Signs From Our Angel, Ashleigh

I believe that when someone close to us goes to Heaven, they can still reach out to us when we need them the most and let us know that they are still with us, everywhere we go and in anything we do. Ashleigh is our angel now, and these are some of the signs we have received from her.

Our Visits From Ashleigh

August 15th, 2002: Mom & I drove to town tonight, on the way she was telling me how she has this need, this urgency to get to Florida (this is where we've spent our last 3 vacations). We cannot afford this vacation, but we have to go, we have to find a way. We feel close to Ashleigh there on that beach in Ft. Walton (Mom even more than me). She feels her in the air, the sea, the sand, she can hear her, almost see her...she is calling her and she knows she is supposed to be there. Mom's feeling pretty much as if she will just fade away if she doesn't get there soon.

We were feeling really bad & depressed...On the way back home we saw a rainbow, (which is what has happened every year on our way down south) and at the very moment Mom said, "Maybe it's a sign" I looked out the window and saw sunflowers too! Sunflowers were Ashleigh's favorite favorite flower. The rainbow kept getting brighter and then we went under it, and saw more sunflowers. Then it was gone - - - - Just like that, gone.

Mom was thinking, "maybe we should go to the cemetary" and as she turned she knew it before I even said it....the end of the rainbow was right over the cemetary...No where else!! So we went, we stood at Ashleigh's grave, and then I saw it appear again! We bought some beverages while we were in town, we got home and she was opening it and the date on the box was....October 20th, the day that Ashleigh died. Maybe we're nuts, that may be, but we both felt that Ashleigh was thinking about us and trying to tell us something. :)

It had been awhile since we've had any signs from Ashleigh, but this was in Jan. 2001 at the annual Mentone Elementary School D.A.R.E. graduation. You see Ashleigh had been a very enthusiastic member of the program when she was in the 5th grade. She won the heart of the officer who at that time was in charge of the D.A.R.E. program, Officer Tony Cirrello. When Ashleigh died Officer Cirrello came to the funeral home during calling hours not only to pay his respects to Ashleigh and our family, but he stayed throughout the entire day and evening hours talking to and comforting all the many children who attended. On the day of her funeral he placed "Daron the D.A.R.E. Bear" at Ashleigh's feet, and she was buried with it.

The year of Ashleigh's death Officer Cirrello and the D.A.R.E. association commemorated Ashleigh's spirit and memory with the "Ashleigh Bruner Memorial Award". This award is presented to one D.A.R.E. student who has the same qualities that Ashleigh had always shown; enthusiasim, energy, a sweetness of spirit, and an overall good mental attitude towards life. Our family was greatly honored by this show of love and admiration for her. Each year Sarah and myself are called and asked to come and help present the award. It is always with bitterweet anticipation that we do this.

This year however was a little different because we had a child who is very close to us, and had been very close to Ashleigh, participating in the program. His name is Cody Long, and he is my best friend's son. Cody had been very anxious for the entire 17 weeks of the program, hoping and praying that he would be lucky enough to win. As the new D.A.R.E. officer spoke about my daughter and what her award meant, and read the message from Officer Cirrello, as always it was very touching and heartbreaking at the same time. He then presented me with an honorary plaque. I was holding back the tears and not doing a very good job at it, as they announced the winner. It was Cody Long! Now the reason we know this was the workings of "our angel" is that as the teacher announced his name, she told the story of how they had chosen Cody months ago because of his spirit and attitude, and until just days before had not realized that he had even known Ashleigh!! When they called Cody's name he started to cry and by the time Sarah handed him the plaque, there was not a dry eye in the place. This was a totally amazing and comforting sign for us and for Cody, who has missed his friend so much. He now believes and really feels that Ashleigh is okay and is up there watching over him..we do too! Thanks Ash!! ~ Mom

When my mom and I went on vacation to Florida this year, on the way there we were barely out of town, and we were talking about how we weren't really very excited. It just seemed like everything was so bad in our lives that there was nothing we could do to make it any better. And just as we had finished talking about it, we saw the most beautiful rainbow. And we could feel Ashleigh there with us. It was so wonderful. Then a second fainter rainbow formed over the first one. It was so amazing. And then we started to get excited and to feel better. It was like Ashleigh wanted us to know that she wasn't only with us when we were at home, but everywhere we go.

Then on the way home we were feeling so depressed...we had gotten away from all of our problems, and the closer we got to Indiana the more we realized nothing had really changed. Our lives were still the same at home. Then in Kentucky, we went around some really pretty scenery, and what do you know: another rainbow. Just like the first one, the entire thing with a lighter second one around it. It was incredible, and then we both felt like Ashleigh was telling us it would be okay, that she would help us. And then the tape we were listening to just happened to be at the part where it came to a song the three of us had listened to on the vacation we took together to Myrtle Beach. (Trisha Yearwood's The Song Remembers When) We followed it for quite awhile, probably 15 minutes just like the first one. Then we came up to a corner, and I said, "I feel so much better now." And we came around the bend, and it was completely gone. Then there was the most incredibly sunset with the brightest colors I've ever seen.

Mom's Visits From Ashleigh

January 23, 2008---Ashleigh would be turning 24 today---if she had lived. Days like today I still find it hard to believe that Ashleigh died. My little girl who is so alive at night in my dreams. She's so real, I can reach out and touch her and then........she's gone again.

I was feeling very low, thinking that it's been twelve birthdays that she's missed, and this year in 2008 it will be twelve Valentine Day's, twelve Easter's, twelve Christmas's, and list goes on........and then today, something special happened.

Tim, my husband went out to the mailbox and brought in a small package addressed to me. I immediately knew it was a sign from Ashleigh. I opened it and it was a "gift" from a magazine company for ordering a magazine subscribtion.

The gift is a garnet necklace. Garnet is Ashleigh's birthstone.

I re-newed a magazine subscription in Novemeber, but never knew it was going to come with a gift, and arrive two months later on my daughter's birthday.

This necklace came to me with Ashleigh's birthstone on her birthday.
To me it was a definate sign that Ashleigh is here and she wanted me to know it.

When Ashleigh died I began to receive signs from her almost immediately . It was just days after her funeral and my brother and his wife were still with us at home, I'd had such an outpouring of support from so many people, but there was one friend, Amy, with whom I had lost contact with and had not been able to get ahold of. I had been worried about it and wanted to contact her but couldn't find her number anywhere, I had just been talking about it to my family when the phone was Amy. She was calling to find out if we were all okay. She was very concerned and said that she'd had this dream a few days before in which one of us was in the hospital and something was very wrong, but she didn't know what. She'd gone to contact me but had lost our number, and had tried desperately to find it, but couldn't. She had expressed her concern to her friends, fearing something wrong and then all of a sudden our address and phone number appeared in the exact place on her desk where she had already searched. She then called immediately. When I told her what had happened she drove down right away to see us and spent the afternoon. This was the first of the many miracles that began to occur.

Less than a week later, I was with a close friend. His father had been ill for quite some time and had been in and out of conciousness for several days. That afternoon he came over and asked me to come with him to see his dad, his mother had asked his father to watch over Ashleigh. I went and I thanked him and asked him to tell her how much I loved her and to take care of her for me. When I left I went to Ashleigh's grave, the day was very dreary and overcast. I spoke to Ashleigh and asked her to meet him and be there for him, and suddenly the sun came out right over my shoulder, it was so bright I turned to look. I learned later that it was at about that same time that he died.

Sarah was a junior in high school, and there had been a half day of school. She'd gone home with a friend and I was going to pick her up. I still had not returned to work yet. I stopped at the local mini mart for gas, when I went to pay I ran into Ashleigh's two best friend's, they were eating lunch. I left in tears, feeling as though she would have been with them eating lunch out too if she were here. I was very upset and was driving and crying. It was another dreary, rainy fall day, already it was almost dark. I was wondering where Ashleigh was, what she was doing, if she even knew how much we missed her, and a song that I had never heard came on the radio. It was called, "Goodnight Sweetheart" by David Kersh. As I drove and listened to this incredible song, an opening appeared in the sky just above me and the most amazing beam of light streamed down on the road! The inside of the cloud was the prettiest pink, it was so beautiful. The light was so intense I could barely see, and I stopped the car right in the middle of the road and got out. I have still never seen anything like it. When the song ended the beam of light disappeared and I drove on, only this time with a sense of peace, as I heard Ashleigh saying, "Mom, I'm right here, and I'm okay." As I write this it has been almost four years since these things happened, but I can still remember them with such clarity, just like it was yesterday.

One night, about a year after her death, I was laying in bed tossing and turning as usual, and I sensed that someone was there in the room. I felt really strange, frightened even, but didn't see anything, and then I went to sleep. The next night it happened again, and when I opened my eyes to look the feeling went away as before. On the third night I was almost asleep and once again I felt someone there, right beside my bed. This time I stayed still and I kept my eyes closed. I then felt someone sit down on the bed, I actually felt the mattress sink down a bit. I knew it was Ashleigh, I could feel her right there at my side, and then I felt her brush my hair back from my forehead, and then I went to sleep with her there beside me.

I've had quite a few experiences now, I truly believe she comes to me. People would think I was crazy, maybe I am, but I do believe she comes. I have heard her voice calling out to me, sometimes I can just feel her and know she's there. Sometimes it's comforting, sometimes it tears me to pieces, and I miss her that much more. She mostly comes to me at night while I'm in bed, you might think I'm only dreaming but I don't beleive that.

One night in particular proved this to me. I was asleep this time, but I woke up to the feeling of a presense close by. Then I felt someone sitting at my right side. My eyes were still closed, but I knew it was Ashleigh again and she was leaning against the headboard of my bed. Somehow this time it was different and I was afraid, and this really upset me. Then she layed down beside me and at the same time it was as though she became a part of me, our hearts and souls were one in the same, and I could actually feel her there, she was not heavy and it was like her entire body enveloped mine. Then I felt her arms around me and she gave me an incredible hug. I could feel all of her love and such joy within her. I could feel her hair on my face and I could smell her, then she sat up and I opened my eyes and could see her. She was so beautiful, her face was illimuminated by a pink light and she smiled the sweetest most beautiful smile that was only hers. I felt like she was trying to tell me something, but I couldn't understand. Then her face changed, she looked swollen and distorted like she did when she died. I was horrified and scared and I closed my eyes, I tried to scream out for Sarah but no words would come. When I opened my eyes again she was back to normal and she was just smiling at me again. She looked so happy, and so full of peace and love. I felt as if she was telling me how much she loved me, and then she was gone. I was so frightened, like when you get goosebumps and a chill up your spine and you can't breathe, then it was like I went into a deep sleep, when I awoke in the morning I immediately began crying.

Sarah came into my room and I was crying uncontrollably, finally I calmed down enough to explain what had happened. I could not understand why I would have been so afraid of my own child, but what had scared me was when her face changed. I wondered why she would have shown me that, after I had tried so hard to forget that part, her little body went through so much while they tried to save her. But then it came to me, what she was trying to show me. Because I love her so much and miss her so badly, I keep asking for her back, wishing she were here with us again. I think what she was telling me was that at the end of her life she was so very sick and if she had been saved and had remained here with us, she would have been damaged, she would have remained ill, and would not have been the same Ashleigh. But in heaven she is now healthy and happy and just as beautiful as she always was. I think she was telling me that is was time to let her go.

Another night I heard her calling for me "Mom, mom", I went in to Sarah's room see what she wanted but it hadn't been Sarah, I realized she was not even at home. That night I had a dream about my Dad, all the way into work that next morning I kept thinking of him, and felt like something was wrong. Then I got a phone call from my sister telling me he was in the hospital, his diabetes was out of control, and he ended up with surgery. I know that Ashleigh was calling to me, trying to warn me and looking out for her beloved "Papa".

Sometimes Ashleigh comes to me late in the night when I can't sleep, sometimes I have vivid dreams of her that I find meaning in. There was another night when I was away from home, I couldn't sleep and then I was in a dreamlike state. I was back at home and Ashleigh and Sarah were both there. Ashleigh was older, a teenager, the age she would be now. I was telling her to do something, and as usual, she was giving me a hard time, teasing and just being her ornery self, and we were laughing. I saw her face as if she were really there right in front of me, and then it was over.

When I dream of her I never see her face, just a glimpse of her or a sideview or if I do she is always younger, 3 or 4 years old. I had this dream the next morning of Ashleigh as a little girl again and she was hugging me. It felt so warm and so real, and then I woke up and it hurt so much, like I'd just lost her all over again.

While we were on vacation this summer in the gulf, I would walk on the beach and I would feel like someone was there. This happens to me at home, and sometimes I actually turn around and look, but it's never happened anywhere else. A few times I could feel someone there right at my elbow, just out of my view, after awhile I became comfortable with it and stopped turning to look. I knew it was Ash, and that she was still with us even so far from home. I realized on this trip that she will always be there, no matter where we are, and I will never really lose her. She's with me all the time, and that thought gives me peace.

April 14, 2007 - Last week one day my afternoon asstistant and I were sitting working and talking quietly during naptime. All the children were asleep. I had mentioned something about Ashleigh, don't remember what it was. Several minutes later we heard some music playing. At first we thought it was coming from another classroom, but then we realized it was coming from our closet, which we keep locked. Jana unlocked the door and went in. There sitting on the shelf was a toy schoolbus that we have that plays "The wheels on the bus" when it rolls across the floor. It was playing, but it was sitting still on the shelf! We laughed about how wierd that was and I said "maybe it was Ashleigh saying hello", and didn't think anymore about it.

The next day, I mentioned Ashleigh's name again, and again it was during the quiet of naptime, and a few minutes later we heard "the bus" playing again. We both just looked at one another and went in and looked and there was the bus sitting on the shelf in the exact same spot playing and not moving. We said "okay this is wierd". Jana said "you talked about Ashleigh again!"

Yesterday-----again sitting during nap, I had mentioned Ashleigh (never realized how much I must just talk about her to Jana) and awhile later she said "do you hear something?" It was a soft sound, I thought it was my cell phone beeping a missed call. I checked and it wasn't my phone. I followed the sound, across the room to the CD player, the CD was still playing and it wasn't the CD. It was lower. It was coming from under a small table. There was a storage box, we keep our toy musical instruments in there, and the sound was coming from inside it. I opened the lid and there was a small battery operated keyboard and it was playing one note+. I picked it up and it stopped. I think Ashleigh comes to daycare and she is trying to tell me she is there.

I know that there have been other times
when our angel has sent us things....
We just don't always recognize them to know what they mean.

My Visits from My Sister, Ashleigh

Tuesday, July 19, 2005: I've been thinking a lot about signs lately. It seemed like it had been so long since I had had a sign that I was just SURE was Ashleigh...that good feeling you get inside when you truly believe you've received a sign sent straight from Heaven. A couple months ago a friend of my Mom's gave her a reading, and Ashleigh "came through"....Since then her friend has asked if I wanted to talk to Ashleigh. She felt that Ashleigh really wanted to talk to me...But I've been kind of putting it off, I always thought I'd jump at the chance to do this, but I've been a little reluctant. I'm not completely sure why except that maybe I don't want to feel too much...Or that it will make me feel worse when I've been doing so well lately. So I'd been thinking about this for awhile, and then Saturday was my friend Kristen's 4th Heaven Day so I'd been remembering her also.

Thursday evening my husband Matt and son Cole were washing his truck, and I wanted to be out there...So I got out the stroller and Caden and I went outside for awhile before I started dinner. I took some picture of Cole running around in his Spiderman swimming trunks, helping wash, and getting as wet as possible. Then I sat down on the front steps. I noticed this little lavender butterfly fluttering all around. Cole noticed it right after I did and said, "Look Sarah, there's your favorite butterfly, it's a purple one." It was so strange because it wasn't going around my flowers, just around the stroller and Caden, Cole, and I. I just had this feeling that it was sent by Ashleigh...Or maybe was Ashleigh, I don't know. It disappeared for a little while and Cole came back over, and we started looking for it. I was really thinking of it as Ashleigh for some reason, and when I found it I actually said, "She's over here." I had this weird feeling that we needed to be careful around it, and I was afraid Cole would get it wet. I went inside for my camera of course, and it just seemed to keep coming right back to the same spots right around the front steps, there's not even any grass there!

I took probably 20 pictures of it altogether. It stuck around that long....It was white on the outside and about the size of a nickel, but when it flew, it looked lavender. It was so neat....After awhile I came inside, fed Caden some baby food, cooked dinner...Called the guys in, and we ate. After I had things cleaned up, I went back outside....And it was back. I went and got the camera again, and it posed a little more, it was so strange.....I even told Matt that I thought it was Ashleigh.

Later that night while Matt and I were watching a movie, and I had a seizure. My first one in over 2 years. It was pretty freaky, but it kind of confirmed it for me that it was Ashleigh out there visiting....And even though Matt thinks that I'm nuts, I saw the same one outside Saturday afternoon in the same spot.

After that, I've been thinking more and more about getting a reading done....This afternoon I went outside, and had yet another encounter with a butterfly...this time a beautiful and pretty large black one with blue and orange markings. Same spot, right in front of the steps leading to the house. It stuck around for quite awhile, I probably stayed outside with it taking pictures about 20 minutes.

This one for some reason I feel is even more like Ashleigh....Like the first one was small and not as noticeable, and this is the one I just can't ignore.....And THEN, *L*, I walked out my back door and a large monarch and 2 small ones on my coneflowers....And again the big one stuck around long enough for me to get the camera, put in new batteries, get back outside and take enough shots of it that I could choose the very best to keep.

It was like someone was saying, "Are you paying attention now????? Is this enough for you???" *L* So....even though saying this makes me feel a little funny tingling inside and makes me wonder if I may not see another butterfly for awhile, I think I'm going to go ahead and schedule the reading and see what happens...We'll see if butterflies come up.

July 30, 2005: I'm starting to think something is really going on around here....And I don't think I'm quite getting the point. Because just a few days after the butterfly visitors above, I had one more! It was black and light blue, but with different markings on it than the others. It stayed right around my front door, and I got pictures AGAIN.

My neighbor lady across the street (who has more flowers blooming than I do right now!) asked me what the deal was with my butterflies, she said they don't have them! It makes me think that maybe I'm not doing something that she wants me to; I honestly think that when I figure it out, the butterflies will stop coming....Maybe I'm supposed to get busy on the sibling loss book that I keep talking about writing!

October 17, 2002: Yesterday I was sitting up at the elementary school waiting to pick up Sadie, our babysitting girl from school, and was flipping channels and this song came on by R.E.M. called Everybody Hurts. It's really sad and I used to play it when I really needed to cry and couldn't, and that always did it! I hadn't heard it in forever...I think maybe if I hadn't been sitting up at the school waiting to pick up a kid then I would have cried, but for some odd reason it made me feel better even though usually it makes me just sob and totally lose it....I didn't think much about it until my friend Valerie from my sib-loss group emailed me today. Her brother Vaughn's Heaven Day is today, 3 days before Ashleigh's (and his birthday is 2 days before Ash's), and we've been talking back and forth the last week or so a lot since we're both having the same thing happening at the same time. Anyway, she emailed me today that she was doing pretty good. She was driving along thinking about Vaughn and this song came on the radio that they played at his funeral and she hadn't heard since Christmas. She took it as a sign from him telling her that he is ok....It's the same song!!!

This may sound nuts, but I really really think that this is our sign that Vaughn & Ashleigh are together this week. How odd is it that we would both be listening to the radio, her in Maryland, me in Indiana and the same song would come on that meant something to both of us and make us feel a little better, especially since I almost NEVER hear it on the radio!!! It makes me feel a lot better though. :) Valerie & I both took this as a sign from Vaughn & Ash that they really are together & looking down on us this week. :) And if you believe that they sent us both this song...As Valerie said, "it seems like they are having fun" too! :)

February 28, 2002: My friend Laura wrote to me today to give me a message. :) She had a phone reading with a woman named Natalie who does readings for people (a medium). Her mom had one a while back ago and Laura wanted to have one too, because Natalie really seemed to know alot. Laura figured when she first heard that Natalie had to have feeding off things her mom was telling her, but then she heard the tape (she records the reading and sends you the tape) and it blew her mind because Natalie told her mom not to say anything at all and she just talked and her Mom didn't give her anything to go on. During Laura's reading Natalie knew alot of things and she really felt that her brother Eddy came through to her. She said it was completely awsome. Natalie told Laura that she had a friend who has lost her sister. Laura has two friends who have lost brothers but none that have lost sisters except for ME. Ashleigh came through and said to tell me that she loves me and that she is okay. I'm still amazed about this and believe it totally. Thank you Ashleigh!!!

May 20th, 2001 ~ All weekend I've been putting off going through the boxes we have left of Ashleigh's things and finding her binder/trapper keeper thing she used in 6th grade, her last year here. I figured that I could use it at school when I start tomorrow and put all my school junk in there....Well, I haven't wanted to go through them cause I thought I'd cry and I haven't wanted to be down this weekend or cry before I start school.

I went all through the boxes, and I knew that it would be the very last one I went through....but, I think that there was reason I had to go through all of them in order to find her binder. I found something that she either wrote or copied down from something else and I'm keeping it in the binder (it was in a folder in another box). It says: "You can't just run from your troubles and your fears and expect them to go away and never come back cause they will." I'm thinking this has to be a message....I think I was meant to find this now right before I started school.....It's so true to what's going on now.....

So it's like I know even more now that she loves me and will be with me....I think that this really is a sign from her. See, the box her binder was in was in the school papers box which I didn't check til last. I looked in the box above it and then all the other boxes that are on the other side of the room....Then AFTER I found that paper, I found the she knew that if I looked in that box first and found the binder that I'd I was supposed to look through all of them and find that paper in a it's now it's in the binder, and I'm going to keep it there to remind myself.....

I believe that Ashleigh has sent me some special friends, the best ones I've ever had. I met them through websites & sibling message boards. One of them, Vicki, told me after we had become close that one night she prayed for help...And the next day I wrote to her for the first time. I feel we were meant to help each other and be there for each other. These are the girls who I have shared my heart and soul with, the ones who have listened to me cry, laugh, and whine, who have been there through the good times and bad. Ashleigh, thank you for sending them to me. I believe that you got together with their siblings in Heaven and decided that we need one another. And thank you also to my best friends: Laura, Haydee, Robyn, Mary, and all the others who I have met and gotten close to along the way. I love you all so much!!!

On Ashleigh's 17th Birthday, Jan. 23rd of 2001, I went and picked up her friend Cody (who won the D.A.R.E. award), and we went to Ace Hardware to get her some roses. He got 2 bright pink ones and a red one, and I got one of each color. I just came home from putting Ashleigh's birthday card from my friend Chanda in the mailbox. It's Feb. 6th today, and the roses are still in front of Ashleigh's stone on the cement. They have beeen through wind, rain, and snow for the last couple of weeks...but they're still alive and well!! The colors are a little bit faded, but other than that they look the same as when we took them down! Oh, and I forgot to mention that the hardware store here has terrible roses; none of them EVER last more than a day or so this is really just a bit magical! Thank you Ashleigh; I've been needing to hear from you!

I have a necklace that I wear all the time. It's a gold chain with three little miniature birthstone rings. One is for January (my dad and Ashleigh's), one for March (my little 3 yr. old brother), and the other is June (Mom's). It's become something that I feel I just "have" to have one...One night I lost it. I was so upset and just had this horrible feeling that something awful was going to happen. I cried for days about it. We looked all over the whole house, even outside. Over a month later, I found it hanging on the back of the rocking chair in my room. My grandpa (Papa) had to go into the hospital for his diabetes, and I found out right after I found it. For some reason, I felt that Ashleigh had helped me to find my necklace at that time because she wanted me to be certain that he was going to be okay. I just felt completely calm, it was so weird....

Another time Ashleigh helped me was the winter of 98. I had to come home from work early because it was horrible out, and there were white-out conditions. I was on this road that has really sharp curves and steep drop offs, and my car was sliding all over. I thought, "I am going to die right here". And not 2 seconds after that thought crossed my mind this song came on the radio. It's called Angel by Sarah McLauchlin, and part of it says, "You're in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here." And then I wasn't scared anymore, I knew that Ashleigh had sent that to me telling me that I was going to be ok and not to be afraid. And for the rest of that week, every time I came to that road either on the way to work or on the way home, that same song would come on.

You're Listening to: Angel by Sarah McLachlan