It was one year ago today that our beautiful angel was taken home to her Father in Heaven. It was a relief at the time to know her suffering was over and she could finally be at peace, but man did it hurt to know she was gone, that we wouldn't see her in this life again.
One year later, well, it still hurts to know that she's gone. The hole is still there, and nothing can ever fill it. I was talking about this with a good friend just a few weeks ago. We were talking about the fact that you don't ever really get over losing someone you love, but you just get stronger so you can bear it. And that's what has really happened to me this year.
Grief comes in waves and at different times. And sometimes it's surprising what brings it on. Like last summer when I was sorting through some papers and found a picture she drew of me, complete with earrings. I cried over that. Later, after my actual move when I was unpacking a box one day, I came across the Willow Tree figure a dear friend and her mother gave me after Ashley's passing. It's called "Always I will remember." I was struck again at how kind it was for them to do that, and then it hit me that she would never be coming to see my new place. I could never make memories with her here, and that brought on a whole new round of grief that I wasn't really prepared for. But I dealt with it, just as I've dealt with everything else this year.
Although I feel sad and broken inside just now, I also want you all to know that I know without a shadow of a doubt that although Ashley is no longer here on the earth, she is not gone. That has been made very clear to me in the last year. I have felt her near at different times, and I know she watches over us. She's been at key family events the same as she would've been had she not died. She's just shown her love and support in a different way. How touching and merciful of our Father in Heaven to allow her to do that.
Lest I end this post on a sad note and leave everyone depressed, I'm going to put happy things in here too. I dedicate this post to my beautiful niece, Ashley Marie Winn, in memory of the way she touched so many lives in just a short space of time. I dedicate it to her beautiful smile, to her ability to love, to how she loved to have fun, to her cute dancing, to her ability to endure the trials of her mortal life. I dedicate it to her delightful sass, to her intelligence and to everything that made her Ashley. Her life may have been short, but it was very well lived. And I'm still banking on the day when I can see her again, take her into my arms and tell her just how much I love her!