Today after work the boys and I went to the cemetery to visit Ashley’s grave. We talked to Ashley, said the Lord’s prayer, sat with her and enjoyed the break in the clouds. (Ashley has a way of requesting some nice weather whenever I visit, at least momentarily). As we were walking back to the car Fischer and I commented on how it doesn’t seem like it was twenty months and Baker replies “it seems like 50 months.” I said, “ You know what buddy, sometimes it does feel way longer.”
I don’t ever forget how all this has affected them but know Ashley is watching over us and making sure that we are taken care of…
Twenty thoughts for the twentieth month of Ashley’s passing.
1. I have changed a lot. I have come to realize that if you lose the love of your life, the mother of your children, your best friend, your soulmate… and you don’t change, there is something seriously wrong with you.
2. I miss Ashley every day, and that is okay.
3. I have an incredibly strong support network.
4. God loves me.
5. It’s hard to heal during a global pandemic.
6. A lot of people are afraid but I have a unique relationship with fear.
7. It’s too easy to be manipulated by things that don’t matter.
8. Social distancing and social isolation are not the same thing.
9. It’s hard to make new friends as we get older but when you do, the rewards are endless.
10. Birthdays are important and if at all possible make sure you help your family, friends, and loved ones feel special on “their” day.
11. To quote Corey Smith, “The Lord works in a strange way… man he is gonna make a man out of me”
12. “Don’t let em’ hold you down, and if you don’t know, now you know…”Nortorious B.I.G.
(yes I just quoted Corey Smith and Biggie Smalls in the same breath)
13. Hope is one of God’s true gifts and sometimes that’s all we got.
14. Moving on, moving forward, and learning to live with a broken heart are not the same thing. And people will react differently as you figure it out.
15. Being a good single parent is more than twice the work but the rewards are tenfold.
16. Marry, date, or befriend a cheerleader. I mean figuratively (even though I literally did) because we all need someone to hype us up. Keep us focused on the prize and realize that we have what it takes to accomplish our goals.
17. Luck = Preparation + Timing
18. Choose Happy
19. Emotional hangovers suck. Not any alcohol or drug induced hangover, rather when you have a day that is either so emotionally uplifting or emotionally draining that you are physically spent the next day.
20. Lastly, Signs from heaven are real. Whether it’s a sign from God, our loved ones, the universe, or an angel; I believe they are real.
In case you are wondering these are all blog topics that I have written, most are incomplete.
I have continued to write but have not posted much, if at all. Some of this is because of my writing process has been thrown off track, or I’m not sure how my stories of Ashley fit in this COVID era, and most recently my desire to dial back my openness into my heart and thoughts.
At the cemetery, I requested of Ashley to keep sending us signs, we like them and they give us a little nudge that things are going to be okay. I also asked her if I should keep the blog going. ( like I said, I’m still writing but haven’t felt as driven to post.)
The boys and I left and enjoyed a nice evening eating pizza at a nearby pizza place. Baker was being silly and Fischer gave us his pizza review. He liked it but still can’t top his favorite, Marcos.
Back at home, I was able to get a workout in while the boys did their ninja course. I finished and after my shower I sat down next to the boys while they played video games. I checked my 2000 emails and deleted most of the junk when I was down to about 100 I saw one from Stacy Chervier. Stacy Chervier is a writer and blogger that I follow. I started following her in July 2018. She had the same neuroendocrine cancer of the pancreas as Ashley did and had done similar treatments as Ashley and did well with them. When I started following Stacy, she had started a new treatment with decent success. Her openness and relatively good health drew me in because at this time Ashley’s health was starting to decline. Not an obvious decline, Ash would have a health issue or scare and then bounce back and that was normal to her but they started to become more frequent.
Stacy’s story offered hope. Not really for Ashley because she did not like reading other cancer blogs, but for me. Hope continues to get me through a lot.
So I opened Stacy’s post, she hadn’t written in a while, I think the last one was 2 months after Ashley passed in February 2019. Sadly the post was Stacy’s obituary, one that she had written herself. Stacy passed away Monday August 17th six years after her initial diagnosis like Ashley… I never got to thank Stacy for the hope she gave me during Ashley’s last few months so the least I can do is share her story and blog. https://staciechevrier.com/
Seeing her blog notification during one of my mass email dumps was not coincidental. I’m taking it as a sign that I should keep blogging. I don’t know what my readers get out of my stories but if they offer hope to just one person, like Stacy did for me, then it’s well worth it.
Have hope and Choose Happy!