Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, FUNERAL SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH, SCHOOL

SCHOOL DAYS, SCHOOL DAYS

Today is my first day back to school in a year! After graduating and passing the national boards for mortuary science, I suffered some health setbacks and have had to come up with a back up plan for the time being. Bummer, I know. While I mourn my former career, I’m very excited about my future, and about the opportunities it may grant me.

I’ve chosen to return to school to study diagnostic medical sonography – so, doin’ sonograms, basically. Did I decide on this career while watching 16 & Pregnant? Well, that’s between me and Jesus. Regardless, I’m excited to say that because of my medical background with mortuary science, I have roughly 60% of the program completed already. I will be studying at Greenville Tech, and this feels like a good and safe choice for my health, both mental and physical, and my future – financially and job stability wise. And honestly, any job where I can wear scrubs full time is A-OK with me.

I’m ready to stop focusing on the setbacks in life and embrace other possibilities of my future. You know what they say about getting off the pot, right? Time to see for myself.

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Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, DEATH/LOSS, FUNERAL SERVICE, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, PHOTOGRAPHY

I LOVE THE NIGHT LIFE

My grandfather’s memorial service was today. It was intimate, personal, and all about him, which he would have loved. I am eternally grateful to Lisa and the funeral home, the US Air Force, the pastors, all attendees (especially those who traveled great distances or in bad health to say goodbye to him), to my boyfriend and to my beloved friends, who have kept me afloat with their support.

Finally, I am above all grateful to Alicia Bridges for pumping out the disco hit “I Love the Nightlife”, which Grand adored and requested should close out the service. The family name “LAUGHTER” on the wall behind where his remains sat proved that while his time on earth is over, his impact in our lives is forever. Go chase the night life, Grand. You gotta boogie. 💡♥️

Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, FUNERAL SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH, SCHOOL, writing

MILLENIAL DISENCHANTMENT

I didn’t necessarily mean to wait nearly six months to update this ole thing, but time slipped up on me – and I guess emotionally I wasn’t really in the mood to share all that much. Since graduating last August, life has been a slippery slope of highs and lows, and I feel like I’ve been running as fast as my legs would carry me the whole time. One might call this avoidance … and one would probably technically be right.

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Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, FUNERAL SERVICE, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, MENTAL HEALTH, relationships, writing

HAPPY NEW YEAR

We are so close to the end of the year, and that always seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? I mean, the Counting Crows even wrote the annually relevant jam, “A Long December” about what this confused, sort of gray feeling of wistfulness and closing is like. (Note to self: find time to listen to “A Long December” before January rolls around). But just like the song says – “There’s reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last.” – and I get that. I think we all do.

With a new beginning (which we all logically know is really just watching the ball drop on TV from Times Square and taping up a new desk calendar at work when we get back from holiday break) comes what we all need so desperately to keep us moving forward – the smallest glimmer of hope. Because hell, maybe this year really will be better than the last. Maybe it takes moving forward to realize that the year we are leaving behind wasn’t really so bad after all – or, in some cases, maybe it truly was an awful one, and we need to prepare ourselves to move on so that we can get some space to start to heal. No matter where you are at in your personal journey, by the time the last dregs of December are clouding the bottom of the glass, I think we can all agree that we are ready to ring in the New Year, if only just to see what might happen next.

Time is so incredibly sentimental and bittersweet. We hold on to it so dearly, using it to mark our good and our bad and our in betweens. I think that’s why I’ve always upheld a particular romanticism in regards to fresh starts and new beginnings. While it sometimes feels scary to enter uncharted territory, even if it is purely symbolic – it also feels so exciting. And that’s because of possibility. Because possibility exists, and because we, even at our darkest hours, exude hope for a better tomorrow – somewhere out there in the ether, the two mix together and become chance. “You never know” – one of the most powerful phrases in the history of language.

With the examination of time come and gone comes the natural reflection of what we have experienced in the duration. I think this reflection is wise, because I believe that we all have the responsibility to try to become a better version of ourselves every year. And reflection is how we do that – how we look back at what we have just survived, as a learning tool, as a way to honor the time spent, as a way to grow positively. We cannot learn if we do not reflect – even if reflecting is difficult and sometimes painful to do.

So, in that vein – I reckon it’s time that I mark down a little something about what 2017 meant to me. Painful as it may have been, sometimes.

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Posted in disney, DISNEY WORLD, FUNERAL SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH, writing

INSTAWHAM

I have a social media problem. Primarily instagram. I’m not afraid to admit it. What I AM afraid of, however, is the damage it is doing to me as a young woman and a human being. And while I am in this inbetween season of my life wherein I am trying to get a better and healthier grasp of my mental health, preparing for funeral board exams, and eventually finding a place in the funeral industry, I have promised to come clean and honest with every mental and emotional problem that I endure or suffer, in the event that me spilling my guts could possibly help someone else. There isn’t much that I can do right now, other than wait for life to open the next door. So here goes.

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Posted in FUNERAL SERVICE

REST IN PEACE

I miss the funeral home. I do. I often dream about it and I wake up with tears running hot down the sides of my face because for that one second between sleep and wake, I am groggy and think that I will be going there again soon, that it is just the middle of the night and work will be in the morning, in just a few hours. I dream about being in the prep room, about methodically slipping on my protective gear, about choosing chemicals, about clean incisions, about what it feels like to be doing something with my life that feels worthwhile.

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Posted in ASHLEY IN WONDERLAND, FUNERAL SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH, PHOTOGRAPHY, writing

#FIREDUP2k16

So, I was fired from the funeral home.

Again.

One day shy of the one year anniversary of the first time I was fired.

Ahhhh, life. You never, ever, ever fail to keep me on my toes.

I missed class yesterday morning, which never happens. I set my alarm for the wrong time, I mixed up my days, totally goofed – but this meant that I could go into work early, and I was really excited to go into work. I miss work, I hate that school takes me away from work and that I don’t get to be as present as I want to be, as involved as I long to be. I didn’t text Tom and tell him that I was sneaking in a few hours early because I wanted to surprise him. Yesterday was the first day that felt like fall to me, the leaves are starting to change, the air was nice and cool, the sun was bright. I felt fine, I remember thinking that – I feel fine today.  I walked into the funeral home with a vial of shaved citrine in my hand (said to bring success in ones career) and an Elvis magnet, stoked to add them to the rest of the oddities collected on my desk.

I made it as far as the doorway. I didn’t even get to put my bag down.

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