to get me for lunch yesterday. By the time we ate, talked, and laughed, I felt so much better. What a blessing to have them in my life!!

Next week I already have several things planned to help fill my time. I want to make every day count. If I am going to make it back to my daughter, I am going to need to work hard, and be the best I can be. She set the standard, and we are all going to reach to it!! I am so thankful for all of my trials. I am thankful for the blessings that have been poured out on our family. I am thankful for all the people who did, and still are, walking by our sides, helping us cope with this great loss. We love and thank you all for everything!!

More to come...............(0:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday March 17, 2010

I haven't had a chance to write for a few days. I can't believe how fast time flies. It is already Wednesday, and it has been two weeks since our angel went back to heaven. I am floored it has already been two weeks!! Every day brings new challenges. But I know Heavenly Father is with us every day, every hour of every day. There have been so many times when the waves of sadness overtake me, and I wonder if I will ever be able to stand the pain. I miss Ashley so much! She added so much to our home, even in her last days on earth. She blessed our lives. I am so grateful for the boys. They are busy and happy and I love spending time with them. Austin seems to be surviving. I was blessed to get Austin to his counselor last week. Austin will see Rick once a week for the next couple of months. Rick has some wonderful suggestions of things we can do to help Austin cope with this horrible loss. Austin started his own blog, in which he can write his memories of Ashley. He is also going to make a college of pictures to keep with him. It did help for Austin to get back into school. Yesterday wasn't a good day at school however. He called Jason and I at 11:45 and was very upset. We went and picked him up and took him home. He needed lots of hugs and loving reassurance that his pain would subside in time. I told him we would never stop missing Ashley, but if we really tried hard enough, Heavenly Father would bless us to feel her spirit near. Right now, I thrive on those moments each day when I stop the world around me and draw myself close to the Holy Ghost. I let the spirit fill my heart until I know, my angel is near. It feels so good to shut the world out and let the spirit in. I can't wait to get back to the temple. We need to renew our recommends, and then we will go. I know, in that most Holy place, I will feel my Ashley near. I can't wait!!!! I need to know she is still close. I can't bear the thought of her being far away. I am so afraid of not feeling her around me. It is such a comfort when I do.

It was so nice to have my brother and his wonderful family here for the weekend. Their energetic children lit up our home with such happiness. Our boys were delighted to spend time with their cousins. My youngest niece, who will be a year old in just a couple of weeks, was such a joy to have around. I held her lots, and I found great comfort in her beautiful soul. Alexis is a comfort to our whole family. She has a spirit about her that is undeniable. Ashley always loved Alexis. She held her and played with her every chance she got. I know she saw the valiant spirit in Alexis. I am so glad we were once again able to have Alexis, as well as her wonderful brother and sister, in our home.

Jason and I have lots of decisions to make in the coming months. But I know we will be guided by the Holy Ghost. I am working so hard every day to keep our home a place where the spirit can dwell. One of the biggest things we have done is to turn off the TV. We still let the kids watch a little bit, but most of the time, it is off. I never realized how distracting the TV can be. When it is off, and the house if peaceful, the spirit fills our home. We spend more quality time together. The boys fight less. I am grateful for the advice of a wise man who suggested we do that one small thing.

So we will keep moving forward. There is no option but to continue on, living life and finding as much joy as we can in the world around us. I know Ashley would want that. She would want us to be happy and close. I will forever miss my angel!!! I long for her. I long to talk to her. I long to see her radiant smile and feel of her strength and courage. I know the day will come we will be with her again!!! That is what keeps me going every day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday March 14, 2010

Today has been a difficult day. Every day since we lost our angel presents challenges in one way or another. Today I missed my little girl. I missed her smile. I missed laying by her, stroking her arms and face. I missed hearing her tell me over and over again just how much she loved me. I feel so empty without her. That feeling overwhelmed me numerous times today. I wanted to sit in a little ball and cry until my eyes didn't have any tears left. Of course, with company here, there was no way I could do that. Fake it until you make it. That was what I did. It didn't help the pain. I hurt so much!! I am so happy Ashley is at peace. But man, I miss her!!!!!!! It just won't ever be the same without her in our home.

I thought about Ashley's life today. I thought about all the people who stood by Ashley and loved her and supported her, even after her passing. She was blessed to have an army of supporters. Jason and I never dreamed so many people would reach out to our family to lift our burdens!! Thanks to everyone for the meals, notes, flowers, gifts, time spent driving to Burley for the funeral!!! You have all touched our family! You have honored our angel. Ashley was blessed to have the world's greatest aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends, etc. that were a constant support to her, especially in the last part of her life. She had the most amazing nurses ever. She had the best doctors ever. She had the best oxygen suppliers and PICC line care team. There were so many wonderful angels who made her journey on this earth more bearable. Thank you to all who took such diligent care of Ashley. Thank you to everyone who sacrificed for us and for our angel. There will never be words to thank everyone for the love we have felt!!

Sorry for my mood tonight. I promise I am NOT angry. I am just sad. I have had so many wonderful spiritual experiences since her passing. The spirit has been very strong in our home, and in my heart. I want to keep it that way. When I am close to the spirit, I feel closer to her. I have tried hard every day to keep the spirit with me. It is so hard!! I feel so many emotions! One minute I am smiling and the next I want to cry for hours. At times, I don't want to speak to anyone. There are times when I feel hopelessly lost. Jason has been a wonderful support. Without him, I would be a total mess!!! The one thing I am grateful for, is my knowledge that families are forever!!! We will see Ashely again. That reunion will be so joyous!! I can't wait for the day when I can hold my angel again!!! Until then, I pray for comfort that only God can give. I know it will come. The pain will ease and I will once again feel a little like myself again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Final Night with Our Angel

As I have read over Ashley's final day on this earth, I have perfect recollection of how sick and miserable she was. Her breathing had become labored. Her entire body was a mass of aches and pains. When the fever hit, she was so desperately ill. I remember how panicked I felt, how helpless I felt. At that point, all we could do was pray to our loving and merciful Father in Heaven.

I can't remember the exact time, but it was around 12:30 or so. Jason came down stairs and gave Ashley an anointing blessing. In that blessing, he told her it was alright to go. He promised her we would be alright. He told her Heavenly Father was watching over us. He would bless us after she returned to Him. Jason promised her, the suffering would soon end. Her time was very near. As he finished the beautiful blessing, I had the most amazing feeling come over me. My heart burned within. I felt all the fear leave. The most striking feeling of calm encompassed my entire body. I knew, beyond all doubt, everything was going to be alright. Heavenly Father was with us. The angels were near. I was given the privilege of feeling them. They are real!! Never doubt!! I know they were in our home!! Just as Ashley's patriarchal blessing promised, they came for her. They lovingly wrapped her in their arms and escorted her home.

I was blessed to be right next to Ashley as she breathed her final breaths. Her passing was everything I wished it to be. She didn't gasp for air. She didn't cry out in pain. She simply stopped breathing. It was peaceful in every way. She gently slipped from this life into the next. I was right there. I got to love her and tell how how proud I was, how honored I was, to be chosen to be her mom. I told her over and over, as I held her, just how much I loved her and would miss her every day for the rest of my life. What a beautiful ending to this amazing journey.

The next few hours were a blur. Our wonderful home health nurse came quickly. I can't tell you how efficient Nancy was. She took over the minute she was in the door. As I stood crying, and making calls to family, she made all the other calls for us: to Rasmussen funeral home, to Norco, to Primary Children's, to our doctor. She helped prepare the body. She let me wash Ashley and to help re-dress her little body. Our social worker was here shortly after. Together, Kenette and Nancy disposed of the medications. They took care of everything. They helped clean up breakfast dishes. They helped distract the boys. They stayed until the funeral home arrived, to make sure all was well. I was amazed at their efficiency. Jeff Rasmussen commented to us later at the funeral home, just how blessed we were to have those special women at our side. He said he had never, in all his years of experience, dealt with anyone more compassionate and efficient as they were. I know that was not an accident. Heavenly Father knew we needed Nancy and Kenette. I can't express enough gratitude to them for all their devoted and caring service. They made this journey easy in so many ways.

I was so exhausted when Jason and I fell into bed that night. We both were!! I didn't see how I would make it through the next few days. I prayed for help. I prayed for peace. I prayed for strength to face the future. The next morning, my prayer was answered. When I woke on Thursday morning, I felt happy. Not just a little bit happy, but so happy, I wanted to shout for joy. I knew, it was Ashley. She was telling me not to be sad. She was finally home. She was free from her heavy burdens. She was with her Father in Heaven. That feeling did not leave me for the entire time we were in Burley. There were numerous other times when my heart filled with peace. I felt my little angel. I knew she was with me. I knew she was watching over everyone as we said our final goodbyes. My biggest fear was that once we left Burley, I wouldn't feel her so near. I didn't want to lose that feeling. It has been such a comfort to me!! As we came home, and as I have continued to pray, that wonderful feeling did not leave. I know she is still near. Her spirit continues to fill our home. It is hard!! There are so many memories. What a blessing to have those precious memories!!! What a blessing to have had 12 years with this valiant soul.

I know, with God, nothing is impossible. As we move forward into the future, He will continue to bless us and help us. He will help us find our way. When we think we can't take another step, He will be right there to carry us. I know God lives!!!! I know Jesus is the Christ, and through Him, our burdens will be lifted!! I know life continues on beyond the grave. I know angels are REAL!! They stand near, to help us when we weep. I know someday, we will see our angel again. What a joyous, joyous, joyous time that will be!! I pray we will always live worthy to have that blessing!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday March 10, 2010

I have so much to write about, I don't know where to begin. Over the past few days, I have had some of the most amazing experiences. I know Heavenly Father blessed me and my wonderful family in numerous ways. I know Ashley has been close. I have felt her multiple times. I so wish she was still here. There is a huge hole, and it hurts. I am trying to stay busy. Jason has been home. He will be home for the next week or so. He is wonderful. He distracts me and makes me laugh. I am so thankful I don't have to face this house alone. I couldn't do it. There are too many memories here. There are so many reminders of our angel. I think I am doing alright, and then I see something she read, or played with, or listened to, and the waterworks start up again in full force. I am hoping in time I won't feel so much pain. I think it is going to take a long time for the pain to dull.

As for the boys, they have been alright. Preston and Spencer have done amazingly well. They have had their sad moments, but for the most part, they are happy. Austin has had a rough time. He is consumed with grief. For three nights in a row, he was so sad at bedtime, he came and slept with Jason and I. One night, he was so upset, Jason gave him a blessing to help him calm down. We had no idea he would handle Ashley's passing like he has. We thought it would be Spencer who was the most affected. Spencer spent more time with Ashley than any of the other brothers. But we were wrong. Our poor Austin misses his sister greatly. On the way back from Burley on Monday, we stopped to get fuel. The other boys went into the store with Jason, and I sat in the car with Austin. He talked to me about how when he came into the bedroom where Ashley was, she always took the time to tell him that she loved him. He said, "Now I won't ever get to hear her tell me she loves me. I will miss her voice so much!" I told him he may not get to hear her voice, but he can always feel her near. I told him to pray harder than he has ever prayed before, to have the peace Ashley is still watching over him. He has taken great comfort in holding her things close. When we arrived home, he came into our bedroom and laid where she had once lain. He snuggled her pillow. He watched a movie she loved. And I think for a short time, he felt a little peace that only a loving Father in Heaven can give.

We will continue to keep moving forward. What a blessing and a privilege to have this experience. I know my heart is changed forever!! Our family is closer than we ever dreamed possible. Our spiritual eyes have been opened. The eternal perspective is in focus once again. What a miracle!! What an opportunity! I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful support and love given to our family. I never dreamed so many people would rally around us, helping us carry this burden of grief. Jason and I were amazed at how many people attended Ashley's funeral. And I know, if it had been possible, many more would have come. What a tribute to our beautiful Ashley!!! We were not alone. Our angels held us up. I know we will continue to be supported as we move through the next few weeks.

Viewing Pictures from March 7, 2010

I couldn't have been happier with how wonderful our angel looked when we saw her. Her hair was beautiful. Her color looked so natural. They even took the time to paint her fingernails. I was touched with how meticulous they were with her little body. They promised me they would handle her with care, and they did, in every way. I can't express enough gratitude to the funeral home. They were amazing!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pictures from March 3, 2010

These pictures were taken just a short time after Ashley died. I had the privilege of helping Nancy wash her body and change her clothes. Nancy lovingly placed her on our bed. We were blessed to have Ashley with us for about five hours before the funeral home came for her body. This was our request. Had we asked, the funeral home in Burley would have sent a local funeral home to get her sooner. But I wanted to keep her here for as long as possible. The boys were able to come into the bedroom and sit with Ashley. It was like our own informal, private viewing. We touched her hair and held her hands and stroked her cheeks. The boys chose out some of her favorite toys to send with her body. We had the wonderful opportunity to sit and talk about death and the spirit world. We talked about the plan of salvation. We talked about how we would be a family forever. There are no words to describe the peaceful spirit that was in our home as we sat with our little angel. It was absolutely overwhelming. I knew she was near. And I knew she was at peace.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Viewing Information

I mentioned that the viewing was on Sunday night from 6 to 8 p.m. but I neglected to mention the location. The viewing on Sunday night will be at the Rasmussen Funeral home located 1350 E 16th Avenue in Burley, Idaho. There will also be a viewing at the church one hour prior to the funeral. Thanks again to everyone for everything!!! (0:

Please watch the blog for more to come. I have so many wonderful experiences I would like to share that I don't have time to write about now.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Funeral Arrangements for Ashley

First of all, I want to thank everyone for absolutely everything: meals, flowers, help with children, care packages, emails, blog comments, etc. I especially want to thank our wonderful home health nurse and social worker who made this morning so easy. They came in and took care of everything at a time when my heart was truly grieving. Thank you Nancy and Kenette!! We love you!! I also want to thank Dr. Etheridge and the wonderful staff at Primary Children's hospital for 12 wonderful years of loving care. Dr. Etheridge, you are the most amazing cardiologist in the world!! We love you with all our hearts and look forward to visiting with you soon. I could go on and on. We have had so many people reach out to our family. Thank you all for serving and loving us.

Ashley's funeral will be on Monday March 8, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. Because we are going to bury Ashley in the Paul Cemetery, we made the decision to hold her funeral in the Burley/Rupert area, specifically in the little town of Paul, Idaho where I grew up. It is about 2 1/2 hours east of Nampa. The Paul Stake Center is where I went to church for most of my life, and it is truly fitting that it would be the church where we say goodbye to our angel. For those of you who would like to attend, please email me and I will happily give you more specific directions to the church there. Really, it isn't hard to find because Paul is so little, and it is the only LDS building in the town. (0:

I have some wonderful things to share that happened today, but tonight, I am completely exhausted and looking forward to some cuddle time with my wonderful husband. (0: I will write another entry soon to share with you some of the amazing things that happened on this day. Heavenly Father has truly blessed us with peace. I know Ashley is happy. I know it with all my heart. Her courageous battle is finally over and she is with her Father in Heaven, laughing, running, dancing, singing.....doing everything she couldn't do in this life. What a blessing to be a mom to such a valiant spirit!!!

Thanks again to everyone!! We love you! We thank you!!

Ashley is gone

Ashley passed away peacefully about 6:15 this morning. We will update the blog soon for funeral arrangements. Thank you all so very much for your prayers, for your love and support!!

5:45 a.m. UPDATE

It has been a horrible night. Ashley definitely has pneumonia. I think I have slept about two hours. Ashley has slept even less. She is in and out of drowsiness, but hasn't been able to really sleep. Her breathing continues to decline. You can hear the fluid in her chest. It is bad enough now, she is almost gasping for air. I have given her all the medicine I dare. I don't know what else to do but pray. Jason gave her another blessing a few hours ago, and she did calm down for a bit after the blessing. At the current moment, she is NOT calm. She cannot breathe! It is horrible!!! But at least her fever is down. I am so grateful the fever isn't raging anymore. I gave Ashley lasix around 2:00, but so far, she has not been able to go to the bathroom. I attempted to get her on the potty, (at her request), around 4:30. She went a little bit, but then I couldn't get her back into bed and had to get Jason to lift her. Her body is shutting down. I am praying now that Heavenly Father will be merciful and take her home. Oh how I pray she won't have to stay on this earth and suffer like she has tonight!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ashley spiked a fever just after 11:00 tonight. It was 100.9 under the arm. I called Nancy for help. Nancy thinks she is most likely getting pneumonia from the fluid. There is nothing we can do but try to keep her comfortable and fight the fever as best we can. At the moment, she is breathing super fast (expected because of the fever), and you can hear the congestion in her chest. You know she is really struggling when she begs for oxygen!! I hope and pray that Heavenly Father won't let her suffer much longer!!! I am so worried and scared!!!! Please pray for us!!!!!!!

Tuesday March 2, 2010

Just when we thought things couldn't get worse, they did. I don't mean to be pessimistic. But Ashley has continued to decline. Thankfully, last night was a better night for her. She slept from midnight clear until 5:30 a.m. I was thankful she was able to sleep, but it meant she didn't get a dose of lasix in the night. I wasn't about to wake her up. I figured sleep was more important that the medicine. I was up at 3:00 to let the dog out, and then stayed awake for awhile, just listening to her breathe. She was breathing so fast, and I could hear rattles in her chest. I knew she was fighting the fluid. But she looked so peaceful, despite the breathing difficulties. It was almost like she was in another place. I was so grateful to see her be at peace.

As you can imagine, not having an extra dose of lasix, she sounded awful when she woke. She was coughing and puffing. It took most of an hour before her meds kicked in and she was able to relax and go back to sleep. Even then, she was working to breathe. She did wake up just briefly around 11:15 and tried to eat a little bit, but by the time she finished, she was so exhausted, she laid back and crashed immediately.

I was so thankful for Jason's help today. Austin turned up with an upset stomach. He was feeling sick last night, and still had trouble this morning, so I kept him home. Of course, we totally freak when we have germs in the house. We have to. Anything that passes to Ashley would kill her. Jason and I don't want sickness to take her life. She is suffering enough! So, to protect me from the germs, he stayed home and took care of Austin so I wouldn't have to interact with him so much. I don't want Jason to get sick either, but he said it was more important for me to stay healthy. Bless his heart!! I was very very very grateful he was home. With Ashley continuing to struggle so much, I was nervous all day long. He always calms me down and makes me laugh. I needed that distraction today.

This evening, Ashley's breathing got worse. I ended up giving her ativan, morphine, and hydrocodone around 4:30. I gave her more morphine this time, which is what Nancy suggested we do to help Ashley's breathing relax. It did help. She calmed down and fell asleep for quite a while. Jason, in the mean time, took the boys to Pack meeting. I was so glad the boys were able to go and get their awards. What a trooper Jason is for helping do that tonight!!! (0:

Shortly before they came back from the church, Ashley woke up in horrible pain. Her legs were paining her greatly!! They hurt so much, she cried! I didn't know what to do. It wasn't time for more pain meds yet, so I sat and gently massaged them. I also got the heating pads out and put them on her legs. It was literally a minute by minute countdown to the time she could take her pain medication. She was in so much pain, she begged her dad to give her a blessing. Oh our poor angel!!!! She was miserable!!! What a blessing to have the priesthood!!!

With the meds on board, and the heating pads back on, and a wonderful priesthood blessing given, she at last fell asleep, but not for long. The lasix hit and she had to go to the bathroom. Her legs were still so sore, she struggled desperately to get on the toilet. Then she was so weak, I couldn't get her off. I had to call Jason to come lift her off and help put her back in bed. Thank goodness for his He-man muscles!!!! If he hadn't been here, I don't know what I would have done. She was stuck and I am not strong enough to lift her back on the bed. I think it is time to consider Depends. Nancy suggested that option when she was here on Monday. I told Ashley we could use them in the bed, and she wouldn't have to get up. With how sick she is tonight, she was willing to consider that. I will discuss that with Nancy tomorrow. We have to do something. Ashley can't get to the toilet. It is awful!!

I have a feeling we are in for another long night. I hope not, but Ashley is not doing well. I pray with all my heart and soul that soon Ashley will be released from her broken physical body. Oh how she suffers!! I can't bear to watch her!!! It is killing me!! It is killing Jason!! It would be such a blessing for her to go. We will continue to pray that soon she can be released from her burdens. They are so heavy!!!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday March 1, 2010

This is going to be a very short post. I am super tired tonight, and Ashley is not doing well.

Last night was horrible. Ashley woke up just after 2:30 and could not breathe. Her lungs sounded horrible, and her nose was stuffed up. She was miserable! I did what Nancy told me: gave her a dose of lasix to help with the congestion, gave her ativan and morphine, propped her up high on pillows, and prayed!!! I also used the saline nasal spray to help get some of the gunk out of her nose. The spray did help so she could blow her nose. But she was up for almost three hours after that. I have no idea when she finally was able to sleep. We put on a movie and I fell back to sleep sometime in the middle of it and woke up as it was ending. Ashley had to go the bathroom a couple of times in that time frame. Thankfully, when I got up this morning, her breathing was more relaxed. She still struggled, but she was not heaving and puffing and congested like she was in the night. Nancy and I agreed that she needs the middle of the night lasix dose to help keep on top of the fluid in her lungs. It means we have to get up a little more in the night, but I don't care. If it keeps her comfortable, I will fly to the moon if I had to. I hate to see her working so hard to get air. It is horrible in every way!!!! We will also increase the morphine and ativan as needed. Those drugs work well together in combination to help relax her respirations a bit. I was worried about over medicating Ashley, but right now, I am not. It is all about comfort, and if she is sleepy, it is a blessing. It is so much better than seeing her work for every breath!!

Over the course of the evening, her breathing grew worse again. I can hear the congestion in her chest as she is next to me now. I propped her up really high to help her breathe a little better, and I made sure to give her a good dose of ativan and morphine. I just pray she will be able to breathe and rest tonight. I am so worried right now. It doesn't look good. If it comes down to it, I will ask Jason to give her a blessing. I have great faith that a priesthood blessing will relieve her suffering. I trust in that more than I do in the medicine. Miracles happen, and we have seen so many over the course of Ashley's lifetime. I know they won't stop now. Not when we believe in a loving Father in Heaven, who hears and answers every prayer. I know she would be blessed. Ashley has such great faith!!!

May everyone have a good night. Keep praying for us. The battle is still raging!!!!