Ashlyn's story

Kate - posted on 07/10/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and tell my daughter, Ashlyn's story. Though not an infant, she was still a baby, my favorite nickname for her is Baby Girl.

Ashlyn passed away just a few months ago, on March 25th, just 8 days shy of her 2nd birthday. There was no warning, no time to prepare. I had gone to work in the morning, leaving Ashlyn and her older brother Fletcher (4.5 years old) playing tag up and down the hallway.

While at work later that afternoon, I got a call that there had been an accident, that Ashlyn had hit her head and was still unconscious. We live in the country so I actually beat her to the hospital as I was working nearby. The 10 minutes of waiting for her to arrive, to find out what was wrong, was excruciating. I was alone, shaking, waiting for my husband to arrive who had been with her at our home. I was told that Ashlyn had a very serious head injury, was unconscious and required assistance to breathe. When he arrived, my husband didn't even know what had happened. He had gone inside for a break from yard work, leaving the children with his mother and step-father who share our country property.

When we got to see Ashlyn, she was on a ventilator, strapped to a guerney, her fuzzy sleeper cut off of her. I knew at this point that it was very bad. They were preparing her to be transported by air to a pediatric hospital in the area. At this point, we were under the impression that she had been running around on the yard, and ran into her grandfathers vehicle, causing the head injury.

When we arrived to the children's hospital, we were given more information. There was no way this injury occured in the manner we thought. Her grandfather had in fact run over her, causing severe, uncontrollable brain swelling, a fractured shoulder and pelvis, and a ruptured liver and spleen. The doctors tried everything possible, but there was nothing they could do for her. We took her off of life support later that evening, and within seconds, she died peacefully in my arms.

The situation is tricky, My father-in-law isn't much liked by most, including his wife, though I thought he okay. I didn't trust him for long with my kids, but more out of the concern that he'd feed them way too much junk food and wouldn't change diapers. He'd only been alone with my children for minutes while my mother-in-law used the washroom. Right now, he's living elsewhere to give us all space and time. I don't know what will happen, but frankly, I would be happy if he just didn't return. I don't hate him, but I don't trust him and never will and just prefer at this point to not be near him.

My son is having a hard time, especially the past couple of weeks, They were best friends. He was so caring and looked after her, and he feels guilty that he "didn't look after her".

Despite the tragedy, there are a few things I am so thankful for. I am thankful that my husband and I, my parents, my mother-in-law and my sister could all be there with Ashlyn as she passed. I am thankful that I got that time to say goodbye. I am thankful that though she was so young, we had done so many things. Trips to the zoo, she did swimming lessons and believe it or not, skating lessons at the age of 1.5 years and was in her first skating ice show. The day before she died, we had just gone as a family for the first time to see a movie (The Lorax) in the theatre. I will never forget that, I spent the entire time watching her face, she was enthralled with the movie and sat, hardly moving, munching on her popcorn. And there are many more. She was a bright light, a beautiful and endearing child who touched the hearts of anyone who met her.

Ashlyn is a gaelic name, meaning "dream" and that's what her short life was, like the very best dream ever imaginable, over much too soon.

Thanks for letting me share.

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Kate - posted on 07/12/2012

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Thanks Dianne. It certainly is a tragic story and I like to share it in the hopes that this can be prevented with some other family. As much as it hurts every single day, I just try to remember all of the good times that we had, though the time was short, and that we had the opportunity to see her off to her new angelic life. Fletcher is doing alright. We just reassure him that it is okay to be sad and that it wasn't his fault, and that it was just a terrible accident, though there are some days that it's hard to believe that myself! I feel like it could've been prevented, it was just so careless. But of course, it was never Fletcher's responsibility to do that, to keep her safe though he was very protective. I am thankful that I wasn't home when it happened so I am fortunate enough to not have the strong feelings of guilt that my husband and mother-in-law have for leaving the kids in his care.
Anyways, one day at a time, that's all you can do. My heart goes out to any parent who has lost a child at any age at all. It's not fair that any of us have to experience this pain.

Dianne - posted on 07/11/2012

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Thank you for sharing your story Kate. I read your brief post yesterday when you commented on a question of how long ago your child passed away. I have been thinking of you the whole time since I read your reply to that.
This is so tragic and I feel so sad for you. I have a son Ashlyn's age. Your photo of her shows what you describe of her - a bright and beautiful little girl.
I am so glad that you had the wonderful time together the day before at the movies and I'm impressed at how active she was :)
I really admire your strength which shows through on your post.
I feel so sorry for Fletcher - he is going to require a lot of patience and love to understand that this is not something someone so small as him could have avoided.
I hate to hear of these stupid accidents happening and it is so unnecessary and I wish I had a time machine to fix things. But unfortunately life is not like that and you have to go on, even though its unimaginable.
You will always be in my thoughts Kate.

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