Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Promise for a Lifetime

I've found myself thinking of my great grandma a lot lately... While I was cleaning my room, I came across a letter she had written me years earlier.  A warm, fuzzy feeling came over me and I found myself reflecting back on the kind and loving person she was.... and the promise I made her the very last time I saw her.... a promise that would last a lifetime.

Growing up, I was very blessed in the fact that my mom took my brother and me to visit my grandparents / great grandparents pretty much every weekend.  Earlier today, I put together a list of some of my favorite memories, and well- sort of turned them into a bit of a poem. (Keep in mind, eh- I'm not a poet, and I know it!) Hehe.
I remember playing "Old Maid,"
as we sat along the river bank.
I remember all the things you made,
the beautiful doilies you always crocheted.
I was so excited when I found
"Fool's Gold" outside on your ground.
We'd play wicker basketball for nickels and dimes,
making memories sure to last our whole lifetimes.
'Tiddly Winks' was always fun,
as was swimming in the warm summer sun.
You always told me I was beautiful,
that I made you proud.
You weren't afraid to say you loved me,
and I often miss having you around.

A few years after my great grandpa passed away, my great grandma moved into a nursing home.  I loved exchanging mail with her- handmade postcards, letters... whatever I could think of.  And you know, she always wrote back.  She always let me know she was thinking of me.  Of course, I enjoyed visiting her as well.  I remember how her face would light up whenever I entered her room.  She was always happy to see me.  You could really feel her happiness.  I still remember seeing her on my wedding day.  She was so beautiful in her pretty purple dress... when I became pregnant with Ashton, she was so excited!  On Thanksgiving she got to "feel" him as he kicked around inside me. It was cute how lightly she put her hadn on my stomach.  As it neared my due date, my great grandma's health began to diminish rather quickly.  I made a few trips to the hospital, wondering if it would be my last time seeing her.  Each visit was hard, because I could see the great amount of pain she was in.

My little Ashton James was born on January 16, 2007.  At that time, the flu was going around, and was especially affecting the nursing home that my great grandma was at.  If I remember correctly, they even closed the doors on most outside visitors for awhile.  I wanted to badly for her to experience what it felt like to hold her first great grandchild in her arms.  It wasnt until a month later that we were actually able to make that happen.

My great grandma continued to be in a great amount of pain, and was heavily medicated when we came to visit.  The medication she was on, often made her confused.  I remember hearing her cry out to Jesus- you know, she knew where she was going and she was so ready to meet her loving Savior, her Prince of Peace.  I gently placed Ashton in her arms. A short while later, the most amazing thing happened.  My great grandma, using every bit of strength she had, stretched her hand out to me, took my hand in hers, and had me promise I would be a good mom.

There arent adequate words to describe how defining that very moment was for me.  As Ashton was placed back in my arms, I knew from that moment forward that I would be a promise keeper- perhaps the promise keeper of one of the most valued promises one can have in their lifetime.

Two days later, my great grandma took her last breath and entered the beautiful kingdom of heaven.  Her funeral was beautiful and it feels weird saying this, but on that day, I didn't feel overwhelmed by sadness.  My great grandma lived a long and beautiful life... and you know, she knew what this life was all about.  It's not about financial wealth or materialistic things. It's about relationships, moments spent together, moments spent with God, and the undeniable joy that comes from those things.

I was lying in bed last night, remembering my great grandma, and I began to realize how difficult it is to remember certain things... It can be a paralyzing thought to try and remember exactly what someone's voice sounded like, how their touch felt, or even how they smelled... perhaps those of you who have lost a loved one know that feeling, too.  And you know, a strange thing happened- I started comparing my memories to butterflies.  I guess, in a way, I was captivated by the beauty within my memories, and at the same time, found myself wishing I had a net to capture all of them in.  Sometimes memories can be so fleeting... but when we make time to really remember the essence of someone we love, it's almost like having a butterfly land gently on our shoulder, if even just for a moment.

I often find myself thinking about the promise I made my great grandma.  Of course, I hope I'm making good on it.  I find great joy in the simple things in life with my family... those things are some of the most beautiful things we've been so richly blessed with in this lifetime= the first snowfall, birds singing happy songs, the powerful rumble of thunder, and the promising sparkle in the stars at night... Iw ill always take time to stop and smell the flowers, and can't deny a good splash in a soggy rain puddle. I am not ashamed to catch snowflakes on my tongue, or dance in the pouring rain.  Dandelion bouquets will always be the best bouquets I am given, and when they turn to wishies, I will always wish them all away... I will always see the promise in the colors of a rainbow, and always embrace the warmth of the sun upon my cheek... and whenever I see a butterfly, I will remember what this life is really all about.  What the caterpillar sees as the end of the world, the master sees as a butterfly.  We all might feel like caterpillars from time to time... off focus with what really matters in this life... but dont ever lose heart.  God is working something wonderful in each and everyone of us... and wanna know something great?  Someday someone is going to look back on your life, wishing they had a net to capture all of the beautiful memories you gave them.  So, friends- what are you waiting for? Get out there and create! Create something beautiful.


  1. Love you friend. Your blog is inspiring and has touched me!
    Love Katie

  2. Awesome Post. Love ya girl

  3. THREE is my LUCKY # anyway!! Beautiful and made me tear up!! You are wonderful and I'm sure she smiles down on you daily!! <3

  4. What a beautiful firt post, Ashley!! I am really touched! Your great grandma seemed to be a wonderful lady. And you make a wonderful job by keeping the promise - you are one of the most dedicated moms I know! <3

  5. Oh my, how lovely Ashley... I also still have great memories of my lovely granny and I do miss her sometimes, which makes me sad, as so many great moments in my life, she could not be there among the living, but I hope she looks down on me and see I am okay...

  6. wow...that was so powerful hon. I am sooooo happy I read this. It is so true these days. So many people lose sight of what's really important...good health, love, family, self love and respect, and so much of the little things. The smile of a child, or the embrace of your soul mate, those things money can't buy. I am so happy you are my friend and miss you everyday! I hope this summer we can move back down to the area....I wish you love and a life time of happines :)

    Catherine Kimmeth

  7. This post made me cry! So beautiful, so true... I love you my friend! xox

  8. Ashley this post is just wonderful, beautiful, inspiring. I can relate at those feelings as I lost my grandpa. We should never forget about them. love.

  9. yeah this post definitely made me get teary-eyed!!! your words are so powerful and heartfelt! keep sharing, keep writing! and you ARE a wonderful mother!!! that's awesome you got a pic too!!! i miss my nonny *she was my dad's mom* and yeah even with my mom and dad, i think of memories often but i have started to forget their laugh, their voice, their smell :( what's great is i know my nonnny's fave perfume was "white shoulders" and my mother loved anything smelling like roses! :P so that's kinda cool she was sort of your first pen pal!!! :) yeah my dad made it a point to see nonny and popo *his parents* every weekend. sometimes i "lived" with them too. my nonny taught me all sorts of card games and board games, even how to polish silverware lol taught me to cook and garden and draw and paint and to read! she taught me french and german, history of Galveston Island, and math - while she was alive i made A's in math!! :p my popo taught me wood-working so i'd spend time with him out in the garage or working alongside him on the house :) anyways i am rambling on now..... love you girl!!!