I met Ashley when her crackly voice wouldn’t get better and the pounds kept melting off of her body. She came to visit me with her mom, one of my exercise sisters. We talked and laughed and I felt like I always knew her.
Her eyes danced, full of life and mischief.
And thus began a journey.
The voice and the pounds, they were the tip of an iceberg that Ashley fought with courage for the next year. Specialists from all over the world got together on her behalf.
Chemo. And her Momma, she stood by her.
The smile and the tears, they melted together.
And her eyes, they still danced, full of life.
The exercise sisters and I, we rooted her and her mom on. We baked a zillion Christmas cookies to help them celebrate, and tucked her favorite CDs and coloring books in the basket for the long hospital days.
Chemo. Surgeries. And her Momma, she stood by her.
Her brother died tregically, and we met again, talking of resilience and joy in the midst of raw grief. We cried and laughed, and I marveled at her and her Momma, at their strength and unshakable commitment to each other.
And our hearts, they got knit a bit more.
Chemo. Surgeries. Radiation. And her Momma, she stood by her.
And then, Ashley turned 32, and we partied big with cake and friends and a great celebration of life lived fully, moment by moment. And Ashley’s eyes, they danced with gratitude as she took in the love.
And the exercise sisters, they just showed up. Sometimes, that’s the best we can do.
Chemo. Surgeries. Raditation. Pain pump. And her Momma, she stood by her.
And then, there was a wedding.
Savoring the moments, pain pump and all.
And Ashley’s body, it had no more pounds to lose . And her Momma, she stood by her.
And Ashley’s heart, it kept growing deeper in love with the Shepherd who never left her alone, not even for one second.
Fighting at first, then accepting of seasons, Ashley’s dancing eyes smiled one last time as she quietly traveled on to Heaven, filled with the life and love of those all around her.
And her Momma, she loved her so well.