Last year around this time I sat here and wrote a similar post about “see ya in 2018!” and how I was going to take the month of December off from photography and spend time with my grandma and family and here we are getting ready to wrap up this year. After the year that I have had, I felt like I need to do the same thing and take the month of December off again from photography to just catch up on life and take a little rest!
This past year has had some huge life changes and growing for me and if you want to read more about it, here goes because I have not really opened up about what’s happened in this year. A friend looked at me the other day and said “Ash I have no idea how you are still standing here smiling and making sure everyone else is okay with all the changes that has happened to you, I’m honestly in awe.” I just looked at her and said, “I honestly have no idea but if none of it would have happened then I would not have the story that I have today.”
Last December I signed off from social media to spend time with my grandma, who we found out was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in October. If you knew my grandma, you would know this was a huge shocker. Trust me I get it, everyone goes through some kind of sickness, or a type of cancer that takes a loved one from us. It just sucks, there is no other word or feeling for it. As I sit here and just think about this time, I think about all the small things. She would call me and ask a 101 questions and would not let me off the phone until I answered each one, if I didn’t answer she would leave a message that said “Ashleigh, it’s your grandma….” like after 26 years I didn’t know who was calling me 😂 or standing over my shoulder asking who those people were that I was editing on my computer and asking 101 questions about them (and yes guys my grandma knew who you were if I have photographed you!) I sat there and watched her love on my nephew and teach my sister and I how to do things we never would have known to do, telling Stephanie and I while she was in the hospital she needed to have her hair done because wanted to look presentable (we made sure to make that happen lol shout out to Gwen + Jessica for bringing the salon to the hospital!) and then things changed when her cancer took over. It went from my grandma taking care of us to my family taking care of her. From the surgeries, back and forth rides to the hospital, to hope that she had a fighting chance to survive. Then it happened, On December 28th I walked into that hospice room where she took her final breath and then I had to make that one call and let my family know our grandma had went to be with the Lord.
After that, I was numb to life and I wasn’t sure what I was suppose to feel. I was angry with God because this was suppose to be my grandma’s golden years, she was going to enjoy this time. My mom did not handle losing her mom well, so then I felt like I lost not only my grandma but my mom there for the longest. I felt this way for so long I wanted to scream (it's okay to feel this way at times but it’s not okay to stay that way) I had a hard time opening my computer and editing those images, I had a hard time driving past her house and so much more.
By April, I had finally had a reality check. I had to grow up so fast and learn so much that I had changed as a person since October 2017. I wanted to enjoy life day by day, spend time with loved ones, travel, love on others, make memories, not deal with drama (life is WAY to short for that). So I started with my career, I took a hard look at what I wanted to do, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to school and try for my NP or try and go full time photography or just stay were I was at. Then in May I made the decision to leave my job of 8 years at the dermatology office, which I’m still very close to those girls at that office and they supported me the whole time. I decided to take a whole month off from the medical field and enjoy vacation and photography before I started my new job working for Lexington Woman’s Care. Since starting there, I have made new friends, learned the OBGYN world and finally feel like I can breathe again.
With all that being said, I have no idea what tomorrow will hold or what type of news I may get. The one thing I know is that I can handle it a whole lot better knowing that the Lord took me through a horrible storm to get me where I am now. He has strengthend my relationship with my sister, made me a better aunt to Barrett, taught me how to lean on my other half when I thought I could do it on my own, to be genuine with my photography and to stand up for myself to others.
It’s funny how things work out though, this week I have stayed up late every night working on wedding galleries, Christmas minis, engagement sessions while seeing patients during the day and trying to spend time with my family in the evening. I had a moment where I felt exhausted but then 3 good friends out of the blue messaged me this week (I can not make this up) and said if anyone has not told you lately you’re doing awesome, you may not see it but your making others happy, and turn off your computer and go to bed Ash!
So I just wanted to tell everyone who sent me a flower, card, basket when my grandma passed away, asked me to be their photographer, wanted to go to a movie and grab drinks, sent a random kind message or a phone call, bought me a coffee or food…THANK YOU, thank you for loving on me and making sure I’m okay.
Here’s to the end of 2018 and the start of 2019! I will be around if you need me but after November, I will be placing my camera in my bag and locking it up until January 2019!