Sunday, March 4, 2012

What a Special Weekend! (0:

I can't believe it has been two years since we lost our special angel. It doesn't seem like it has been that long. It seems like yesterday she was a tiny baby, struggling to begin her life in this crazy world. In the blink of an eye, she was a elegant, generous, loving, compassionate 12 year old, eager to enter the grown-up world. It was so fun to start the journey into womanhood with her. On her 12th birthday, she was so excited to start wearing makeup. I told her I would teach her after she turned 12. We had so much fun buying makeup and experimenting with it on her. She was such a beautiful little gal. (0: I am so glad I had that last summer with her, before she really started going downhill. She and I had so many fun times, doing mommy-daughter things. I realize now, that time was such a blessing from Heavenly Father. It was a peaceful time, the calm before the storm. But what a great gift to be given those few weeks when she was able to smile, laugh, shop, and talk with her mommy! (0: I miss that so much now! I will lock those beautiful memories forever in my heart!!

Her very last stay at Primary Children's was quite an experience. At that time, she had a double lumin PICC line put in. She was fighting with protein losing enteropathy, and was very sick. They were trying hard to do all they could for her, but we knew her life would not go on for much longer. I remember learning how to change her IV bags and learning how to care for her PICC line. It was so scary at first! But she and I became quite a team. I learned how to care for my little girl, and I feel so privileged that I was the one who cared for her every moment of every day until she passed. I look back on that time, and I treasure every single second. I never left her side. I can say I have no regrets. I loved her the very best I could. Her dad loved her the best he could. Our family survived together. We stood by her and loved her until her last breath. I know she left this life knowing she was a gift to us. She left knowing how much her family, her extended family, and her friends loved her. I will be eternally grateful to everyone that helped and supported us through that awful dark time. It was so hard, but with great faith and loving friends and family, we were able to keep moving forward. We continue to move forward, looking ahead to each new and exciting day. Ashley would want that. She would want us to smile and laugh, to enjoy every moment of being alive. I know she watches over us, and over all those she loved so much. She is never far away. Sometimes I long to cuddle her in my arms just for one more second. I long to run my fingers across her cheeks and through her soft hair, just like she always liked me to do when she was suffering so. She is truly my inspiration to live the best life I can. I want to be where she is someday, with my sweet boys and my amazing husband, reunited eternally, never to be separated again. What a glorious day that will be!!!

So this weekend, in honor of our beautiful angel, we were blessed to travel to Salt Lake. We let our boys choose out what they wanted to do that their sister would have done if she were alive. We ended up going to the Hill Air Force Base Airplane museum. We took her there one time, and it was so fun. (0: We also went up to Primary Children's and walked around the hospital, remembering all the times we spent in various places. We went to cardiology. We ate lunch in the cafeteria. We also donated some toys to cardiology in her memory. It was so wonderful to be back in that amazing hospital. I know there are angels who walk those halls. When you walk inside, you can feel them. I know they are real. They watch over the precious children there. I felt them as we were walking around. I know they watched over Ashley numerous times over the years. I know they are there still. Primary Children's is truly a bit of heaven on earth. It will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

After the hospital, we went to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. The boys had a blast there. I will say though, it is not a place for older children. It is mostly activities for children 8 and younger. Despite that, it was fun, and we all had a great time. (0:

After the museum, we ended up in Murray at the Fashionplace Mall. My sister, Tammy and I ended up a Build-A-Bear and decided to build a bear in Ashley's honor. We chose out the perfect pink diva bear and decked her out in the most darling outfits. We found the perfect sparkly shoes Ashley would have LOVED! We also found the most darling crown and wand to complete her diva ensemble. It was so much fun! (0: What a great way to remember our Miss Sassy Pants! (0:

We were going to go eat at Chuck-A-Rama after the mall, but it was so crowded, we decided to go for IHOP. We had to pick one of Ashley's favorite eating destinations. Thankfully, IHOP wasn't busy. We had a wonderful dinner, laughing and talking, enjoying the time as a family. Of course, the boys were eager to get to the motel. We stayed at a fantastic Fairfield Inn, with a perfect swimming pool. The rest of the evening, we swam and swam and swam. I think they boys would have been happy swimming for the entire day! (0: They truly loved that the most. After swimming, it was ice cream and bed for all of us. We were beat!

This morning, we were blessed with the opportunity to go to Temple Sqauare and see the tablernacle choir. Our boys have never had that experience. It was the perfect Sunday to be at the broadcast. The orchestra performed with the choir, as did the bell choir. What a magnificient program! We left feeling uplifted and full of peace. We spent some more time, walking around Temple Square before leaving for home.

I am eternally grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true, with every fiber of my being. I am so thankful for temples, and for the sacred work that goes on in the temple. I am so thankful for my eternal companion, who makes every day worth living. I am so thankful for our temple marriage, for the knowledge that as long as we live the best life we can, we will be a family forever! Ashley will be ours! Someday we will see her again. We will hold her and cuddle and love her. We will know every single struggle in this life was worth it. We lived a good life. We fought a good fight, and we can finally rest from our cares and troubles, never to be separated again. I am so thankful for a living prophet who leads and guides us today. I always feel the spirit so strongly when I listen to him speak. He is such a wonderful man!! I love the Book of Mormon. It is true!! The peace I feel when I read it keeps me going each and every day. I am so thankful for my family. I have the best family EVER! My parents and siblings mean everything to me. I love them all! I am so glad we all get along so well and we are always there for one another. I would be lost without my family! What a blessing to have the parents I do. They are the best examples of Christ-like living that I know. Most of all, I am so grateful for the opportunity to have had one of heaven's most valiant spirits. I learned so much from Ashley. She was truly patient in her many afflictions. Her testimony was rock solid. Her heart was as good as a heart can be. She filled our lives with blessings. I continue to see more blessings as time goes on. She forever changed my heart and my life. I will never be the same person I once was. I am stronger. I am more humble. She gave me the valiant testimony I longed to have. She made us all appreciate our eternal family. I hope in her heavenly sphere, she knows just how loved she is!! I hope she knows what a difference her life made to so many lives, not just her immediate family.