Her Story

Ashley Louise Campbell
1987 November 07 ~ 2006 June 25
Day 4

We woke up early that day and showered up. Tammie showered before me, but after I finished my shower and as I am leaving the bathroom, I looked to see her crying on the bed. When I asked what was wrong she told me she felt something terrible happen just then. She had just had an overwhelming wave of despair and, as a result, we hurried to get to the hospital. We knew something was not right, and looking back it was likely when Ashley left us for Heaven.

We were unable to get in to see Ashley right away as it was time for “rounds,” so we tried to eat. The two of us had just taken a bite from a muffin when my cell phone rang. It was I.C.U. and they wanted us there right away. We immediately lost our appetite and I remember throwing my muffin onto the plate and started to cry. We held each other while we sobbed in despair. A nearby Doctor heard us and started to cry as well. We can’t finish our muffin, it just won’t go down. On the way to I.C.U. we met the night nurse – Sheila – who told us that Ashley is very sick. She had had a CAT scan of her brain and the results were not good.

Dr. Chitook met with us and told us that Ashley’s pupils are dilated and unresponsive. Her brain is swelling and she has become too sick for a transplant, even if one were to become available. She has been removed from the transplant list and the nurse tells us that death is imminent. The Doctor hugs us and we cry. I call my brother in Nova Scotia, but can’t choke out the words. I tell my brother that the next call from me would be to tell him that Ashley was gone.

Ashley Louise Campbell

 Day 4
Sunday June 25, 2006

Our very close friends, Glenn and Glenda, flew to Vancouver from Nanaimo to be with us and give their love and support – God knows we needed it. Although Grandma Louise was there, we felt very much alone and desperately needed/ welcomed their support. Both Glenn and Glenda spent the day with us at Ashley’s side and she continued to fight all the way to 5 p.m. The Doctor had told us that the only way for Ashley to survive was to heal herself, and medically, there was nothing left to do. But she was supposed to have passed away early that morning and here it was 5 p.m! We thought she was fighting and a miracle was unfolding before us. Glenn and Glenda said their goodbye’s to us and Ashley, that afternoon, then left to catch their plane home.

Dr. Chitook had been hovering around I.C.U. all day and I caught him looking at us from a distance. He wanted to talk. I have a great deal of respect for this man. He found a way to deliver the worst possible news, without being insensitive. You could tell his heart broke for ours.

He told us that Ashley was brain dead and there was nothing more to be done, except have her live forever on machines without the possibility of ever recovering. The breathing machine was all that kept her alive. Life support needed to be discontinued and we agreed.

Grandma Louise said her goodbye and left us to be alone with Ashley.

We stepped outside the curtain as they removed the breathing tube from Ashley’s body, but I could see the silhouette and it makes me weak. After she was cleaned up, they asked us to come back into the enclosure. We were desperately watching the machines for some sign of life, but there were none.

In her last few minutes of life, both her parents held her tiny left hand. Tammie put another hand on her daughter’s forehead and I put mine over her heart. I needed to feel each and every last beat. Over and over again we said, “Goodbye Ashley, goodbye!”

I tried, but did a terrible job of choking out a “Hail Mary.” (Pray for us. . . Now, and at the hour of our death!)

She didn’t take one single breath, not one. Her life had gone. We watched as her great big heart slowly went from 125 beats per minute to none. It took about 2 minutes for her heart to stop and the color drain from her body.

I looked up toward the ceiling and said out loud, “Ashley, if you are here, I’ll see you soon. I love you. I always have and I always will.”

Ashley was gone. Tammie felt sick and wanted to go home. I asked the Doctor if there was anything that we needed to do before going. He told us we needed to contact the funeral home of our choice. They would have her brought home.

We left in a daze. We were filled with shock, disbelief and despair.

Ashley, our beautiful daughter, is not coming home.