Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tender Mercies

I knew this was going to be a very hard post for me to make. It's hard to re-live most of these moments from this past week. But I want to make this while it's still fresh in my mind. I don't want to forget all of the blessings we were given through this tremendously hard time in our lives. This really goes back to the week before Miloh's passing.

Thursday morning, May 15th Thomas and I packed the last few things needed for our cruise. We had been waiting to take this vacation with my company since October and were excited as could be that the time had finally arrived! It was around 5am when we were up getting the last few things together, and I distinctively remember laying next to Miloh, kissing his cheeks and his forehead and telling him I loved him and would miss him over and over again. He stretched out his arms and moved his head around in a "mom I'm trying to sleep leave me alone" kind of manner, and I looked at him once more as I walked out of our bedroom.

My mom had already arrived and she and my entire family would be taking turns over the next two days to watch them. Thomas's family would be taking over for the other half of the time. Simon and Cohen were asleep on the couch in the living room and me and Thomas took turns giving them kisses on the cheek before we headed off to Orland.

Our vacation was very needed and very relaxing to us. We had a lot of time away from any distractions to really soak up what really mattered in life. By the third night there we were missing our babies terribly! So much in fact that when we got off the cruise (we were supposed to stay one more day) but the thought of being away from our kids for another 48 hours killed us both inside! We took a shuttle from the cruise straight to the airport and waited in the airport for 10 hours until we could get on a flight! Because we were on standby, we were praying that a miracle would happen and that something would work out to where we would both get on the same flight. Finally at 6pm, one seat was available. We weren't about to separate and get on different flights, but at the very last minute, they realized one other girl hadn't shown up which allowed us both to get on that flight.

As we pulled up to Thomas's parents house, I remember Thomas slamming the car into park and both of us sprinting up to the door and running inside as fast as we could! Simon, Cohen and baby Miloh were right inside the front entry living room with the biggest smiles on their faces. Cohen started to cry because he was so excited to see us (It really is the cutest thing ever that he does that.) and after comforting Cohen, I grabbed Miloh out of his Grandma's arms and held him as tightly as I could. I gave him a million kisses all over and told him how much I missed him! I had never left Miloh in my entire life, so that was a really rough thing for me to do! I instantly felt comforted being together again. We couldn't wait to get home and relax as a family.

Tuesday, May 20th
It's been a routine of ours for a few months that each night I take Miloh up to our room and put him to bed. And every night, I have fallen asleep next to him while Thomas puts the twins down. This was never a planned routine, it just is what happened every single night. Waking up to Miloh squealing and coo-ing on that Tuesday morning was the best sound I had ever heard! I was so glad to be home and didn't want to be leaving our kids for another second! I made him a bottle, held him in my arms and told him all about our vacation. I told him over and over again how the only way it was worth it was because it made me realize how much I can't be away from him, and how much I needed him with me all the time. After his bottle I said my morning prayers with him. This is something I had never done until this morning. I held him in my lap and said "fold your arms now" as I crossed his little arms around his chest. He kept arching his head up to look up at me and smiled during our little prayer.

I picked him up and walked down the stairs with him to where Thomas and the twins had fallen asleep. They all woke up stretching with big smiles on their face. I knew they had missed us and I was so happy to be home!

That day we really didn't want to leave each other. We had a lot of errands to run, and on a normal occasion one of us would have tackled them all instead of packing everyone in the car and attempting them as a family. But for some reason that day, we decided it would be great to all be together the entire day! We went patio furniture shopping to 5 different stores, got an oil change and grocery shopped! I remember Miloh being really fussy on the way home and we knew he was ready for his nap! We got home and I fed him, but he was resisting his sleep! So as Thomas put together the patio set, me and Miloh laid down on a blanket out in the backyard and watched him. Simon and Cohen were having a blast with all the plastic that came from the big box of furniture! They were piling it on the cement patio and pretending to swim in it. Miloh was smiling and laughing at them, it was such a precious moment!

By about 8pm, we realized we were really low on all of their diapers. We decided since everyone was so tired, one of us would run down to the store and pick up a few things. I wasn't feeling very well, so I don't know why I offered to go. Thomas had just put Miloh down on our bed and as I walked passed the stairs to our room, I felt a strong urge to go upstairs and give him a kiss. Because I was feeling a little tired and sick, I thought to myself "when I get home I'll go straight up there and sleep next to him." And out the door I went.

As I drove home from the store, and was heading up 25th street, I was only a few streets away from mine when I saw cop lights in my rearview mirror. I pulled over as he flew past me and I thought "Thank goodness he's after someone else!" He was going so fast, but I saw him turn down a street up a ways. As I got closer and closer to my street, I saw a glow of lights coming from it. My stomach dropped as I turned the corner. There were fire trucks, ambulances and 10+ cop cars all out side my house. "Oh please God please don't be at my house!!" I shouted this over and over again as loudly as I could, my hands now trembling on the steering wheel. As I got closer, I saw our door was wide open and Thomas was lying on the cement outside crying hysterically. I jumped out of the car and sprinted over to him as fast as I could and collapsed onto the ground next to him.

Thomas was trying so hard to tell me what happened, but all I got out of him was "Miloh". The cops began to tell me what happened and told us we should get to the ER as quickly as possible. A neighbor who had been outside offered to drive us and we were there within 10 minutes. I remember that drive seeming like the longest ride of my life. I only knew that Miloh was in trouble, and that he had stopped breathing. Surly the doctors were going to fix this! Nothing bad is going to happen" I kept reminding myself over and over again. But the look my husband had on his face, I began to fear for the worst.

We were greeted by a social worker as we entered the doors of the ER and she took us back to a waiting room. She told us it wasn't looking good. Miloh still hadn't taken a breath. About 2 minutes later the doctor came in and said the same thing. He wanted us to come in and watch so we could see they were doing everything possible.

This was the hardest thing I have ever done. Nothing in my past, present or future will ever come close to what I had to witness in these moments in the hospital. I stood outside the door, looking through the crack at my little boys body. As I sobbed and pleaded with God to spare my child, I couldn't help but notice all of the doctors and nurses who were in there with him sobbing as well. As I stepped inside the room, I watched nurses and doctors slowly leave. I knew it was over. They did all they could and my little boy was gone.

Thomas and I sat in the room alone with Miloh for a few minutes. A lot of me doesn't remember parts of this nightmare because I was in such shock. But I did know one thing right there in that room. I had always believed in God, and I had always believed in spirits and life after this. But in this moment, I no longer believed it. I KNEW it was true. I have never felt Miloh more alive then I did as I held his body close to mine.

The hardest thing I ever did was leave that hospital empty handed. We had to leave our little boy in the same hospital we were able to bring him home from only 5 months earlier. The heartache is unbearable. And the loss is unimaginable. The feeling that I will never in this life hold my beautiful baby boy again is the worst pain there is. Yet through all of this heartache and pain, how did we survive this time?

You will hear "They are in a better place" and "They were too good for this evil world" over and over again when you see a child pass away. But when it's your child, this is when you realize the importance of having a testimony if you truly believe it or not. Those who don't, I don't know how they could ever get over this tragedy. But those who believe and know that they will see their perfect child again, will be filled with hope in the place of bitterness.

I knew Miloh was special. From the moment the doctor first laid him in my arms, I felt this powerful spirit about him. As the days and weeks and months went on, I saw a lot of differences in him that I never saw in another baby. At only a few weeks old, he never stopped smiling. Every person that held him told me they had never seen a baby smile so much in their lives especially so early. I began calling him "Smilo-Miloh" because that's literally all he would do. Being around him, you couldn't help but smile to! He brought so much joy to everyone he was around. Almost on a daily occasion, either me or Thomas would make a comment about how special we felt he was. We knew he was destined for greatness. He would surly do amazing things. We knew there was something different about this little spirit we were given.

When he passed, I felt like I knew it was going to happen all along. I KNEW he was special. And I'm honored to be a Mother of such a valiant soul. I know that my Heavenly Father could have spared my child that night. The only reason he would have taken him from us, is if he truly needed him more than we did. It's very impossible to even comprehend that anyone could need my Miloh more than we do. But I can only trust and have faith that we will be immensely blessed for having to go through this trial.

Looking back at this past little while and leading up to the last week, there are a few things I felt were tender mercies sent from above.

We had just taken our first family vacation to Disneyland. Weeks after we looked back and said "How on earth did we take 3 babies with us on such a big vacation?" But we have the most incredible memories there and that vacation is now so precious to us.

I had felt so impressed to take family pictures and the thought kept weighing on my mind for about a week. On a Sunday morning, the sky was overcast (just what I was waiting for) and I got everyone up to go take them. Those pictures mean so much to me. They are are first and last pictures we will ever have taken with the 5 of us. 

Miloh was able to spend time with every single close family member the last week of his life while we were on vacation and families were trading the kids off. I do not regret this. I have seen the joy it has brought to both sides of my family to know they just spent a lot of time with our little one right before.

We spent every waking hour holding, kissing and telling him how much we loved him. We spent the entire last day of his life together as a family, not leaving each others side.

I was spared the nightmare of finding my little boy in the condition he was in. Thomas is so much stronger than me, and I know if I had been the one to find him Thomas would pray that he could have taken that away from me.

We were supposed to arrive back home from our trip at 10pm on Tuesday, May 20th from our vacation. Because we decided to hang out at an airport for 10 hours the previous day just hoping to catch a flight, we were able to spend one last day with him. Miloh passed at 9:21pm that evening. Meaning we would have arrived from our trip with the most horrible news from some family member that our baby had died. I don't know how I would be handling this if that were the case.

And finally, one of the biggest miracles of all was the fact that my business from home was doing so well that neither Thomas or I ever had to leave Miloh to go to work. Thomas was able to spend every waking hour with Miloh since the day he was born. He has spent more time with our kids then most dads get to because of work schedules, and to that I am beyond grateful.

I can't be mad at God for even one second because I noticed the blessings leading up to this. Miloh was never supposed to be here forever or else he would have been. We are so blessed to have been given the 9 months of pregnancy and 5 months of life with such a perfect child. I feel him all around me, I know that he hasn't left my side because every 5 minutes I pray for him to be near me. I know God answers our prayers, and I know he knows my needs of having Miloh near us at this tender time. I woke up 4 times last night with the strongest feeling that someone was standing behind me. I turned to look each time seeing no one, but suddenly knew it was my Miloh watching over me while I slept. I began to cry as I realized I no longer had to watch over him. He is now watching over me. What a precious moment I felt then.

Our Savior knows everything we are feeling. He suffered more than anyone can even fathom, and we've taken such comfort knowing we can lean on him during this heartbreaking time in our lives. This has strengthened our marriage beyond belief. Almost instantly since the incident we have cleaved to one another. The strangest thing has happened and I know it's another blessing from our Heavenly Father. Never once since Miloh has passed have we both broken down at the same time. Either I am a wreck and Thomas is comforting me, or Thomas is a wreck and I'm comforting him. The Lord has spared one of us each time the other is in desperate need of comfort. Little things like that have made such a difference. And I've noticed every little blessing that has come our way since. We have felt us literally being carried at times because of all the prayers and thoughts in our behalf. For this we can't thank you enough. The pictures and posts of Miloh that have gone everywhere completely makes our day! The fact we can't hold him in our arms anymore, but still can see him everywhere we turn is such a comfort to us.

We have found much comfort in this quote from our prophet Joseph Smith. We have prayed in faith to know that this is true.. "The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure and too lovely to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again…"



  1. This is beautiful Ashley. I'm so so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you but I'm so happy that you understand the bigger picture and have a testimony that families are forever. It hurts now but this isn't the end. Thank you for sharing such this at such a tragic time in your life. I know this post will help more people that you can imagine.

    -Derrik Schweppe

  2. This has touched my heart - given me more hope and a desire to be a better mother and daughter of God. Thank you for your words for although I have not gone through what you are going through, it has helped me strive to be a better friend, mother, daughter and example to others. xoxo.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. You are such a strong and amazing person. I could never imagine going through this and being as strong as you are. You are such an inspiration to me. I pray that you and your family are lifted up and comforted in this hard time. Heaven gained a little angel.

  4. Its amazing seeing the Lord at work bringing you both home to spend another day together. I believe we miss a lot of minor miracles throughout our lives because we don't look back enough. I guess that is why we have been asked to keep a journal so that we will look back and see them. Thanks for sharing your story and I pray you will always feel Miloh around you. He will be watching over all of you. These last two years I have felt my dad closer to me than when he was alive. I'm so glad we got to come and meet Miloh in person at Mom's birthday. All my love to you Ashley, Thomas, Simon and Cohen. Your family will be together forever.

  5. Wow, your spiritual maturity is evident in this post and your eternal perspective is an example to is all. I ache for your family at this time of loss. We love and support you.

  6. Ashley, I admire you so much. I commute and work a very busy job, my 11 month old is often traded off between my husband and I aswe have no family nearby. Miloh's story has made me rethink everything about being a Mom. This next year, I plan to totally change my life to be able to be with my little boy and husband as much as possible...

  7. Hello, someone shared this and might heart dropped. I do not know you personally, but I'm the one that did your floral head piece for your maternity shoot. I am soooooo sorry for your loss. I remember looking at the photo's that Alexandria took and thinking to myself... "This is the most beautiful picture, it's like you were an angel blessed with child. That was such a special shoot i'm sure you will cherish forever. Let god be with you at this time, and always.

  8. Thank you for sharing. This broke my heart. You are so strong & so close to Heavenly Father that you were/are able to see His hand in your life through this tragic event. I don't know you but I will be praying for you & your

  9. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Reading your story makes me want to hold my babies tight and never let go. Miloh was such a beautiful child with an absolutely amazing soul. His smile was infectious...couldnt help but smile looking at his pictures.

  10. A friend of mine shared this link and tagged me in it and I'm so grateful she did. Nine and a half months ago, we lost our six-week old son unexpectedly while at a routine doctor's appointment. In the time between my son's death and his funeral, God showed me the blessings we had been given in our time with our son, Silas. I couldn't believe I could see the blessings in the midst of intense grief, and I know God's hand was in that and God has been with you. I'm leaving my links to my posts about the blessings if you ever feel you want to read shared so much of your heart so beautifully and I just want to invite you to know mine.

    We have three kids: Lily, Milo, and Silas (whom we lost). I smiled as I read your son's name. There aren't too many Milo(h)s and they are very special!! :)

  11. What a beautiful testimony and tribute to your little boy. I'm so grateful for the tender mercies you have been given and for your ability to recognize and find comfort in them. I have prayed for you since Lucus told me what happened. May you continue to find comfort and peace as you continue this difficult journey.

  12. Ashley, your faith, your strength, and your tribute will be in my heart forever. It was so powerful, so beautifully written, and so tragic. I am so, so sorry. My prayers are with you and Thomas indefinitely.

  13. My heart is absolutely broken for you. I cannot even imagine what you are going through, and I know that we don't know each other - but I want to be here for you. If you need anything. Just to talk/vent please let me know. You are such a beautiful person and momma and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. I truly believe your little Miloh is an angel for so many - god bless you. Sending love, xo.

  14. I'm an ItWorks distributor, my daughter, Kelli. Thurmond is my up line. I'm speechless at your testimony. One of such strength, acceptance, and faith. May God continue to comfort all of you....

  15. This story breaks my heart everyday. I check on you via Instagram and cry for you and your family? I must ask.. Did your sweet baby boy pass from SIDS?

  16. My heart is heavy for you but my testimony and spirit is strengthened because of your faith. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry for the loss of your son but I, too, know that you will see him again. What beautiful tender mercies you and your family were blessed with.

  17. Hi Ashley and Thomas. I found your blog after following a couple hashtags on Instagram. I also saw Miloh's obituary in the paper. What a sweet boy!!! Our baby girl passed away 3 years ago after living for 13 days and even though our stories are very different, I was touched by all the similar feelings you expressed in this post. It's so beautiful and so true. Your trial is unique to you but you are not alone. I am impressed with your family and I'm thankful for the reminders of a living Savior, life after death, and the comfort we receive from the other side of the vail. Please know that I am thinking of your family and I can feel Miloh's spirit as I read his story. Really, such a darling and special boy. Hang in there and remember ... It's ok to cry and it's ok to smile :)

  18. I am at a loss for words.All I can say is one day I will meet Miloh in the Kingdom. Miloh give King Jesus a big ole kiss for us.My heart is feeling such an overwhelming since of joy and pain at the same time and yet I have never met you or this precious Angel.To God be the Glory.

  19. I love Miloh. I love you. I love your family and not to mention love story. God bless you all <3