Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday March 7, 2011

I don't have much time. I never have much time these days. My heart is very full tonight, and I need to write down my feelings. Last Thursday marked 1 year since our beautiful angel passed peacefully from this life into the next. As I reflected back over that experience, re-reading blog posts, looking at her funeral pictures, the emotions of those days flooded back into my heart. It was such a heart-braking time for our family. She was so ill, and she had no quality of life left. Yet through it all, she still smiled. She had an unshakeable faith, a quiet calm, that in death, a glorious world awaited her. She was never afraid. She always worried about others. I still remember, on the last night I spent with her, how worried she was about me. She was so sick all night long, and I stayed up with her most of the night with her. I remember her saying, "Mom, I am so sorry I am keeping you awake. You are going to be so tired tomorrow. Please, just lay down and get some sleep." There she was, laying in complete agony, barely able to breathe, and she was worrying about her mom. She was such a sweetheart!! She was my angel.
Sometimes I wonder if I really did all I could for her. Did I tell her I loved her enough? Did I hug her and hold her enough? Did I say all I wanted to say before I couldn't speak face to face with her anymore? Oh how I would give anything for five minutes with her. I want to know what her life is like now. I want to feel that reassurance once again that she is happy and that she knows how much we miss and love her. I want her to know she changed my life. She gave me a reason for living. She gave me a boost of spiritual power I would never have gained in any other way. She cemented our family together. There are so many lives she touched. I don't think we will ever know the scope of her influence. She was a missionary, even after death.

To commemorate her life, we all took last Thursday off from work and school. We went to Salt Lake. We stayed in a motel, and took the boys swimming. They LOVED that. The next morning, we all went to the aquarium in Sandy. Ashley loved fish and sea creatures. In fact, when she was two, the Make a Wish Foundation granted her a wish, and her wish was to go to Sea World in California. She got to see the big whales and dolphins. It was so fun! It was a neat experience to be in that aquarium, remembering our trip to San Diego.

For lunch, we ate in Chuck a Rama. That was Ashley favorite place to eat. Every time we went to the doctor in Salt Lake, that was where she wanted to eat. The boys told Jason and I that we had to eat their, in her honor. So that was what we did.

After lunch, we went up to Primary Children's Hospital. Dr. Etheridge took time out of her busy schedule so we could see her. It was so comforting to be with Ashley's beloved doctor. Dr. Etheridge did so many wonderful things for Ashley over the course of her lifetime. She worked miracle after miracle. She was always kind and considerate of Ashley's feelings. There were many times when she called Jason and I after the appointments, so we could discuss Ashley's prognosis in private, where it wouldn't upset Ashley. We love Dr. Etheridge with all our hearts!! We love Primary Children's Hospital. It is a heavenly place, and I know there are angels there, watching over all the sick children who must stay there. If you sit and listen and feel while you walk down the halls of the hospital, you can feel them. When we went to see our friend's son at the hospital, who had endured a very painful operation, I felt them then. I know there were angels watching over Britton. They were with him like they were with my Ashley.

While the pain lingers, I know Heavenly Father has been so merciful to our family. We have had blessing after blessing. It hasn't been an easy road for sure. Moving to Logan has been hard. I have struggled a lot. I have cried a lot. Jason has struggled. He has shed tears too. Our wonderful sons have struggled. I have come to understand that life will never be easy. Sometimes we hurt. Sometimes it feels like a black cloud of despair is hanging over our heads. We feel like we will never escape. But every trial, every challenge, every heartache, makes us strong. It helps us grow into strong, humble spiritual beings, ready to take our place with our Father in Heaven. While I wish I still had my angel girl, and I will always have a hole in my heart because I can't have her on Earth with me anymore, I am so thankful for this trial, for this experience. I can see and appreciate things I couldn't. Life has a new meaning for me and for my family. We have something to strive for. I am not sure where our road will lead us. But I know as long as we are a close, strong family, we can face anything and we will survive!! Family is everything! I am so grateful for my husband, whom I love with all my heart. He makes my days bright. He lifts my burdens and heals my wounded heart. I am so thankful for my dear sons. They are so delightful, even when they fight. They keep my days interesting for sure! (0: I know Heavenly Father is watching over our family. We will keep moving forward, faith in our hearts, looking to our Savior for strength and comfort. It always comes.

Remembering Our Angel

Remembering our angel. She was such a spunky, special young lady. She always thought of others. Never once, in her life of sadness and suffering, did she lose her faith. She faced every day with the strength of 10,000 stripling warriors. She was our hero, in every way. What an honor, what a privilege to be chosen as her parents. We love you Ashley Marie Winn! There is a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. What a joyous reunion awaits in the world to come!!!!!!!