Thursday, July 15, 2010


I have been writing this blog post in my mind for a solid week now. No- wait- more like 10 days or so... I don't really know what to say. I mean, I have a zillion things to say... but not sure I WANT to say them... ya know?

To start, I guess I should say this has truly, TRULY been one of the most challenging (emotionally AND physically) weeks of my life. And I'm not a "swearer"- I mean, don't get me wrong you might hear the "H" or "D" word slip out once in awhile... but really, I try to keep my mouth clean. HOWEVER, I can only think of ONE (or two?) words to describe this week: SHIT STORM. I apologize for the language. Both of my grandpas were sailors... I'm thinking that's where this impulse of shouting out a slur of curse words is coming from (or I could be developing adult turrets).

Either way... I am fairly sure you can get your daily fix of drama from reading about my shitstorm.

WOO! Okay so Tuesday (7/6) morning my mom called to let me know that my uncle "Chip" (Floyd was his real name but he's really "Chip") had died. He had been really sick so I can't say I was shocked by the news- I mean, I knew it was coming. Thus began the search for flights. We booked one for Thursday morning- my dad, Maeve, Henry and myself.

Wednesday (7/7) I got a phone call from my dad. THIS time, telling me that my brother, Tyler, "was fine- and okay." Of course after hearing that, tears are in my eyes and I'm thinking "WHAT WHAT WHAT?!?!" I'm sure most of you (Jacksonians, that is) heard about the death of Ben Willard. Ben was Tyler's friend and soon-to-be room mate. Ben was shot and killed... and Tyler (PRAISE THE LORD) is/was fine. Besides being incredibly emotional and upset. I have no doubt he had angels with him. He was supposed to be apartment hunting with Ben- instead of going, Ben dropped him off at (our) home- he was shot less than an hour later. It gives me goosebumps and makes me naseuas.

Thursday morning we flew out of Detroit. All in all, can't complain about the flight. I have two kids under the age of 3- its a given that the flight is going to be stressful and less than enjoyable. And it was. Whatever.

We got to my grandmas Thursday afternoon and immediately started in with the planning and preperation that goes into a funeral. YUCK. My heart was pained watching my mom and grandma cry day in and day out. Visitors came and went, bringing food and flowers. And with each visitor, I learned a new story about my uncle. We went out for dinner a few times, but nobody ever really ate anything (besides Henry... who started eating hardcore foods- cheese grits, chicken, pizza, etc.)

Sleeping sucked. I love my grandma's little Florida home, but wow- it can get crammed with our family! I was in my uncle Chips old room with both kids. There was a daybed, a pull out bed and a pack and play. It was decided that Maeve would sleep on the daybed, Henry in the playpen and I on the pull out. The reasoning, was that if Maeve were going to climb out of bed in the middle of the night, she'd have to climb over me. Lets just say I had a FABULOUS 7 nights of sleeping. NOT. I'm not sure if Henry's teething or if it was the enviornment (heat, itchy sheets, etc.) but he was up 2-3 times a night. I was having newborn flashbacks. BLAH! Not that I don't love the newborn stage, but geez- he's sooo not a newborn. By the third night I had a routine down- I'd put Henry down first (around 8:30 or so), Maeve was soon to follow- and I literally had to lie there with her and hold her legs down... she would fight sleep until the bitter end. FINALLY (usually around 11 or so?) she'd be asleep and I'd sneak onto the pull out bed and crash. 2 AM, Henry starts to stir- I'd scoop him up before he could wake Maeve up, bring him out in the living room, change his diaper, give him a bottle, and rock him in his car carrier until he fell back asleep. 5 AM- Henry's up again, this time, Maeve is usually sleeping pretty lightly as well. Thankfully, I can get Henry back to sleep until 7- and I strategically sent Maeve into my parents room where they got to experience her thrashing and wiggling for a couple of hours. Yes... it was a rough week, even in the sleep department.

Saturday was the dreaded funeral. I hate funerals. Who likes them? If you like a funeral there is something seriously wrong with you... just saying. Anyways, I got the kids dressed and then started the search for my outfit. I realized about 20 minutes into my search that it was hanging up in the bathroom... in Jackson. Fantastic.

My skin and bones mother said I could borrow an outfit from her. HAHA. Her choices were two dressy shirts- both XS. We all know I'm not an XS. SOMEHOW I squeezed into it and made it work for the day. UGH.

The funeral itself was awful. I mean, it was nice- but awful. My cousins (my uncles kids) were in pieces. The man who gave the eulogy mentioned how much of Chip he saw in Nolan (my cousin) and I was fairly certain Nolan was going to sob himself onto the floor. It was just SO awful.

After the funeral, we had the burial. I had never been to a burial and I hope I never have to see one again.

The rest of Saturday was spent at my grandmas, greeting friends and family. I avoided eye contact with my mom and grandma... I'm just not good in those situations. My grandma did ask me to go to the cemetary with her and take some pictures of all the flowers. That was tough. And I wasn't sure it was appropriate- do you bring a camera into a cemetary?- but I did. And she's happy to have the pictures.

Sunday. I was actually very, VERY relieved to have the funeral done and over with. It was supposed to be a relaxed day at home. We were going to swim, nap, recoop from the craziness. Around noon or so, I told my mom I was going to try and put Henry down for a nap. She told me she was going to try and get Maeve to sleep in her room. Sounded good- two sleeping kids= nap for me. I got Henry down and my mom thought she had gotten Maeve down. We were standing out in the living room (talking? watching tv? can't remember) when we heard some movement back in Maeve's room. I turned to my mom and said "Mom, I thought you said she was sleeping." My mom said "I thought she was too. I'll go check on her."

The next thing I heard was "GOD DAMMIT." (that came from my mom...nice) I ran in there to find Maeve sitting on the bed with my mom's pill case in front of her- as well as my dad's bag of vitamins- completely dumped out. Cue racing heart, head & breathing. My mom was on her hands and knees searching for missing pills... my dad was trying to count out his vitimins... and I was trying to get some valid info for posion control, all the while, Maeve is sitting on the bed looking at me like, "what?"

Turns out, my mom's pill case was full of toporoll. A blood pressure medication. When I told the PC lady that, she said Maeve needed to get to a hospital immediately. Before the feeling of throw up came, I managed to ask the lady to tell me the nearest hospital- Deland- 45 minutes away. OMG.

We ran to the car (my mom, grandma and I) realized the car was on empty, sped to the gas station, filled up and cried & FLIED the entire way to Deland. My grandma was in back with Maeve- I couldn't even look at her. The PC lady had told us to make sure we tried to keep her awake and I was afraid I'd turn around and she wouldn't be awake.

After what seemed like the longest drive EVER, we got to the hospital. They admitted her immediately and had her hooked up to every monitoring device under the sun in less than a minute. She was incredible. She stuck out her finger for the O2 monitor- when it wouldn't stick and register on that finger (she had marker all over her hands) she sat in my lap and didn't flinch as they peeled it off and stuck it on another finger, and then on her thumb. And then finally, they had to go with an adult monitor.

The doctor met with us and basically said that all we could do was monitor her. Watch her stats, make sure her blood pressure and heart rate were good, etc. Her BP was low, but not seriously low. And she was CONKED OUT. They said that was typical if she ingested the meds- and not a big deal- but they (and I) wanted to monitor her longer.

I can't remember what time she was discharged. I do know I ended up curling up with her on the bed and sleeping. It was awhile... but anyways, she got the all clear to go home. We all cried. My mom got a briefing from the doc about keeping her meds up. (I felt SO HORRIBLE for her- I mean, she's raised FIVE kids- none of us have had serious injuries or illnesses- obviously she is capable of watching a 2 year old-she just kept saying "my head isn't here... I'm just not with it.") She apologized and cried the whole way home. Talk about a really, really bad day.

MONDAY. I was pretty excited for Monday. I was taking my cousin's (Halley) senior pictures in St. Augustine, FL. It is seriously a photogs PARADISE. You've got the beach and the oldest city in the US all combined. It's gorgeous. Plain & simple. I was excited to use my camera (it had sat idle for a few days... SO unlike me) and excited to shoot in St.Augustine!!!! Halley also happened to be my first senior shoot.

On our way over to St. Augustine, the phone rang. That damn phone. This time, it was a friend of ours here in Jackson. She was calling to let us know again, "Tyler is OKAY" but he was in a car accident. HOLY FREAKING COW! Apparently, on the way to Ben Willard's burial, (in the funeral procession) Tyler was at the intersection of Lansing & Parnall and was t-boned at full speed by another car. His side was hit and he ended up conking his head pretty hard. He spent HIS afteroon in Alliegince emergency room. GOOD GRIEF! When I called Ryan, asking him to go to the hospital to be with Tyler, he thought I was joking. He actually said "There's no way- NO WAY." Yup. The shitstorm was continuing.

Oh- wait- did you think it was done there? No... unfortunately its not. To end our trip, we got ANOTHER frickin phone call- this time from my aunt Paula (Chips wife)- informing us that my cousin (Robbie) had been arrested for breaking into a fish hatchery in Welaka, and killing 100,000 worth of fish. WTH. He kind of wigged out after the funeral I guess... Anyways, he is now sitting in the Putnam county jail. Which is probably a good thing- I don't think he'd be safe out side of it. But tack on some more stress.

I was really 50/50 with coming back home. Part of me wanted to go float off into the ocean (not really float off- but ya know, just dissappear from the insanity of things for awhile) and the other part of me desperately wanted Ryan.

It felt good to sleep in my own bed. It felt good to be at home. I had some giant veggies to pick which kind of cheered me up... Also, Ryan took a sick day today- and even though he spent most of the day recovering from food poisoning (oh yeah- haha did I mention that?!?) he did help out with the kids and took a LONG nap with me this afternoon. That like, NEVER happens.

At 4 (today) I rushed off to Dr. Bigelows- thrilled that I had an acupuncture appointment- I SO DESPERATELY NEEDED IT. Got to the docs to be told that my appointment was actually last Monday. I can't even remember if I said "FML" out loud or just in my head... but dang.

Now before I'm bombarded with "are you okay?" messages, let me tell you, yes I am. This is a rough patch. But we're getting through. My grandma is up in Michigan for a couple of weeks and I am so thankful for that. I love her so much. :) I am safe at home with the most important people in the world to me. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.


Jessy Schoch said...

Holy Crap, that was a week!!! At least you can now say it's behind you :) Praying for a nice calm month for you girl!!

Leslie Collins said...

I was stressed just reading this. I cannot wait for our playdate in the morning. So sorry you had to go thru all this.

Russ and Karen Gaston said...

I just saw this quote...made me think of you.

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."

Kase and Jules said...

I'm telling you, when it rains it pours! But wow...glad you are home safe and sound :)

Brianna Richardson said...


Ashley, you are probably one of the strongest women I know to go through all of this. Know that I continue to pray for you and your family everyday. I'm so sorry you are going through all this CRAP.

I love you!!!

Emilie said...

I agree with Leslie... I was stressed just reading all of this! Hope this week is going better! Let's get together soon!

Mallory said...

oh, it is the season of unending stress & loss. It's so challenging and I know that I struggle with it several times each and every day, but just keep faith and know that the Lord IS near, and He is using these opportunities to shape lives with promises for the future. I continue to pray for your family every day. I love you all so, so much.

Now... Update your blog dear friend!!!!!!!!!!!!