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Facing the Unknown, Together

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Ben & Ashley, facing the unknown, together

Nothing bad is supposed to happen to young people. They are full of potential and good health and nearly invincible.

At least that’s how it seems it should be.

Ben and Ashley, on the verge of some of life’s biggest moments—engagement ring shopping, house hunting—found their lives changed in an instant.

It was a sunny fall day when Ashley got the call from Ben’s mom, sirens wailing in the background. An oncoming car had crashed into Ben’s Jeep as he drove to work. They were en route to the hospital and Ashley should come right away.

Facing the Unknown

When she arrived, she saw her mother-in-law nearly propped up by police officers, not knowing what would come, but knowing the news couldn’t be good.

After Ben spent several hours in surgery and lay in a coma in the ICU, Ashley started a CaringBridge website for Ben. The posts quickly became more than just a rundown of the latest medical jargon bandied about the hospital room as Ben’s condition changed. It became the latest news, yes, but also a therapeutic process, and most importantly, a record of events. Something for Ben to read when he was able and willing.

“That first night, the main point was to update people, but a couple days after he was in the ICU I had a moment,” Ashley says. “I had stayed overnight, and the sun was rising and we had a window that overlooked Minneapolis. It was so cool—the sunrise was hitting the buildings just right.”

“At that moment, I wanted to go and shake him and tell him to look at it—and that’s when I realized: He is not getting better anytime soon, and he’s missing out on a lot of what’s going on. That’s when I started journaling for Ben.”

Journaling for Ben

Ashley’s missives served another purpose, too.

“Our stress level and our exhaustion would be through the roof trying to retell a story over and over again. I made sure visitors had read the latest posts before they came and visited, because I didn’t want them to come in and start asking questions. I wanted them to spend time with Ben—sitting with him, singing to him, holding his hand.”

Post by post, Ashley and Ben’s community collectively held their hands, and Ashley and Ben could focus on healing—Ashley as caregiver, Ben from his injuries—together.

Donors Make CaringBridge Possible

Now it’s time to help families like Ben and Ashley’s through a time where their future plans have been forever changed. Help them tell their story, and heal.

Every 7 minutes, a new family turns to CaringBridge for connection and healing. The easiest way to help them is through your tax-deductible donation to CaringBridge.

Comments (5)

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Bill Aug 24, 2015 3:14pm
Mandy,You will not remebmer me, but I remebmer you as a child. I stayed with your family between FC junior and senior camps back in 1985. You were in a phase of watching Michael Jackson's The Wiz on a daily basis. You had a captivating, joyful spirit then, and I see that it has not dimmed with your transition to adulthood. Good for you!I live in Birmingham, and heard about Scout's surgery from the Dewhirsts. I have been, and will continue to pray for your precious Scout. I pray for success in the surgery, complete and swift healing for her, strength, wisdom and endurance for all of you. May God bless you and your family abundantly today and in the days ahead. Ease On Down the Road,Julie : )
JessicaLillis Jun 15, 2015 4:02am
Amazing tutorial ! I think it's really helpful.
SHIRLEY TOOF Jun 13, 2015 5:00pm
CARING BRIDGE IS AWESOME; I WISH BEN JUST THAT KIND OF FULL RECOVERY - MIRACULOUSLY AWESOME!
Ms. She Jun 13, 2015 12:21pm
Caring Bridge made such a huge difference, Love it. Praying with and for you All.
Gabrielle Jun 13, 2015 12:15pm
I wish Ben a speedy recovery.