I've never met you, but I've gotten to know you.
Through your wonderful parents, John and Cindy.
Through your incredible and messy gaggle of sisters, and your friends.
What a wonderful girl you were, what an amazing woman you became.
Thank you for letting me in.
You taught me much over this year.
Maybe taught is not the right word.
Maybe you reminded me.
Reminded me of what's important.
Family. Loyalty. Sincerity. Love. Understanding.
Giving of ourselves.
Through encounters with death, loss and illness, we are reminded about the importance of living the hell out of our lives, because we never now where the road ends.
We never know when it's time to attend our last bonfire.
You have reminded me of that, every month, every minute, every second that we have spent together.
In this space.
I've never met you, but I see you.
You know that.
In my mind's eye.
You are in a pool of light, in a meadow, where the grass is always green.
Where animals play and birds sing.
In your world, there is no pain, just love.
I see you there holding on to Nathan, keeping him safe until he can be with Whitney again.
You are smiling that million dollar smile.
Hi Dad, Hi Mom.
What is up?
Stop wasting your time being angry, or sad.
There's another cake to make. Another fish to catch.
Another bonfire to light.
No need to save me a seat.
I'm right here.
I'm in the bonfire.
Keeping you warm, and giving you light.
On this dreary Easter weekend, as we try to till the still hardened soil, and contemplate our plants, and as we try to wrestle spring from winter's icy grasp, we are reminded that you are never gone just changing shape and manner.
Like the seasons.
You are now part of the Earth now.
And Mother Earth will take care of you.
In the coming weeks, your Dad will come for a visit.
He will try to find you, physically find you, to bring you back to your family.
It is my sincere hope that he is successful in his quest.
And your family can finally find closure.
Regardless of the outcome of John's journey, my hope is that he will see you there.
In the depth of the rapid waters, in the sunlight on the mountain top.
Another person I know lost a beautiful daughter.
He continues to remind us, daily, that his daughter is not gone.
"I see her in rainbows," he says.
On this dreary day, I return to the place where we have met once a month -- at least -- for a year.
I come here to say Goodbye, but just for now.
It is time for us to part company, for me to move on to other pursuits, and for you to spread your love and wisdom, and to keep watch over Nathan.
This has been a year of great uncertainty and pain.
We stand on the precipice of a new and scary world caught up in hysteria, handwringing, and fake news.
Ugliness has taken hold of our world.
Time is running out.
Let's not waste a day on negativity.
Let's not catch cancer of the spirit.
There is only time for positive words and thoughts.
I am old.
I do not have time to waste.
I will think of you often as a pursue my journey.
When I am lonely or uncertain, I will return here for a visit.
This time I will be a reader, not a writer.
Tell you friends to come here and leave messages.
We're open 24 hours a day, no waiting.
Your cousin, Rose
I have created a Facebook page where you will receive regular updates on Ashley and Nathan.
Please join, share and donate.
Never Give Up.