We have had some pretty amazing times and made some pretty amazing friends because of this journey. I am so thankful for this path that God has us on.
But with all the joys, there have been trials and sorrow. Maybe because it's because I am more aware... or maybe because of the communities that we are a part of but we have seen many of our friends lose their children. Some have lost children due to cancer, heart failure, cystic fibrosis, car accidents, drowning and some for reasons that we might never know exactly.
Mothers and Fathers who have had to say goodbye to their children (youth and adult) much much too soon. It's par for the course I guess. Being in a community where children are prone to the illnesses listed above, it's inevitable right? That may be right... but it doesn't make it easier.. not one...single.. bit.
I have been affected in many different ways by people's passing. I have cried many tears for those people who I have never even met and their losses. There are some that hit me harder than some. Children who remind me of my children have been the hardest, or are the same age as my children. I think because I see so much of the person who has passed in my child and I can't help but think if it were us... how exactly would I continue to live without one of my children. I am not sure I'd be strong enough to make it through.
Tonight for instance... my friend, Leah Baker whom I have never met in person, but have always felt a connection with said goodbye to her daughter, Ashton. Ashton caught my attention when she was voted homecoming queen at her high school several years ago and since then I have followed her mother and Ashton's story. They have been through a lot in their lives.
Ashton had several bouts with heart issues but always rebounded and then she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. Ashton is now with Jesus.. she's free of pain and is flying free. I am sitting in my living room crying my eyes out for a young woman that I have never met. I can't look at her picture without seeing my Josie in her face. Look at this picture and tell me you don't think that is Josie...
Though I never met her, I feel like I know her. I feel like she was a little part of me.. like every time I look at Josie I will think of "the Queen Ashton" as her mother so fondly referred to her and indeed she was a queen and a diva.. just like Josie...
Please say a prayer for her family... that they may learn to navigate their life without Queen Ashton!!!
SO... .while I wouldn't change the path our life has gone down.. where God has lead us.. .I would change the pain that our friends and we have experienced because of it. No one should have to bury their children.. no one! Fly high sweet Ashton!! Fly high wrapped in the arms of Jesus... and please protect Josie and watch over her for me... if you would!