The Ones We Love The Most

I started this blog to have a place to share my classroom experiences. Little did I know or understand what I was getting myself into. This blog has become my little outlet. Not only about education, but about life. I’ve shared some experiences that reflect pain and tragedy and how I’ve tried to use those experiences to help people. My latest hardship doesn’t seem to have a lesson in it, but God is still working. So we will see.
*Warning* Extremely Personal Post Ahead* 
My father was diagnosed with cancer in 2002. He fought it and he BEAT it! His health, however, suffered tremendously. In 2008, he had to switch to a feeding tube, because his food was going into his lungs, causing him to aspirate. The aspiration was causing chronic pneumonia. He was getting it almost every other month or so. When Daddy would get pneumonia, he was in ICU for a week or so and typically went into septic shock. I remember the Dr. telling us that people typically do not go into septic shock more than once. Daddy has been septic so many times, I’ve lost count. He was a strong man, and never let the fact that he couldn’t eat slow him down. He still lived life everyday. He did a *few* things I didn’t approve of…like long motorcycle trips, and just living on the edge. He told me he wasn’t sure how long he had and he didn’t want any regrets. Thanksgiving was always his favorite holiday, daddy was a foodie for sure! Every year, after he went to the tube, he just said “I know I can’t eat, but I’m alive and still kickin'”. The feeding tube did slow the pneumonia down, but it didn’t prevent it. The last two years, his voice started to become very difficult to understand and our main methods of communication became texting and FB messages. Every Thanksgiving, my family comes from all over to the mountains of North Carolina. Last week, we were gearing up for that very tradition. Dad went up a little early, and had only been there a few hours. He pretty much went straight to bed that night…
So about 12 days ago, daddy text me, “I went shopping today, I bought the kiddos a 3 piece suit”. I was like…what? You went shopping by yourself? And why a suit? You don’t wear suits, my hubby doesn’t wear suits? We are jeans and pearl snap shirt folks! That’s our dress up! My hubby got a *tad* irritated at the thought of his kiddos in a 3 piece suit (ummm okay). I just said “Ya know, daddy never just randomly buys gifts, just let it be”. That was Thursday. I told Daddy thanks for the suits and we looked forward to seeing them. 
Then the phone call that changed EVERYTHING. That middle of the night, gut wrenching phone call of someone you love crying. IF you haven’t experienced this, I pray you never do. By the sound of my sweet Aunt’s voice, I knew, this time was different. The hubby made some calls, and loaded our family up..the longest car ride of my life.
We got there, just in time for the doctors to tell us the most awful words ever “Your father has no blood flow to his brain”. Daddy went to be with Jesus that day. I am thankful that we all had the chance to see him one last time. 
After we got back to my family’s house, someone gave me another surprise. On that shopping trip, Daddy had bought my sister and I two pieces of jewelry. The first time in my life that he’s ever randomly done that. I’ve shouted this from the rooftops, I don’t think my daddy knew he was going to die. I do, however, believe that GOD put those impulses in his heart.  God knew that Daddy would soon be called to heaven. Dad had just finished his “honey do list ” all over his house. Something he’s had for YEARS to do. 
I wanted to share with you a few pictures, so that you could see the changes he went through. Cancer is an awful thing, and we were so excited when daddy “won” the battle. But the thing with cancer, it’s not a battle, it’s a war. The war continues for years after you are “Cancer Free”. 
My Wedding Day (4 years post cancer)

My brother and daddy ( 8 years post cancer)

10.5 years post cancer 
Our Last Picture

My kiddos proudly opened their gifts from their papa and wore those brand new suits to lay him ,to rest.
Now, as I attempt to figure out this new way of life without my daddy, I hope that I can show the courage and the strength that he did. I hope that one day people will say that I blessed their lives the way my dad did. I could not have asked for a better dad,  and am so honored when people tell me I’m just like him (Except SOME areas haha) 

I am so excited about a shadow box our friend made from Custom Coin Holders. He is a disabled veteran who does amazing work! Head on over and check them out!

Thank you for letting me share this with you. I am so honored that so many of you have become my friends through this little ole blog!!! 
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20 thoughts on “The Ones We Love The Most”

  1. Ashley I have been praying for you each day. You have been on my heart and I pray that the days ahead get easier for you and your family. Your post shows your love for you daddy. He is not suffering anymore and is now watching over you and your family from Heaven. Love ya girl!!!

  2. I have tears in my eyes as I read your sad and honourable story. Our superintendent of schools has cancer, and without my students knowing why, we are praying every day for all the people who are fighting cancer, their families and the doctors and nurses who work to heal them with God's angels. Maybe, we have been praying for your dad. May the gates to heaven open wide to let him pass.

  3. Oh, Ashley…I also lost my Daddy to cancer. I know your heart is breaking. And I know what you mean when you say that you now need to find a new way of life. I thought I would never find a new normal once my Daddy died. My Dad had hospice at home (which doesn't mean that you have nursing at home 24/7). I was the one caring for him the last 36 hours of his life…administering all the meds & monitoring him for pain. At the funeral, many people told me, "Now the hard part is over." I responded to everyone: "No– the hard part is now. And every day after."
    It does get better. I pray that you will find peace and comfort in the memories you have with your Dad.

  4. Oh girl, your words made the tears flow. As you're describing some of what I am going through with my own Dad right now. Bless your heart. I am sorry for your loss. Cherish your memories.. I also hope your Aunt is doing better. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. A lovely post – thank you for sharing, what a beautiful gesture for him to buy you gives. So sorry for your loss, but your attitude is amazing! Prayers are being said for you. xx

  6. An incredibly powerful post. Reading your words brought tears to my eyes and I grieve with you. My deepest sympathies and thoughts are here for you. Stay strong – God knows your father did.

  7. Ashley,
    I could feel the love you share with your dad, through your words and the photos. Treasure every memory! My thoughts and prayers are with and your family.

  8. Ashley,
    As I sat reading your post, I was taken back New Year's Day almost 4 years ago when I lost one of my best friends, my Momma. Just like then the tears flowed freely. My mom was diagnosed with cancer just 4 month before we lost her. I feel how much you loved your daddy from your post. And from experience, I know how you feel. Please know Ashley, we are praying for you and your family.

  9. Ashley,
    Just this past August, I lost my mother. . . no, I didn't lose her. She is right in my heart and I feel her around me every. single. day. I miss her like crazy. She was 90. I knew since May that she didn't have long to live. Since school was out, I had the pleasure of being able to spend a lot more time with her. She died very peacefully, just the way she wanted it. . . in her own home, in her own chair, with my baby sister and my dad by her side. My heart goes out to you. Your memories will comfort you and those suits and jewelry have taken on a whole new meaning now. Hugs to you.

  10. It is an honor to read the story of your father's strength and perseverance in the face of his challenges. Your sharing his journey is the way to honor his story. His strength and character will serve as your foundation over the minutes and hours ahead. Continue to tell stories. We all benefit from hearing of heroic day-to-day legends that have lived in the face of unrelenting disease.

    May you be comforted by the memories. He will continue to watch over you.

    Strength and courage. Strength and courage. Strength and courage.

    You will be in my prayers over the days ahead.

    Debbie Clement

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