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Deb Jones Sep 2017
For personal reasons I don't have a deep faith, like most of you have, to wrap around myself like a mantle during a tragedy like this.

And I truly believe that Ashley's death is a tragedy.

I have wrote and rewrote this. Trying to find the right words to tell you how wonderful Ashley is. "Is" because she will live forever in our hearts. There is no "was"

And I finally realized I couldn't. It would take a lifetime. Or 22 years.

This started out to be my commemoration of Ash. Instead it has turned into something I probably won't share entirely.

Because I have lived a long life already, I know how the passing years eventually make grief bearable. How it knocks you to your knees and bends your back. But over time it becomes part of you and you learn to live in a new reality.

No one forgets a loved ones death. You just learn to live with the pain. We absorb it and carry the pain around with us forever.

My new reality is a life without Ashley in it. Where she never gets to grow older. But she also doesn't have to grow sicker. That gives me little solace. As I am selfishly wanting her back.

Type 1 Diabetes killed Ashley. It's an illness that is a battle every day. You fight to get through the day. To do the best you can and then get up the next day and fight the same battle all over again. You don't get a day off. Or a vacation from it. Because if you stop fighting for even one day you will have to fight 100 times harder to get back on track.

Ashley wanted to live a normal life. She wanted to do everything that her friends were doing. And her sister, made that possible. She watched over her, especially the last 2 years. They were together almost every day and night. I am proud of her. She grew into the adult she is by loving and treating Ash like a normal young woman. Adventuring with her.

Ashley lived with me from the time she was a toddler until she was 21. She was a daughter to my heart.

She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the very same day I was. She was 18. We learned how to live with it together.

She was doing so well. Only hospitalized a few times. While I was hospitalized monthly.

Her last hospitalization, I picked her up after her discharge. She was still vomiting a lot.

I called and made her an appointment with my Endocrinologist for the next morning.

I want to go back to that minute. The one right before I reached out to touch her shoulder to wake her for the appointment the next morning. The minute before I realized something was wrong.

She wouldn't wake up. I pulled her over, her eyes were open in a blank stare.

By doing chest compressions on her, arguably the scariest experience any loved one can go through, I saved Ashley.

A helicopter landed in one of my fields and flew her to the nearest Trauma Center.

So we could have almost 6 days to say goodbye to her. We are all forever grateful for that.

She was declared brain dead the first day she was in the hospital. But I already knew that.

I am so angry at Ashley's senseless death. Losing a beautiful young girl. One who tried to wrap everyone in a kindness that was her unique specialty.

But, I know Ashley was tired. So very tired. She went 16 days without eating. Only drinking water or juice she vomited back up.

I KNOW how she was just so tired. I know that kind of tiredness. Not only of your body, but of your spirit and soul. When you want to isolate yourself from everyone because it's too much to face. To deal with. There is no bravery or sacrifice. Just the silent chant of pleas. Pleas to make it stop. Pleas for solace. For surcease.

The hospital failed her. Looking at laboratory values versus a patient's physical self.

And I wasn't there to advocate for her. The family that was there with her were scared. And helpless to fix her. How do you hold a hospital accountable, with its anonymous staff, without holding me accountable too?

There are things I should have taught Ashley. How to ask for things she needed. How to demand. How to scream.

But I didn't. I talked with her about things she needed. But I didn't see the ramifications of her not using all avenues to get help. I didn't teach her how to scream.

Even though my screams are just as silent.

I knew she was severely brain damaged the morning I first saw her. But really...I was in denial too.

It helped to be the one all the information was funneled through. But the cost to me was denial. I could explain everything to everyone. Over and over again. To family groups. To individuals as they arrived at the hospital and I walked them down that long corridor to the intensive care.

Using that walk to prepare them. To stand beside so many that came to say goodbye to her. But still suppress my grief into a hot ball that I choked on every day she was on life support.

I could only really grieve the way I needed to once I was alone. My sobs were private. Thinking of Ashley when I went to sleep. And of her when I woke.

Every thing Ashley did during that 6 days she was on life support was talked about. And used to foster hope. The rare blinking of her eyelids. The few tears that coursed down her temples.

I knew they had pressure cuffs on her legs. To help keep her blood pressure up. Until I saw the damage to her legs...I still thought there was a chance. The chance I refused to say outloud. As if I challenged what I knew to be true with false hope.

I knew she had significant brain damage but I still thought there might be a chance she would recover, be a different Ashley than we were used to, an Ashley that would need rehabilitation. An outcome that would allow us to keep her here.

Then I saw her legs. I was alone and noticed the pressure cuffs were off. I lifted the blanket and saw her legs. They were blue and mottled with large sections of skin gone. I knew then that she really was not going to recover.

The surgeon even discussed taking one or both of her legs at the hip in order to save her from the infection. But he said she was too fragile and wouldn't make it through surgery. And even if they did the surgery it would not save her brain injury.

My family and I privately discussed ***** donation for Ash. We knew Ashley would have wanted that too. I called a friend of mine that works with the donor network and she said of course Ashley could be evaluated for any donation. I kept in contact with her while Ashley was in the hospital and asked when we could talk to the ***** donor advocate/liaison. That became a moot point when Ashley started spiking temperatures with the infections ravaging her body.

When she was finally completely off sedation she was unresponsive. That poor baby. That poor, poor baby.

Her brain damage was severe. And her legs were poisoning the rest of her body. She really just stayed for us. To give us a chance to say what we needed to say and what she needed to hear in her final moments. And we held her and told her we were walking with her into the sunlight.

Because I have many medical credentials, I was the one that talked for the family. And then talked for the physicians.

I asked all my family to come to a designated conference room. When I talked to my family about removing her life support there was anger. But as I continued to explain to them there was just a deep inconsolable sadness.

When 4 of the doctors came in I told them we didn't need a rundown of all the reasons to remove her from the ventilator. We had already made our decision.

When we turned the ventilator off she could breathe on her own for a little bit. I told my family that she would go fast. But seeing that she was breathing they all left the room. To smoke, to text, to make phone calls.

After they were gone about 4-5 minutes Ashley's breathing began to slow down. I was the only one in the room. I asked the nurses at the desk to call my family overhead.

They still didn't come back soon enough.

I climbed into the bed with Ash and pulled her into my arms. I rocked her and crooned to her. Told her how loved she was.

She took her last breath in my arms.

When my family funneled back into the room I heard over and over again how Ashley must have waited until they left the room to die so they wouldn't suffer more.

My heart cried. What about me? What about me.

I am supposed to tell people how loved she was. How she shined. I think they all know that already.

I keep trying to commemorate her. To write a speech detailing her life and how much she gave of herself to others. How she was the hub a lot of her family circled around. She was unceasingly happy. She was so loved.

You know what I want to do? I want to scream. I want to rant and rave about the unfairness. Point to other people, people I don't know and say why couldn't they have been taken instead? I don't love them like I do Ash. Point to myself also. Why wasn't I taken?

I will tell everyone what they already know. About how wonderful a person Ashley was and how much we love and miss her. How we will grieve the rest of our lives for her.

The night I came home after Ashley died I went right to my mother. I told her Ashley was gone. And she held me, in the dark, with my head in her lap while I cried. She didn't talk while I sobbed. Just made soothing noises.

And that was what I needed. What my heart craved.

I appreciate everyone that called me just to listen to me cry. Some would not even talk other than the first hello. Just soothing comforting sounds. I won't forget the gift you gave me of just listening to me sobbing.

I want to share something that was happening to me the first 2 months during the time she was on life support and the months after. I have never experienced hallucinations before. But I did during that period.  I would wake up with my arms out to people. In the middle of a conversation. Trying to soothe them. Help them. I don't understand why I needed certain things, like the way I woke while dragging dining chairs in my room. Arguing I needed them when my son tried to stop me. Or the way I would stop breathing in my sleep and knowingly maintain it as long as I could. Or the other private personal things I hallucinated.

I called a psychiatrist and talked to her about what I was experiencing. And she told me that it was normal. It stopped after about 2 months.

Part of me knows I was trying to carry the grief I knew my sister and her kids were trying to carry. If I could, I would take their grief and add it to mine. Just to give them some peace.

My niece, Ashley's sister had a little girl a month ago. Her name is Ashley Michelle.

There is no death, only a change of worlds. —NATIVE AMERICAN PROVERB
September 20 was the first Anniversary of Ashley's death day.
JA Perkins Aug 25
Heart heavy and hard as stone
Swore she’d never be alone
Wore the stone around her neck
Made every man a nervous wreck
Just another road on the ride home
Kyle Dedalus Sep 2018
I'm snorting coke in the bathroom
And what's sad is I'm thinking of you
I lost myself yet once again
I lost myself and I lost you, too.

It's 8 months since I last saw you,
I talked to you once from a Texas jail cell.
The clock it was ticking
And I knew that was well
fitting for the love that we had.

I'm not sure that you will read this
I'm not that I want you to.

I've spent this whole summer
Snorting coke in various bathrooms.
I can't claim that I've always thought of you.
But I can't claim that I am alone.

You are, you will
Forever haunt me.
Just like how these poems
Always fall apart.
I lose track of rhyme
And of reason
But never of thoughts of you.

I will love you always.
Even though
We've drifted along.
The paths we've always needed
To float upon.

Even though
I still die in my sleep.
All the time.
Every night.
I think of you
and then I die.

And you are a ghost
And I love you too
Always and forever
I will think of you.

I 'm drunk on a park bench
You won't leave my mind.

How typical I think
Yet another man who thinks
That he can take your mind.

You're suffering without me.
You suffered so much with me.

What else is there to say?
I'm snorting coke in the bathroom
Of a bar where I don't want to be.
I don't want to be thinking of you
Yet still you penetrate my night.
Deb Jones Sep 2017
She came to me to die
The last words she said to me
Were as she reached
To cup my cheek
"My baby"
She lay on her side
Facing me
I cried for her
I could see the awareness
in her eyes come and go.
When I knew she was looking at me
I gave her strength
And the words
Let go mama.
John is waiting for you.
Bill is waiting for you
Ashley is waiting for you
Grandma is waiting for you
I smiled as much as I could
Fed her my strength
Her eyes searched mine
Begging me to make it stop
This dying
I gave her stronger doses of morphine
Her kids gathered around her bed
Her children and grandchildren
Every one of us there because she gave us life
They surrounded her bed
But I made sure she could see me.
When the awareness faded I cried bitter tears
But every time she needed me to see her
I looked into her eyes
Encouraging her
Showing her that I was with her
Walking her home
Holding her gaze as I urged her on
Her children that weren't there yet
Called on the phone to tell her she was loved
She begged me with her eyes
I gave her more morphine
Did I give her too much
When she took her last breath
I vomited.
When everyone left the room
and the hospice nurse had come and gone
My sister and I bathed and dressed her.
Her favorite clothes
Then when my sister left the room
I washed her hair and braided it
One last time.
At that moment alone with her
I felt at peace
This woman that had ruled my life as a child
Ruled my life at a distance
Always in my thoughts
Always seeking her approval
I never raised my voice to her
Never cursed in front of her
Listened to her sometimes fantastical stories
Laughed with her
Emulated her
Adored her
Never was annoyed at her rewritten history
A woman who asked me for advice
Who trusted me
Who loved me.
Who bore me.
I am glad I didn't avoid her eyes as she died
It was the last thing I could do
For my mother
Robert C Howard May 2016
for Ashley and Trent

Joyous tears lie just ahead,
for Trent and Ashley
will seal their love today.

Pipes, strings, brass and voices
will soar beneath
Saint Peters towering nave

and we'll rise as one to affirm
their pledge of love and faith.

They met in band at Belleville East
and always seemed to know

that on some spring morn in June
they would stand at the altar
to vow their lives to constancy.

We all knew it too and today
we would be no other place

for hope unbounded rules the day
and echoes in our grateful hearts.
Another refugee poem from Poetfreak. The title is from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins called At the Wedding March.
Zoe Sue May 2014
I read him one of my poems
He complemented my mechanics
And although part of me laughed
Wondering how he heard me breathe the commas
Heard my spelling bee winner's letter placement
The notion stuck
Push-pinned in my memory
In the neglected space where kind gestures live
I told him how I appreciated it
I should've told him
Boy no no
You don't understand
My mechanics need fixing
No not my grammar boy
I should've told him to volunteer
Sweet boy
I know hands are easier to work with than words
Touch me with both
Shhhh sweet boy
Fix me with your good nature
Let it wash over me
Wash away my grime
You needn't a good speaking voice
But a good intention
Warming arms
To thaw me
Couldn't hurt
But sweet boy
Too bad
We all grow sick of licorice
And I broke you
Like the mantelpiece momma told me not to play around
I broke you
For a less sweet boy
With a politician tongue
And words soaked in muddy motives
I broke you
Hardened you
Into a less sweet boy
With a polititia- err
Salesman tongue
And words soaked in muddy motives
I left you
Gone with the wind
You were the Rett
In the search for my Ashley
But he broke me
Like the soldiers countenance heading to combat
He left me
Where all the sweet boys could have gone
Deb Jones Oct 2017
You would think that new pain takes precedent over old pain

But the truth is that when new pain follows old pain, the weight of the whole tends to be a lot heavier than any individual wound.

A whole lifetime of accumulated pain.

If we have no coping mechanisms we just bear the weight.

The ever heavier weight.

Because let's be realistic, life is full of pain. And there is no one to turn to that doesn't have their own pain.

We can't say "Hey, do you mind holding this for a few hours? Or for a day? I'll pay you for babysitting it."

The truth is we don't want to give up the pain, to give it up means that we give up the immeasurable love we carry for the people we are mourning.

To give it up means that we never loved them enough. And we did. We do.

We love them so much we are willing to carry the pain for the rest of our lives. That is part of their legacy to us. The love, the memories.

After a while the pain is not so heart clenchingly hurtful.

We start to remember the laughter, the happy times. The loving times.

And we take those memories out and examine them. Smile and feel the lightness in our very soul.

We put the memories back and the heavy hurt doesn't seem so dark.

One of my my favorite quotes is  by Lewis Carroll
"I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast"

That always seemed like a good attitude to me.

The way the world is these days, it’s almost incomprehensible how anyone could have a closed mind.

It seems like most every day there’s a story in the news about one of our certainties being turned on its ear.

Maybe that’s what it means to be human, forever questioning our certainties.

One of my certainties is I will someday smile and outright laugh at the memory of my mom.

She was a funny, outrageous woman that made me laugh daily.

One day she said something so shockingly funny I threw myself across her bed laughing and banged my head on her wall.

Even that made me laugh harder.

She was a treat to talk to. A great artist, pianist and writer.

When my niece Ashley died, her granddaughter, I came home and went straight to her room.

We didn't say a word. I cried with my head on her lap for more than 2 hours. While she made soothing noises and cried with me.

The night she died I looked into her eyes for hours. The fear. The panic. I talked her home through it all.

I smiled while I cried and I made sure she knew she was safe. She was going home to be with loved ones.

I asked my siblings to come around to my side of the bed so she could see them and they couldn't. They just couldn't.

So I talked her home alone while they listened and cried.

I made sure every time she focused on my face I had a smile for her.

I told her to go. I reassured her and at the end gave her massive doses of medicine so she wouldn't hurt.

And I smiled until my cheeks hurt. While I kept talking her home.

I didn't want strangers touching her so out of 7 sisters only my youngest helped me bath and dress her in her favorite clothes.

I washed her waist long hair myself and did it in the long side braid she favored. I put the light makeup she liked on her face. She looked beautiful.

She was wonderful. She was my anchor, my soulmate, my best friend. She was my mother.
I can't believe she is not upstairs in her room waiting for me right now. I will miss her everyday for the rest of my life.
This was written at the same time I wrote the poem "Dying" my 22 year old niece died just a handful of months before my mom did. Last April. I am still working my way through the grieving process. Writing about it makes me feel better. I can pour the pain into my words
Ashley R Wright Oct 2018
free me from my mind
free me from the signs
free me from predation,
of the sons of perdition
free me from the lust that carved Solomon’s bruise
I verse away the blues
Only to choose, the tune of you
‪enslaved by insecurities‬
believing I’m healed
because I cease expectation
admitting no role, to the lost soul not only Adam & Eve
but Jezebel and Ahab
is who we are,
and what we’ve become

-Ashley R. Wright @wisecurls
Tipon Mar 24

20 Years, capital H, honesty. Corporate career, fast
is the future. She was 19, my Maguire moment in life,
& then lost Ashley... I am not a poet, advertising before
you get lost in your world. Widowed at 20, maiden voyage. Back in life, I design my own live- models.

Here is where we are, pictures, by a railtrack, sun of a
golden brightness. A shock to my system, gone in one
centon, what is the minute man? I am not a career poet,
I live in another century. She and I are there, here, I
blame her death on the tunnel, built perhaps in prefab.
In memory of my young bride.
Jason James Jun 4
No jealousy,
No attacmnent.
But the freedom to love freely.
In monogamy with allowances,
Not petty jealousies.
Monogamy  is a failed love and majority.
Promised and commitments
Can't always but you won't covet you're partners happiness if you love them,
Things go stale, stories fail at seven years, that sudies show. How do you know the one you fell for will always appreciate you.
Hold on loosely, just don't let go,
And if it was meant to be,it'll come back to you. But we were all made polyamorous
Hidden in the letters in more and dads ' closets, on there dm, Ashley Madison,
80% divorce rate. Why not face the fact we're polyamorous and work through it. Preserve the family while mommy and daddy get some strange,and when disgussed open and honestly,no need for relationships, open promises, a commitment to still work together when children our involved in a spirit of openness and honesty.once to be is not always to be in this world, but instead of contentious divorces and making it all about the kids and the money and make it all about mommy and mommy, or daddy and daddy who both didn't know each other and made a mistake and are still going to try to be the best parents they can after a mutual break or an open relationship. But like kids now a day don't get it. I think other than ******, covetous lust and adultry is the greatest sin. In the old testament it's  the only way he can write his wife a writ of divorcement and cast her off as a *****
NC Nov 18
T’en qu’à vivre jusqu’à ma mort avec ce corps-là, autant commencer tout de suite à l’aimer à sa juste valeur.
Manque plus qu’à me convaincre à croire en ce principe.
Malgré moi victime d’une image et des mots salaces qu’elle engendre.
C’est bien beau de dire : « Une chance que Ashley Graham est là pour montrer que les rondeurs c’est magnifique aussi ! »
Pourtant personne ne m’a dit qu’il me trouvait belle.  
Quelle est la différence entre elle et moi?
Il faut que le monde entier décide en silence si je suis acceptable ou non pour qu’une personne puisse le crier haut et fort?
L’opinion personnelle n’a donc plus aucune importance?
Presque aussi absurde que de ne pas voter pour simple argument que son vote ne fera pas la différence.
Pour moi, sa fait toute la différence.
Dis toi qu’un bon mot entraîne un sourire.
Dis toi que tu peux être la cause d’un changement majeur pour n’importe qui, si tu oses parler.
Pourquoi n’avoir aucun filtre à la méchanceté et se bâillonner quand il est le temps de répandre le bonheur?
Speak up and loud please, we need more love in our words
Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Our version:
Monday’s child will be a superhero – ABIGAIL
Tuesday’s child never gets a zero – JULIA
Wednesday’s child loves to smile – ASHLEY
Thursday’s child is kinda wild –
Friday’s child is so nice and likes to play –
Saturday’s child is true and won’t betray –
And the child born on Sunday, so happy, –
Is an angel with a great personality. –
I wrote this with my girls (7 and 9), and they had a lot of fun. I just love writing things with them, it always captures that childlike spirit of fun that just makes me smile.
LylexRose Feb 3
Sometimes I can't remember
Used to chase it higher
All letters I used to send ya
That problem it's mine yeah
19th November
Dear diary...

Woke up this morning
Same thought in my head again
But a new day has dawned on me
Suit up and lockdown
I'm getting hungry what should I get to eat
As I get ready to leave
This feeling came over me
No idea what it was
Thought nothing of it
Distracted by hunger
So I don't give a ****
Pace it down the street
Thundering clouds
Soak through my feet
Wasn't thinking
Delivery would've been a feat
The lengths you go too
Too get a feed
Heart beats
Mind bleeds
Finally I see
A stand in the distance
So I make my way
On the darkest of days
Ketchup or mayonnaise
That'll 4.30 please
What a feat
Forgot my wallet
That's great
Empty handed
And home I head
Out the corner of my eye
Inconspicuously I spy
Lovely young women
By the way son
Introduce myself
Strike up conversation
Names aren't important
"Ashely" that's a great name ***
Missing person in the days to come
How bout a lift home
And a little bit of fun
Just the two of us
Should've seen it coming
Our 4.40 lust
She didn't even have the time
To start running...

I'm losing my memory
But I'm just guessing fine
15th November
Dear diary...

Police sirens arise
From every corner of the night
Thought a home cooked meal
Would be such a delight
But she spat in my face
Am I a disgrace?
or is she looking for a fight
Either way she grazed me so
I don't know but
She's in constant anticipation
How about a vacation?
Just for you Ashley
but you push me away ***
How can I escape this nation
After her exit from civilisation
Wanna take action
but I'm in contemplation
So take a pick from my selection
Gunshot wound or strangulation
Red gloves and I'm enraged ***
Nobody's gonna miss you when your gone
Bin bags and disposable income
How about a road trip
Florida seems good, right ***?
Piece by piece get in ****
Remember when I found you by the way son
I do
Plan changes? Nothing new
It's great when you help me to get through
Left or Right; Straight ahead will do...

Just hit the highway to hell
******* I can't stand that smell
What have I done
How do I get out of this mess
Assistance no I need help
I can hear her crying
I crossed the line
Dear diary...

A nation wide man search
Where to hide on earth
Maybe I should've gone to church
Instead I joined the purge
Lesson learned
I can't get this blood off my hands
Sanity ******* ******* elastic bands
Heads banging like pots and pans
Toyota Camrio cameo
What came over me
Registration recognised
Harder and harder to hide
Hear the sirens from the rear miles
All the time we spent I never saw you smile
We loved each other for a while
Travelled about a hundred miles
But you just remained silent
I see you look at me with those empty eyes
Chased that feeling
Upper cut and I've hit the ceiling
Now I'm a ******* heathen
How could I stop you breathing
Does my life even have meaning
It feel like my skin is peeling
OH ****!
Blue n' white in the rear view mirror
Doing 80 in a 50 wasn't the brightest idea
Is this where it ends
It's our greatest fear
Who I am talking too?
My time is yet so near ,
Back up plan is sorted
An Emotional bombardment
Here coming the police department
Secret Martha in the glove compartment
Closing in so I load the cartridge
This is to us Ashley
Fly away like partridge
Leave the peartree behind
Because the rest of you is my fridge
Just a face for company but this is it
I was just a regular guy
Covered in Teddy's garment
But before I go
I want to know
Did you get the letters I sent?
eli 5d
most of my stories
i have no name for
i cant really express
how a title can change the story

its like a person
with an assigned name
and you expect them
to live that name

for instance, Ashley
she is a fun loving blonde
or brunet, who loves to party
she dresses in ripped jeans and crop tops,
that may be a little too short

Or Jessica
who is the meanest ***** in the school
she wears ****-skirts
and sparkly tops,
that always accentuate her chest

the stereotypes that live in highschools
strangle everybody
who fits within them
even if they aren't them

Ashley just wants to be called Ash
and wear baggy T-shirts
and sweatpants

Jessica wants to be called Jess
and go by They/them pronouns

People should be able to fit on
where they want
not where they have to
to survive

— The End —