"Life is difficult. Life is heartbreaking. Life is not always kind. Love is powerful. Love is healing. Love is the most incredible emotion to feel. Love is what I am truly thankful for right now. Love has given me the opportunity to carry our beautiful daughter, Annabelle for 19 amazing weeks."She has allowed us to feel deeply, to breathe gratefully, to move graciously, and to live mindfully each and every day. She has changed our lives for the better, for the best. She has made us cherish sweet moments that we will never forget. Moments that we are certain to remember vividly, such as… the sun sweeping across my belly, knowing that she feels the warmth of spring, as she hears her daddy sing beautiful soft melodies, as her sister gently places her hand up against my round belly and eagerly exclaims, “Annabelle! I love you, I can’t wait to meet you!” and as I softly say with tears streaming down my face, “I will always love you” knowing that sadly…we will not have the opportunity to grow with you here on Earth. However, we will pick our heads up, we will look to the sky with smiles on our faces and joyously express these memories for our lifetime because we were lucky enough to be chosen as her parents. Even if it was for a short while. We love you Annabelle." As I wrote those words, I felt confident, almost as if I were writing to reassure myself that everything would indeed be okay, however; in the days following, I hit rock bottom. I followed the usual grieving pattern but a deep part of me remains missing. Missing hope, missing innocence, missing my care free spirit, and missing one of the most precious gifts ever given to me, my daughter. Slowly but surely, through church, family, and friend’s support, I began to regain my strength. I began to try to honor my daughter by branching out and trying new avenues. I had always wanted to water color but I was fearful that I would be terrible! Thankfully, I found painting therapeutic, beautiful, and moving. I felt closer to my daughter the more I tried new things in order to honor her memory. It has been about 5 months since my daughter’s passing and although some days are harder than others, this quote has helped me tremendously through the tough times:
“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness, will we discover the infinite power of our light.” - Brene Brown.This quote rings indefinite truth. We must be brave, we must continue to fight, and we must always continue to shine our lights. Because at the end of the day, life is difficult, life is heartbreaking, life is not always kind but love…love always wins and my daughter will always be with me where ever I go.
If you are interested in seeing some of Ashley's beautiful work here is her site: