Friday, December 03, 2010

Three years, part 1

On this day three years ago Jeff and I walked in to my doctor's office a 20 week ultrasound, hoping to see some images of our growing baby and maybe even find out whether we were having a boy or girl. All of the hope and anticipation that we walked in with were crushed in that dark room when the ultrasound tech laid her hand gently on my arm and looked at me with pain in her eyes. "I'm sorry, I can't find a heartbeat." Though the rest of the conversation is a blur today, I recall vividly walking back into the waiting room of the office, with tear-filled eyes and thinking for the first of many times, "how can all of these women sit out here looking at magazines as if life is normal?" That thought was the beginning an indescribable alteration in me. As I wrote about then, my life, beliefs, and faith were put out on the lawn and I was in the midst of a slow and tedious process of deciding what to take back inside. Even still, I find myself using that day as a point of reference when I hear others' pain. And joy.

I can't imagine what life would be like had December 3, 2007 gone differently. In ways good and bad, that day changed me and our family to the core. As Rachel said so beautifully yesterday, "grief has you carving out paths you never would have taken otherwise." This loss has brought me more compassion, a hope for the future, a true realization of how little control I have, a faith I feel like I truly own, and a profound appreciation for life, particularly my own children. And though I wouldn't have had the foresight to choose the paths I've been on, I am thankful for them.


Anonymous said...

Ashley, I'm late, please excuse my tardiness, but I just wanted to say that we are and have been thinking of and always will think about your family of 6 and all of the implications of that number. I thought that I had some kind of idea of what is was like for you when you lost Joshua, but having never been pregnant myself at that point, I realize now how very very little I knew or understood about that loss. And while I still won't lay much of a claim to understanding another person's grief, I can certainly say that my heart felt a fresh pang once I was a mother and began to gingerly feel out the emotions associated with how we love our children and how incredibly vulnerable that makes us. I think that vulnerability can be terrifying, but I also see it as a door opening, we let down our guard and let love in, and while that cost can be so so so steep, even in the darkest hour I can't help but think that it's worth it. I have learned a lot about you and thought a lot about my own faith through Joshua's brief time on Earth, and while each of those sentiments are just that, an iota of a token, is does make me think about the greater purpose of each of our lives, no matter their length. Thank you for processing a little of this with all of us, and for allowing us to be a part of the story too. We love you guys.

Allison Bussell said...

Ditto, Amelia. And I love you, Ashley.

Ashley said...

Thanks so much Amelia. And Allison. I love y'all too and appreciate each of you so much.