In Loving Memory
(This page is dedicated to the memory of my daughter and my grand-daughter who passed away on February 19th 2008.)
At 4:45am the phone rang, Ashley’s name displayed across my cell phone screen. My daughter Ashley was about ready to deliver my first grandchild in two weeks, she must be going into labor early. A frightened woman on the other end of the cell phone exclaimed, it’s Ashley, she’s not breathing. My heart dropped and I found it was difficult to breathe myself. I asked, “What do you mean”? “What’s going on”?
The woman, who was my daughter’s fiancé’s sister, said that Ashley had a seizure a few moments ago while sleeping and the paramedics were on their way. Looking at the phone, I was convinced that I was in a bad dream or nightmare of some kind and I would wake up at any moment. Surely my only daughter and my unborn granddaughter were not in some sort of life threatening trauma? Her pregnancy had been fine. She had although gained some extra weight, and in the end and her doctor put her on short term disability until the baby was born.
I took a deep breath and tried to think. I had to get someone to her quickly since it would take me some time to get there.
I lived over 40 miles away, so I called my father who was closer and told him what was happening and that he had to meet us at the hospital. I woke up my 15 year old son Jeffery and told him there was a problem with Ashley and the baby. He screamed out loud and I calmed him and said, “Jeffery I need you to be strong right now”, “I don’t know what is happening but something is wrong with your sister and the baby”.
We blindly got dressed and then immediately left the house to meet everyone at the hospital. I prayed all the way there. Lord, I don’t know what is happening here but I know it will be ok. At the worst I thought, maybe she’ll lose the baby. It would be sad, but she is young, she and Andre can have more children. I know this would be devastating to her because she has been so happy about becoming a mom, and her and Andre starting their family. They were so in love that it was a pleasure to see them together. It so gave me such a warm feeling that young love was still alive and well.
Jeffery and I arrived at the hospital in positive spirits in hopes that everything was not as bleak as it seemed. I had my head down just trying to be strong for whatever was in store for our family. Everything from this point was like being in slow motion. Andre’s sister walked toward me. My dad was behind her not speaking and she was shaking her head in a ‘No” manner. No?
What is she saying to me? I just saw Ashley 2 days ago to buy her baby’s crib and she was fine. She must be fine. Andre’s sister walked toward me and whispered, “I am so sorry we lost both of them”. As those words left her mouth and to my ears I fell to the ground and screamed. Oh, my God, no not my baby. Jeffery screamed and everyone cried out loud. This was a bad nightmare, surely this has not happened, I must be dreaming. But it was real. I am 41 years old, and on February 19th 2008 I lost my 21 year old daughter and unborn grandchild.
This is a moment that no parent should ever have to endure. Ashley was at the height of her life. She was engaged to a wonderful man who loved her. They were making plans to have a family and live the rest of their lives together. This just does not make any sense.
Losing a child and also a grandchild at the same time is a pain I cannot describe. Even today it feels as If someone has snatched my heart out and walked away with it. I have struggled raised my kids on my own for over 20 years. I was married briefly to my son’s father but that did not work out. I have been the driving force behind running this family and making sure my kids were ok. Even though it’s been difficult, I have been able to buy two houses on my own and try to provide a good life for my children.
Ashley was born in Germany while I was in the Army stationed overseas 21 years ago. She was a happy child and woman and always smiling. One thing that you would always remember was that smile. I was looking forward to my grand-daughter Ashianna and helping them raise her and being a grandma. And in just a few moments they were both gone. When things like this happen you think, “Have I done something to deserve this pain? But then you lean on your faith and realize that God’s plans are always ahead of our own. This has aged me tremendously. I feel as if I have become old overnight.
One moment I am having a great time with my daughter and buying the crib for the baby, and two days later I am making funeral arrangements.
My life has changed greatly. I have become to appreciate all the little moments and every second I have knowing that in a blink of an eye it could be all over. My heart and soul has a hole that will never be repaired. If it were not for my son, I don’t know if I could continue in this life. But as a mom it is my job to be strong and be here for my children. Today I am humble.
Life is taken a little lighter and my goal is trying to enjoy the time I have left. My thoughts are about Ashley and the baby all of the time and I cry sometimes uncontrollably. My life will never be the same.
Hold your children close to you. Spend as much time with them as you can. Laugh with them and just hold them tight. If you ever have to bury a child, it is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life. What keeps me breathing is the thought that one day when I die and leave this earth; I will see my beautiful daughter and my granddaughter again. I have this reoccurring dream that when I pass away, Ashley and ashianna will be waiting for me.
As I walk closer to them Ashley say’s to me, Mom I love you and I am so glad that you are here. Ashianna says “Hey grandma, we have been waiting for you”. Ashianna runs toward me and gives me a big hug and in one moment I feel my heart soul return.
Contact me on 760-596-8702
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