Dear Virginia

nanaVirginia was my father’s mother. She truly was a beautiful woman with a kind soul. I never had the chance to tell her how she changed me and how she continues to inspire me. I have decided it is never too late.


I always wished I could have been there to say goodbye. To hold your hand and tell you I loved you. It was something I had a hard time forgiving myself for even though I knew you had already forgiven me. I believe things happen the way they are supposed to. You are given only what you can handle and I just wasn’t ready to see you go, selfishly I needed you… but you had already given me all I needed.

You taught me math. You taught me spelling. You taught me how to tie my shoes and how to make potato pancakes. You took me on trips and to the grocery store. You taught me selflessness and compassion. You lived your life doing everything for other people, always making sure everyone was taken care of and my biggest wish is that you would have put you on that list.

When I think about you these days, with admiration in my heart, I see your strength where I used to see weakness. I see your loyalty and your courage where I used to see fear. You were a great mother, to many more than your own children, and that was your purpose. We are all better for having you touch our lives.

I didn’t have the easiest of childhoods. I actually believe a lot of it was quite damaging, in some ways beyond repair, and that’s okay. I have accepted that we all have our own battles and hardships, it is if (or how) we choose to surrender to those circumstances which truly defines us, reveals our character and ultimately brings us closer to our true self. You were always there for me as a solid consistent foundation. You showed me how to forgive, reminded me that everyone is capable of good, that people deserve love and sometimes just need someone to believe in them in order for them to become the person you know they can be.

I watched you do things to avoid conflict. You were a pleaser. You would say what people needed to hear to feel content and you did it in a way only you could do, never with ill intentions. Your advice was “take care of you first” but you never embodied it. I am certain the things you could have accomplished would have amazed people, but you never took the chance. This is reality for a lot of people. Afraid to change or to ruffle any feathers, they stay in the comfort zone which they have so carefully padded to ensure it feels safe and warm.

Somebody who was fortunate enough to know you recently said to me… “Ashley, you are Virginia.” It brought me to tears. I was so appreciative of such a compliment and then it hit me. He was right. Although we are very different, we are also very much the same. I (like you) am afraid. Afraid to truly become that person you knew I could be. So. My promise to you, is to do those things that scare me, to fight for my happiness, to ruffle the feathers, and not to step, but to dive out of that comfortable safe place that has held me prisoner for so long. My promise to myself, is to never forget all of those lessons you taught me while I do.

I love you and miss you every day, thank you for believing in me.

Ashley xo