Monday, April 21, 2014

From Disconnected to Connected

Being disconnected has been my world for a few years, disconnected from feelings, love, and life. This past weekend we were asked to think of a word that would be our intention for the weekend as we embark on some heavy, beautiful grief work. The first word that came to mind was connection. I wanted to connect to my feelings, others feelings, Mckenna, my mom and feel with my whole heart without disconnecting from the world around me. I needed to feel what came up and allow myself to just be with it, trust it, honor it and love it. I needed to love myself enough to dig deep and reach in and feel what I try so hard to disconnect from. Being disconnected is a lonely world and it’s a world that I really don’t care to live in anymore. I let my guard down and allowed myself to be vulnerable which allowed me to truly be with Mckenna the entire time. I felt her with me, I honored her life, I was her mother and mothered her the only way I can now.

My head was swirling with memories of Mckenna’s life, our life. I felt her in my arms, I felt her in my heart, I felt her all around me and she made her presence known in more ways than one. I have missed her since my heart has been consumed with my moms death. I have felt more disconnected from her than I ever have. I tried telling myself that she is allowing me to grieve my mom because she is a busy little girl changing lives, but I missed her and felt as if I was forgetting her. This weekend reminded me that I will never forget her, I will never stop loving her, and I will never stop being her mother.

 For many years I have allowed others feelings and emotions to control how I grieve, share and feel, in order to make them feel better, to not feel so judged and to feel accepted. In doing this I have allowed myself to become more and more disconnected from my child. The child that I gave birth to, the child that I was so honored to watch grow, the child that I held as her heart stopped beating. How could I allow this to happen for so long? How could I allow others to make me feel like that there is something wrong with me because I miss my child? How could I not share her beautiful life? Mckenna was here, she lived, she was so very beautiful and she was mine. I no longer want to feel disconnected from her and I want to share her and be able to be her mom because I have every right to miss her and talk about her because she is my daughter and she died. Her little body is laying in a little pink casket underground wearing a purple dress with her favorite play phone and a book, that is not the way it is supposed to be and for me to feel like I can’t miss her is not fair
I too was the mother who could not imagine living without my child, I was the mother who missed her child when she was away from her, I was the mother who cherished every moment, I was the mother who took pictures, videos, gave kisses, gave hugs, tucked her in at night, I was a mother just like most mothers. Now I am the mother who held her child when she died, the mother who buried her child, the mother who misses milestones, the mother who will never get to watch their child grow up, the mother I wish I wasn’t.
Just remember a bereaved mother/parent is just like you, the difference is that your child is still with you….
I took so much away from this past weekend, and I am so very blessed to have had the chance to be there and learn about so many beautiful children and to be with such beautiful parents who love and miss their children.


Monday, February 17, 2014

***Sensitive*** My Memories, My Pain....Everyday

This is my reality, this is in my head every day, this is my memory of the day and night that I lost my mom…..

I call you, no answer
(you will call me back)

This is your new pattern, don’t pick up, don’t call back
(slow worry sets in)

Call again
(why aren’t you answering? Please pick up)

Continue on with my day
(call mom again later, she is will answer, you're just napping)

Call again no answer
(What the hell mom why aren't you answering…….you're fine, probably drinking)

Go to my internship, worry on the back of my brain

Call again, no answer
(ok this is not like you mom, please answer your phone so I know you’re ok)

Call Brandon, maybe he has heard from you
(nope, well shit, you're ok, you have to be ok)

Driving home
(I will check on you tomorrow)

Nope tomorrow is too long, check on you now.
(you're ok, I know you're ok)

Put the key in the door, deep breath

Lights are off, TV is on. I slowly walk in
(you're ok, just sleeping, or drunk)

Stand in the dark staring at your body, trying to focus to see your breathing.
(why aren't you moving? Why aren't you waking up? You're a light sleeper)

I turn on the bathroom light
(Why aren’t you moving mom? What’s wrong with your feet?)

I slowing move towards your head, I notice your hands, the colors not right
(no, no, no. no, no, no, no, no, no…..MOM!!!!!)

I run to turn on a brighter light, run back to your side and yell your name, Mom!!! MOM!!!
(No, no, no, MOM! MOM! Can't touch you, but I have to)

I touch your leg…Ice cold. Shaking, crying, dog jumping on me
(you’re really dead, you’re really dead, no, no, no, no)

Call 911, hands shaking, heart pounding.
(you can’t be dead mom, no, no, no, no)

“My moms dead”
“Ok what is the address”
(shaking, tears, panic)
“Do you want to start CPR”
“No she’s dead, her fingers are black, she’s ice cold, she’s dead”
(I need to call Brandon, I’m all alone)
“Ok go outside and wait for the police”

I hear sirens, I see lights, I need Brandon
(You’re really dead, this can’t be happening)

Time passes fast, time passes slow. We cry, we talk about you, we cry in each others arms. We are now without you, without dad, it’s just Brandon and me.

Sitting in a daze, having conversation, crying

It’s time to say goodbye. I’m not ready. It came too fast.
(How can this be happening, not ready to say goodbye, not ready to see you for the last time)

Brandon and I hold hands, I pull down the blanket, we cry, I come around and sit with you, I place my hand on your head, I tell you how sorry I am, how much I love you.
(No, no, no, no, no, no deep, deep cry from deep within me escapes my soul)

I kiss you, I touch you one last time, it’s time
(no, no, no, no, no….I don’t want to say goodbye to you mom)

I can’t control my tears, I can’t control my sobs, I can’t control my pain it is out for all to witness. Brandon holds me as I kneel to the ground. The sobs release.
(Damn it mom I miss you already, why did you have to die?)

I watch them take you away in a body bag, put into the back of a van and driven away. A piece of my soul left with you that night.
(This is really happening, she’s really gone, I just found my mom dead)

I carry these memories; I carry this moment with me every day. Different parts of this night pop into my mind at any given moment taking my breath away. Losing my mom has been the second hardest thing I have had to go through. No matter what my mom and I had a special connection and I will always and forever miss her.

Mom I love you beyond words…You are my mom. Love is bigger than death and in that very moment my love for you was breaking my soul, breaking my heart because I love you so very much. We are connected more than I could handle, my love for you was too much for me to get too close and I am so very sorry. You will never be forgotten and I miss you so, so, so very much. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Change of Plans....YAY!!!

I have been on this journey of going to school in Houston for months now. It has been my every focus and thought since Aug/Sept. I wanted to go to Houston so bad because it was what I felt I needed. It was a clean start with a great opportunity to grow and step outside of my comfort zone and get a great education. I went for a visit last month and to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed with Houston. The school was beautiful and old and the social work program is rather impressive. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like about the program, but overall it seemed to be a good program. Though I struggled with Houston as a whole. The city, the people, it was all very overwhelming for me and kind of discouraging.

I came home not as excited and was kind of disappointed. Ever since coming home something about it didn’t feel right. This past week I have felt somewhat lost and nervous about feeling this way after all these months of making these plans. Then I had a conversation with a beautiful friend and something she said really stuck with me. She said, “some of the worst decisions I have made were based on fear, and some of the best decisions I have made were based on love.” I have sat with that all week and came to the decision to not go to Houston.

The main reason I have decided to stay and go to school in AZ is because of my family (love). We have been through so much the last few years and we are just now getting closer and I want to actively participate in their lives and I want to live life with them. I just couldn’t leave because I would be missing out on so much.

Now for the good news that so many have been waiting for…..I will be able to take a graduate course online class this summer to get me caught up and start classes in the Fall in FLAGSTAFF!!!! I will be MOVING in Aug up NORTH. I am beyond excited and feel that this is just the change I need but still close to my family. I will get the best of both worlds.

I am blessed beyond blessed to have such amazing souls in my life. Talked to a beautiful soul friend this morning and she reframed my through process of looking at this Houston journey as a failure. She said that your journey of working through this process has allowed yourself to process of parts of my life that may not have been addressed if you had not been working on this Houston journey.

It’s all growth and I am just glad I saw it before I actually moved.

So Flagstaff here I come…..Oh how exciting!!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


For years people have said to me, “it’s not your fault”, “don’t blame yourself”, “it was an accident”, and those words have always hurt me. Many may not understand why it would hurt me but many do not know what it is like to kill their daughter…unintentionally. Those words may be uncomfortable for others to hear or even say, but they are truth, they are my truth. I did not intend for the accident to happen, I did not drop the television on purpose, I did not mean to kill my daughter, but it is what happen…unintentionally. My hands moved the tv that fell on my daughter, the tv that took her life. I have replayed what happened in my head thousands of times, the moment that changed my life forever. Many could not comprehend what it was like to have this vibrant, happy, healthy, beautiful baby playing, following me around carefree because she had nothing to fear and the next she is laying under a television that you moved….gone in a matter of seconds. That moment has taken my breath away more times that I can count, that moment has changed me and that moment I have taken responsibility for. I killed my daughter…unintentionally and telling me to not blame myself, that it’s not my fault is not the truth. I am able to live with this and I am able to say it out loud.

The magnitude of what happen sometimes simply takes my breath away and I really am not sure how I have survived it. How I can continue to live my life without my daughter, how I can continue to live with my truth but I do. It has taken me a long time to say the words unintentionally because that word did not matter I killed my daughter end of story, but that is not the whole truth,  it was unintentional and now I am able to combine the two without having a bad taste in my mouth.

I will go to my grave with what I did and I will always have the regret of moving that television. I will not sugar coat my truth because it is hard for others to hear, I will only speak my truth.

Mckenna is so very loved and is missed every single day and there is not a day that goes by that I do not wish that I didn’t move that television. I have worked incredibly hard to be in this place, it has been hell but I am here…..I have survived.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hopes the Word for 2014

I had written a blog for the new year but it just didn’t seem to feel right, so here is my reattempt.

2013 was a year of joy, loss, grief, sadness, sorrow, happiness, growth, empowerment, disappointment and pure love. It will go down in history as one of the most challenging years of my life. That being said the words that keep coming up are growth and living.

Looking back on my moms’ death I have come to see or have chosen to see it this way, that my mom has given me the gift of life. Yes she gave birth to me, but it runs deeper than that. My mom faced a life of many challenges that started at the tender age of 4. From that moment on the beautiful, innocent little girl grew up and was lost in a world that slowing spun out of control. My mom wanted so much out of life, she was so beautiful, loving, compassionate, giving and full of love, but with so much pain and sorrow in her heart it was hard for her to see the light. Her life was sad, and lonely, (I so wish I could go back and just hold her and tell her life is beautiful and you are worth living for, you are worth loving, you are worth so much more than you ever know). I was slowly seeing that I am just like my mom in so many ways and I did not want to be sad, and lonely for the rest of my life. I wanted to live truly LIVE.  

After my moms death I was driving and I heard something that has stuck with me and has been my reminder to live life,  heard, “you’re too beautiful for this world to let it devour your existence like it did mine”. My mom gave me the gift of life just by saying those words. I feel deep in my soul that my mom is at peace and she is free from pain, sorrow and heartache. I feel she is now and forever will be full of, joy, happiness and pure love. Everything she deserved to have while she was here.

 Last year was a year that I graduated with my BSW, I lost my brother, I lost my mom, I failed my internship and yet through all that I found myself wanting to live life. I want to live a life that if I die I will know I lived, really lived. I am not setting expectations on 2014, but I am going to have hope. I am going to take it moment by moment and cherish this life and all it has to offer. I am going to look around me and see the beautiful things around me, be with the ones I love, and allowing myself be still and feel. Reaching a place in my life where I can be sad, happy, empowered, lonely, joyful all in the same day is what I call growth.

Here’s to the new year and to everything that may come my way……

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Houston Bound....Fingers Crossed Anyway

Not even really sure where to begin on explaining this new adventure I am going to be embarking on (fingers crossed anyway). After the summer I had I had to dig deep and figure out how I was going to “pull up my boot straps” as my mom would say. How I was going to not let the magnitude of so many overwhelming, scary, sad, terrible things that happen devour my existence. Well when I put it out there that I day dream of attending the University of Houston for my masters in social work, I got a response that I wasn't expecting. I guess that was my push to really research and figure out how to pull it off.

 Would I really be able to attend a college out of state???

Could I really move to a city on my own not knowing anyone???

Can I really do this???

Well I have not felt so drawn to something like this is a long time. That overwhelming force of, “that is where you are meant to go” feeling I get when I push and challenge myself. I figure if I can work in the same hospital that my daughter died, I can challenge myself with achieving this goal I have set out for myself. I have been in the process of getting everything I need to apply to the college and to the social work program. It brings such excitement inside me when I think of this adventure, a fresh start, a new place, a change of scenery and new beginning. The past few years I have experienced such loss, such heartache, such tragedy that I feel that I need out for a little bit. I need this to bring life back into my soul like it has not been in a very long time. I will be pushed out of my comfort zone so much that I will be forced to be vulnerable to make new friends, and put myself out there in order to get my degree and do what my heart tells me I am meant to be doing. If my goal works out I will be moving at the beginning of Aug of next year. I have a trip planned in January with a good friend who will ask questions that I may not think of and be my travel partner to be tourists in the city I may call home next year…..

This is a once in a life time opportunity to be brave and go after what I want and become the person I envision and know I can be. Nothing is holding me here. I will miss my family and friends, but that just means people will have to come visit me. I need this and I want this and I am bound and determined to make it happen.  I have some great supportive people in my life who believe in me and are excited with me. I am also blessed with a daughter and mother who I feel guide me everyday. The love I have for them and the love they have for me is indescribable.

What is this life for if I don't at least try? How can I not try? What do I have to lose?.......  

Houston here I come…..(fingers crossed anyway) J

Friday, October 4, 2013

Grief Isn't Easy.....

Hi my name is Ashley and I am a mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt and friend. I am sensitive and get my feelings hurt easily. I am respectful of my elders and to people in general. I am a loyal and honest friend who would drop what I am doing to come help you. I am broken hearted and sad most of the time. I day dream about the future, but question if I will live long enough to experience it. I sometimes don’t feel worthy of love. I often wonder who would love me and why would they love me. I question where I belong in this world. I have friends, but each of us are in different places in our lives that it’s hard to know where I fit into their lives, and theirs into mine.

 I’m a bereaved mom. I try very hard to live this life and become someone and make a life for myself that doesn’t always reflect the fact that I have a dead daughter. I am discovering that, that is impossible. I have a dead daughter and that isn’t going to change. She is my life and how can I have a life that doesn’t reflect her beautiful soul?

I am a motherless and fatherless daughter. Each death was very different and each one knocked the breath out of me. I have tried my best to move forward since my mother’s death, but I am finding it hard to do. I am sad more often than not, and I often get frustrated and judge my own grief because I think, it’s not supposed to hurt this much, I’ve lost a child why does this hurt so much? Though I feel as if I can’t express that. I’ve lost a child and that grief is like no other so how can I express just how much my mother’s death hurts my heart?

I am not the person I once was. Death has changed me and the death of my mother has changed me into a person I’m not sure I recognize.

I am more like my mother, the mother I tried so desperately to not be like. I did not want to be like her, but here I am seeing in me, her.

I am finding my way in this life and I am sad more often than not but I am doing the best I can. Accept me for who I am, all of me or don’t. I miss my mom, I miss my daughter, and I miss me.