Friday, September 27, 2013

Is It Really Possible......5 Years??????

On the night before starting my weekend of Mckenna being with my ex-husband’s family, I held Mckenna as she fell asleep in my arms. I looked down at this beautiful little girl as she took deep sleep breaths; I was in awe of her perfection. How big she was getting and how I needed to treasure that moment in time because it wasn’t going to last forever. Though in that moment I did not realize that the next time she would be in my arms like that would be as her heart stopped beating…….

Two by two family came to say their goodbyes, their broken hearts written on their faces. They gave her one last kiss, one last touch, one last I love you. The last two people leave the room, just Mckenna, Billy and me alone. I look down and see blood on my arm from the pressure monitor, I’m talking to her, Billy comes and tells her how much daddy loves her and kisses her forehead, then suddenly our last moments with Mckenna alive were gone. The Dr came in and told us, “we’ve been watching her heart on the monitor and we think it has stopped, I’m going to listen to check”……..with sad, tear filled eyes the words “she’s gone”  came from her mouth. I was in Disbelief, horror, and shock; my heart shattered into a billion pieces, I looked at Billy’s heartbroken face and just sobbed.  The nurses removed the tubes, and she lay lifeless in my arms. Her broken body did not even look like the little girl I woke up to that morning. What in the hell just happened?????

 In that moment I felt as if I had left my body. I was a shell of a person.  How could my vibrant, observant, quiet, beautiful, precious, funny, vocal, happy, baby girl lay there lifeless in my arms? Not breathing, not moving. It was a moment that is etched into my brain, a memory that can take my breath away in an instant. No mother should ever have to endure such pain, sorrow and agony. I walked out of that hospital a different person.

5 years ago today I held my daughter, kissed her, touched her skin, held her hand, kissed her lips, laid my head on her lifeless body, put her hand in mine and expressed to her how very sorry I was, how much I loved her and said good bye. I miss her every day, I love her more than the universe and I am who I am because of her. She teaches me and I am more than blessed to have been given the chance to be her mother. I may never know why she picked me, but I know that I would not take back those 9 months with her here and the 9 months that I carried her. She is not forgotten and is loved by so many.

I am still a mother and I will continue to mother Mckenna in any way I feel I need to. I will share her life, her death and hope it will only help those around me to hold their children a little bit tighter, it will open their eyes to the dangers of TV’s and take the precautions necessary to protect their children, I hope they will know their gifts and take a moment to enjoy them, to take a step back and slow down to cherish the little things.
Honoring Mckenna’s life is one thing in my life that fills my heart with love. I will always honor her and I continue to learn how to live without her physically here, but I am also learning how to live with her in my heart each and every day.


                There are truly no words to even try and explain or describe what it is like living without you here. There are no words to even express how very much I miss you and at times it truly is almost too much to bare. There are no words to express how deep my love is for you and just how much you completely change my life. I will never forget this day and how it was the day a piece of my heart was ripped to shreds, only to heal scarred, rigged, uneven and not complete. You are my love forever and always. Sending you so much love and big ginormous hugs and kisses. I love you pumpkin pie. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer Full of Challenges and Growth

As I reflect on the summer it is hard to believe that I have survived. It has been overwhelming, sad, emotional, stressful, devastating, and heartbreaking, though it has also been a summer of empowerment, growth and change.

 My summer began with the death of my brother and my BSW graduation. Both of these events happened one week apart. I was filled with such joy as I was about to complete a goal that I had set for myself, I was going to walk across that stage and receive my diploma that I worked so very hard for. Then on April 25th my brother Peter died and shook my world. This was the first death in my family since the death of Mckenna. I was full of so many emotions that I found myself questioning my grief. Why I was feeling such sadness, because after all I have lost a child so why does this hurt so much? It was an eye opening moment that started my summer. It opened my eyes to the living world again; a world that I thought wasn’t possible since the death of Mckenna. I didn’t want to lose any more time with the ones that I love, as tomorrow is never guaranteed. I walked across that stage filled with such joy and accomplishment ready to start the next chapter of my education.

After a short break from school I started my MSW program. I was ready to be done and get this started because there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I would be done with my ultimate goal of becoming a social worker. I started my internship at PCH and was going strong and felt that I was learning so much and growing as a social worker. Then on June 18th I found my mom dead. This shattered my world in a way that I am not even sure I can explain. My fear for months leading up to her death was that I was going to go check on her and find her dead. Each time I would play in my head the worst case scenario to try and prepare for this outcome. What I would do, how I would react, terrible images of her would cross my mind trying to be “prepared”. This is something you cannot prepare for. It is something that is not supposed to happen. The moment I realized she was gone, I went into a state of shock and disbelief. Is this really happening? Is she really dead? Oh my God she’s really dead…..My head was spinning, my body was trembling, my hands were shaking, and my heart was breaking. This could not be happening. I have had my struggles with my mom over the years, and the few months leading up to her death were some of the most challenging. Back in November of last year I made the decision to start to detach myself from her because I could no longer handle the drinking. This was a difficult decision for me because I loved her so deeply. I did not get the chance to fully process this decision as I was feeling the guilt because she would say things like, “please don’t give up on me Ashley.” Just typing those words break my heart. The broken look on her face each time I would see her is haunting me. I did not realize what her death was doing to me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I did not realize how much this was affecting my internship, because I was trying to just push through like I have always done. I did not realize I could not just push through this grief.
Long story short, I did not pass my internship. I will keep most of the details of why private, but this was devastating to me. Everything I had worked so hard for felt as if it was slipping through my fingers. The day I found out I was blindsided and had no idea that I had failed. I cried on and off all day long because I felt so defeated. As I contacted my field liason to find out what happens next, I discovered that this was a big deal. I could very well be kicked out of the program. I had to go up against the standards committee and kind of “defend” myself and explain my side of what happened, explain what I have learned from this and what I will do to help myself. I had some time to reflect from the time I found out to the time of the meeting. I walked into that meeting feeling empowered and ready to face this head on, I left that meeting feeling completely deflated and overwhelmed. My education was in their hands and out of my control. Since the time of the meeting I have decided to take the semester off of school. I need the break to try and fully get on my feet and to have some fun. This was not an easy decision, but I feel like Mckenna and my mom joined forces to get me to slow down because it was time to take some time for me.

In the time I had to reflect I came to realize that I need to deal with everything that has happened this summer, especially my mom’s death. I could not let this life devour my existence like I feel it did to my mom. I realize that I have to really start living, having fun, getting out of my room and be the person I know I can be. This summer has kicked my ass, knocked me down, and brought me to my knees, but in reflecting I have kicked back, gotten back up and stood stronger. I am taking the steps to better myself and become healthier mentally and physically. I have some beautiful souls in my corner and some beautiful friends and without them this summer, I am not sure what I would have done.

Here’s to a better me one step at a time, one day at a time and moment by moment……