this is harder than i thought and i'm so small

do you ever feel small?  i do sometimes, and today i feel small.  i am the 20 year old me that knows what's eventually going to happen in my family.  my father is terminally ill, brain tumor, oliogodendroglimoa; after 22 years i haven't forgotten the name.  i know he's toward the end, i know he's dying.  i don't want to face it, so i hide.  i hide in college going about my routine because it's what my mom said my dad wants.  but i feel like i've abandoned my family.  i'm not there to help, and i know they need my help.  my dad is dead weight to pick-up, and he is not the same because of the major brain surgery and all the radiation.  the tumor is consuming his entire brain, and nothing will stop it.  they have told him to get his affairs in order and they will make him as comfortable as they can until the end.

i am small.  i know others think of me as loud, crazy, and confident, but that is the part of me i want you to see.  when i look at me, that is not who i see.  i see the 20 year old who is scared to death of what is to come.  i feel alone.  there are a few, not many, but a few, who have walked in my shoes.  they know how i am hurting.

20 years ago today, it was a beautiful day: may 7th.  much like it is today.  i was sitting in one of my classes.  i hear my name called, and there is a woman outside my classroom, and she wants me to go with her.  i know why she's there.  she doesn't need to tell me why, i don't want to hear it; my daddy has died.  all she tells me as i hobble up the stairs is that there are some people there to see me.  she opens her office and i see... roommates:  malia, kim, monte.  my friends, more like my family, to help me shoulder this burden.  they surround me on every side, hugging me, telling me they love me, and are so sorry.  they know how they would hurt if they were standing in my shoes.  they know me, and i don't have to be strong around them.  i can be small.  i can be hurt.  i can be me.  they helped me contact my other teachers and get my schedule in order so i could leave to go home.  kim drove me so i wouldn't be alone.  friends do that for each other.  they are willing to stop what they are doing to come for you when  you need them.  i have great friends.

it's been 20 years to the day that my daddy died.  i will never forget my three friends, and what they mean to me.  i would walk through hell and back with them if they needed me to.  we grew up a lot that month.  we learned that life goes on whether you want it to or not.  the sun rises and it sets.  i learned that God is in control of it all, and His plan is divine, and he sent my friends for me when my walk was hard and i was small.

Happy Angelversary Daddy!  I love you and miss you more than words can say. 
Celebrating Life!


  1. Okay, I need a tissue. This is so sweet. Friends are special and they pick you when you need it. When we were walking this morning and you his angelversary and mentioned how much your dad would of loved Hopson, I thought about it alot during the day. You are right, he would of loved him. What a special blog about a sweet sweet man. Ashley, you are the only person that I know that has lost both parents so young and have remained steadfast strong and so positive about life. Always, always keep your smile.

  2. It's never easy, but Ashley is right. You are always SO very positive! (And you're right, Saturday was a hard day.)

  3. Ashley, this is Jim. I know this, you are a great lady, and your Daddy and your Mom are so proud of you and Hopson and the great family that you guys have built.


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