November 2, 2016

Sometimes it still hurts

Truth? Life sucks. Hello. It’s Me. Mrs. Nasty. And today, this is my blog.

I have had—what you call—writers block. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but mainly because I have been afraid to say it. Stuck somewhere between a broken girl and a girl who wants more than anything in this world to help others overcome the obstacles in their life. But here is the truth—I have been hurting.

You see, even fighters have rough moments . . . and some days, life just sucks.

I want so badly to help others heal, that a part of me has been ignoring my own pain. I have been giving everything in me to hear other people’s stories and I have purposefully been avoiding my own. Because it is so much easier to help others change and heal from their struggles . . . than it is to go deep within and face what is broken inside. And I have been feeling it aching for a while, but have really been reverting back to what I do best. Hiding.

Let me just start a few months back. The kids and I decided to go—for our second year in a row—to celebrate Emmett’s birthday with his family. A tradition they have done every year of his life, and every year since his death. A place I have spent most of the latter years avoiding. Bear Lake. For those of you who have read my first book, you know that is where Emmett is buried, but what you might not know . . . is that place holds a lot of the good memories as well. And sometimes even the good memories are easier left unremembered.

I have shared so many of the moments of my journey, but there are parts to our story that you do not know. Some I have decided not to share—for now—because of the other people involved . . . but others I have purposefully avoided because . . . they still hurt. But I didn’t realize I had been avoiding them until yesterday.

So anyway. Bear Lake. This year, Jordyn decided to come with us. So the six kids and I set off on a trek to go and be with Emmett’s family. The weekend was amazing, and it was so wonderful to see the family rally around Jordyn as if she had always been apart of them. Each person held close all six of the kids, as though we had never spent years avoiding each other.  I felt a peacefor the first time in five yearsin that place. We spent mornings on the beach, and had bonfires. We went to visit Emmett’s grave, and introduced Jordyn. We got to go to church with Emmett’s grandma—something I had done the first time I met her. I even felt prompted to get up and share a very spiritual experience Tytus had shared with me about Emmett. Overall the weekend was a success, and I felt so connected to some of the things that used to once be such a big part of my life, and had more recently become a reminder of so much heartache.

The weekend was full of so much good and light, and love. Not the same type of love I used to feel there, but the type of love that brings about healing from a broken place. So after a weekend like that, I felt so ready to take on the world.  I drove home feeling spiritually strong and full of overcoming and so much strength. I wanted to share it. I wanted to sit down and write and speak of hope and share my message with anyone who could hear it—that we can overcome, and we can heal, and we can change. Relationships can be repaired, and forgiveness is possible.

Then I got home, and this fog waved over me. I felt alone. For days I felt dark, and defeated. I felt insignificant. Not because of anything that did or did not happen there, but because I knew it was time to start writing again. And it scared the crap out of me—because this time I know I was being asked to get REAL real.  

So I have been in hiding ever since . . . until now.

This week was . . . well, not anything like I had planned. A sprained ankle last weekend kept Shawn home from our trip to St. George for my conference—an expectation I had set in my mind that just about took me out. A small melt down in my office, and a 9 hour road trip with six kids alone and I was ready for the conference.

The conference went great; the speakers were inspirational. I cried and laughed all morning with each story told and hope shared. Each person shared something I had needed to remember. Each hug at the door by new friends, and old, made me feel light and uplifted. I heard stories all day of pain I could relate to—and others of pain I knew nothing of. I felt part of a community, full of brave souls who were battling the world. I drove home ready to take that next step . . . to finish what I had started.

And then I got home . . . and this dark fog washed over me. This time in the form of broken dishes, dirty laundry, muddy shoes, lists to do, grocery shopping. A son on crutches two days before trick or treating, and a daughter full of anxiety about going back and forth from her two houses. 

But to top it all off as we were getting ready to put on Halloween costumes yesterday, Bostyn came running in with her baby bunny. Hysterically she screamed that something was wrong, a cry we have come to know well. You see, at our house we don’t just deal with sick dying bunnies and broken plates. We deal with triggers—triggers of a pain no little girl or boy should ever know.

As I held on to her on the way to take the bunny in, I could feel her hand trembling. Her whole body was shaking as she grieved what she knew would be another loss. A part of me wanted to say, “Bostyn . . . come on. Say a prayer, read your scriptures. Everything is going to be ok.”

But in that moment I thought over the years about times when people tried to do that with me. So instead, we just cried together. She held my hand with one hand, and the basket that held her bunny in the other, and we silently sobbed. After we dropped the bunny off we got back in the car. She stared out the window, “Mom . . . is He really there? Is He really going to answer my prayers? Because—I prayed that my bunny would be ok . . . and I don’t think he will be. Why is it that everything I have ever loved in my life just gets taken away. The bunny lady said she could get me a new bunny—one that even looks just like him—for what MOM? So I can love him too, and then he can just leave me? No thank you. Why do I even bother? I gave him my heart . . . and now he is just going to leave me here too?”

And there it was. That fear I knew all too well. That overpowering beckoning to just give up. That voice inside your head, that sounds like all the best ideas . . . that really just holds you back from everything you could and should be. That voice that paralyzes your very being . . . threatens your very existence. 

I have been spending so many months afraid to finish what I started out two years ago to do . . . to share my healing journey. But yesterday my daughter reminded me why I have to keep fighting. To fight through the nasty emails mean people send. To fight through the fog that tells me everything I do is for nothing. To fight through the dark—to find the light.

Because sometimes it still hurts. And that’s ok.

We can’t keep abandoning ourselves when we need ourselves the most. We have to love the one that is hurting . . . and sometimes that “one” . . . is us.

You didn’t chose this pain, and neither did I. But we are not alone. We have each other. So, please be nice. Be nice to yourself. Be nice to those you meet. Be nice to me and please spare me with the emails about how “it has been five years and you just need to get over it”. This is my safe place, and today I get to “air my dirty laundry” because that is the way I know best how to help others find a safe place to do the same. If you are reading this and are offended by anything I do or do not say on this blog, please do everyone a favor and find a different blog to read. For I will no longer be apologizing for being broken, because this is my fight . . . and some days the battles are hard. This is my victory . . . and some days the battles are won!

But if you want real . . . it is about to get real.

If you can relate, and need a safe place . . . I want you to know I am here. Not as an expert who knows a darn thing, but as a broken girl who is fighting too.

 Today we battle together. We know all that we “should” be doing and some days we feel so motivated . . . until we don’t. So when you get stuck, and feel like you are the only one off track to the life you always dreamed . . . this is going to be your safe place. A place to come to heal . . . but also a safe place to some days come to—be broken.

We can decide who we want to become—and then become her (or him). But it will take time.
There are no set calendars on grief, no timelines for pain. Just people trying their best to find their way. Those that are lashing out . . . are the ones in the most pain. Be patient. Be brave. Take a stand today. Against fear. Against victimhood—against not being enough. Against feeling alone. Help others to find their purpose—in their suffering, in their triumphs. Angels will be with you; the light of Christ will bring hope. Live life with intention, to help others feel God’s love for them. Help them to see that their life has been full of grace. Help them turn to the one and only Redeemer who has the power to save and change. Go with faith, hope and a perfect love to share. For that is what He asked of us when He begged us to feed His sheep. He was the only perfect Son, and because of Him we too can change and grow and find purpose to our pain.

He lived a perfect life, full of imperfect moments. And so do we.

Don’t give up. Every moment lived on earth matters. Make them count.



 (Jordyn's hands at Bear Lake)

28 comments:

Jamie said...

Thank you. I really needed this.

Shannon Guymon said...

No one can understand the fight until they have had a small taste of what it feels like. I've been a dark place for a long time, grieving my ex-husbands death, my son leaving on a mission (which is wonderful, but still hard on me!) all while working to blend a family. I have felt much like your daughter wondering why everyone I love seems to always have to leave me. Your blog reminds me of the hope that is still there and that it is ok to have to keep working through the hard things, no matter how much time has passed. Haters are gonna hate, because they too are hiding from their own pain and would rather judge others than deal with their own issues. Thank you for sharing your feelings today. I needed to know I wasn't alone ❤️

Anonymous said...

I recently talked to a woman who told me the story of her husband's infidelity and some of the serious issues her teenager is going through. I had no idea. After hearing that, I wondered how this calling-fulfilling, temple-attending, inspiring woman keeps going the way she does. Well it's because she chooses to fight. She fights for her family in ways I've never had to think about. She gave me so much courage that we can do hard things and not be consumed by them, even if some days they do overtake us. My fight is nothing like hers, and NOTHING like yours, but we all have one. We can fight evil together, and we can help each other recognize the fog you're talking about is Satan trying to stop us from being a light to others. If we fight together instead of criticizing each other, we will win a lot more than we will lose. I've had super rude things said to me by people I've tried to help; I've been stabbed in the back way too often by people who should have been on my side. But you, the woman I mentioned, and everyone who courageously moves forward despite the criticisms of others, help me have courage to do the same. Thank you for sharing your soul.

Shauna said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. My baby girl died 6 1/2 years ago and some days I do okay and feel like I am accepting it and incorporating it into my life as I take tiny steps forward. But other days like today I feel so lost and alone and I hurt so very much that I just feel stuck. I don't like it when I feel like this, but, I am slowly learning that some days it is okay to NOT be okay. It helps to know that others feel this way too.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! Don't listen to the haters! I had hard things happen in my life over 15 years ago and I'm still not healed and it was nothing even close to what you went through. No one should tell you to get over it cause it's been x amount of years. Everyone is different and sometimes people are broken in one way or another for their entire lives. Being told to "get over it" really does nothing to help. Thank you for sharing your story! I look up to you and appreciate you!

Anonymous said...

Your timing to get even more real is impecable for me. I am in the most agonzing battle of my life as I try to determine how and when to go about a divorce that I am struggling to find any way to avoid. Abuse and Infidelity are difficult to tackle alone, but together I feel overwhelmed. My four kids want Mom and Dad to be together of course and I want to weep at the grief I feel for having to travel on such a hard road. I have days when I feel strong and as though I am going to come through everything in a way that will make my Heavenly Father proud and then I have the days when I battle with bitterness, anger, hatred and a desire to seek revenge. I'm emotionally exhausted at battling constantly, trying to keep my head above the blackness that seeks to pull me down. I feel like I am hit first thing in the morning with all the triggers and go to bed with that ache in my heart that feels like it will never let up. I want to know that there is an end in sight. That I will someday feel peace and joy again without the backdrop of heartache. Thank you for creating this blog. Thank you for sharing your own battles.

With love from Oregon.

Sarah said...

I feel like my soul is curling up in the warm embrace of your words. Thank you! This is a safe space for me to come be encouraged and know that we are always a little or lot broken in this life and that's why we need the Atonement EVERY single day. Love you, Ashlee!

Jamie Bowers said...

Your blog is beautiful and real. I just stumbled apon it from the fight blog. I've gone through a terrible divorce, a remarriage and moved 600 miles away. My x just committed suicide and it's been a hard burden to carry for my sweet children who are so young and innocent and adored their dad. I'm left trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to deal. I never thought this would be my life, I know we all find ourselves saying that same thing. Cheers to being strong courageous women who keep fighting.

nightowl1674 said...

I've been healing for 17 years from suicide. I can finally say I am making it! People cannot place a timeline on such a thing as healing, or expectations on how one ought to go about it. Stay strong, Ashlee. You are doing so much good. It is Satan who wants to hold you back by playing with your emotions. He sees the good you are doing, and he can't have that, so he fights you, too. But God is greater, and you will win. Thank you for all you have done, are doing, and will do to reach out and assist others on their journey.

Brittany Shannon said...

I think what you're doing is great. And to be able to be the one who "takes the heat" is even more courageous. I need friends like you (even though we haven't officially "met") I still feel friendship between us. The world needs more broken people helping other broken people.

Stephanie said...

Thank you so much for your brave words, and for sharing you life with us. You have blessed my life more than you will ever know, and given me courage to rise above the very hard knocks that life sends.

Pyper Nicholes said...

Thanks for your post! Bostyn's words reminds me of me when I was little. My dad died when I was seven, and occasionally still feel that way. I'm so grateful for a Savior that is there for us, as we struggle just as much as He's there in our joys.

Christy said...

This is beautiful! Thank you!

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Never alone Shannon! 😘

Ashlee and Shawn said...

And I feel the same about you guys! All of us are fighting different battles and I gain so much strength hearing from all of them!

Ashlee and Shawn said...

I am so sorry for your loss Shauna. I am with you! It's ok to somedays not be ok! Your angel will be with you! 💞

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Time heals but every ones time and healing journey is their own!! Thank you!

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Oregon! My prayers will be with you as you seek those answers from God. I know He will be with you! You are enough!

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Thank you Sarah! I am so thankful for that!

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Wow Jamie. You have to be one strong lady! Those are some big battles to fight! May you always feel His strength every step of the way.

Ashlee and Shawn said...

I absoulutly LOvE that! 🙏🏽

Ashlee and Shawn said...

😘 You have a friend here!

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Thank you Stephanie! You all have blessed mine more than I ever knew could be!! I love all my online friends who help me keep fighting!

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Oh man Pyper. It's amazing how those traumas stay with us and show up from time to time. Hugs to you! ❤️

Ashlee and Shawn said...

Thank you!

Kevin and Ashley Lyman said...

I have to comment about all these awful people that post on sites. They are so mean. There is not time limit on how long someone can feel hurt. There is no reason for someone to tell you how to feel. I'm taking a religious class and whether people are religious or this quote from Jesus applies all these unkind people. Jesus said "Pass no judgments upon other people, so that you may not have judgment passed upon you...Why do you keep looking at the speck in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the beam that is in your own? You hypocrite! First get the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see to get the speck out of your brother's eye". (Source: A History of the World's Religions, pg 410)

What you are doing Ashlee is so amazing and you are helping so many people. You have turned such a tragic event for you into a way to help others become stronger better people. I wish that people would start being more kind to one another. I have a very strong belief that the hate in this country is why we have so many tragic, senseless killings. If we were more kind to each other this country would be a better place. I agree that if people have nothing nice to say they should find other sites to read or better yet go volunteer for at the homeless shelter or a children's hospital, then they may find something in their life to be happy about and they can stop attacking others. Keep doing what you're doing, you are an inspiration to so many.

Ruth Emmett said...

I am familiar with that "dark fog" you speak of. I fight it everyday and your post has given me strength. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much I really needed this message. It's somewhat my story and I can relate wholeheartedly with the lashing out part for sure as well as the " broken " part. I should be on cloud nine , newlywed. But I suffered a debilitating injury as a complication of a surgery and it has left me virtually indigent, depressed, angry, out of employment and the list goes on. But this did help me so again thank you and keep doing what you do please.

Post a Comment

 
Blog Design By: Sherbet Blossom Designs