Every few months I treat myself to a little help collecting Shasta’s furballs and removing toothpaste splatters from the bathroom mirror.
It’s a splurge, but so helpful – and along the way, I met Ashley.
I don’t know her last name; she’s in my phone as “Ashley Cleaner” and I found her on Thumbtack.com when I moved to Florida. Her ratings were high, her prices were low and from the minute I met her, I liked her.
A twenty-something with the kind of natural beauty that doesn’t require makeup, she was here the day before we moved in to get us ready for the arrival of boxes and furniture. Sweet and kind (and boy, did she get that stainless steel to shine!)
As the months went on and my house became more of a home, we’d chat about life – and mostly, she talked about her little girl. We trusted Ashley and felt comfortable giving her free reign of the house, knowing she was a good person and would do right by us.
She was scheduled to come on Friday morning at 8:30 AM. When 9:00 came and went, I called. Her little girl was under the weather; she had tried to contact me…and asked if she could reschedule for the following week.
No problem! Hey, the important thing was being there for her little girl. We set a date for Monday (it is Monday as I write this) and went about our respective weekends.
When 8:30 became 9:30 today, I texted her, “Hey, are you coming?”
What I received back has left me numb yet brokenhearted; stunned and heartsick. Her mother texted me back: “Ashley was killed by a drunk driver this weekend…”
Her little girl was still under the weather, or she would likely have been in the car with her. The kids were home with dad while Ashley went out to the grocery store. And she never made it home.
A lovely life, snuffed out because someone felt invincible after some cocktails. A little girl, left to grow up without her Mommy…and a Dad, left to raise babies while dealing with his own devastating grief.
Life is precious. Life is precious. Life is precious.
Our tomorrows are not promised.
On Sunday after Duane and I went to our favorite diner, we stopped to pick up ink cartridges at Staples. The light turned green and, thankfully, Duane looked left before putting his foot on the gas. A car careened through the red light; had he not looked, it would surely have been the end of us.
My heart pounded out of my chest. Close calls are frightening…but the text I received today was even more jolting.
Hug your babies; kiss your husband; call your best friend; snuggle with your pet. Look both ways. Don’t drink and drive. Say “I love you.”
I resolve, yet again, not to sweat the small stuff. I have breath, I have life , I have love to give and receive – THAT is what matters.
Thank you for listening; it has helped me to write this.
When I find out any more details, I will pass them along to you in the hope that there is some small way to help this grieving family.