For Love of Asher

Today is December 25th -- Christmas, a sacred and holy day for millions of people around the world as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

For one family in Seattle, Washington, today has additional personal meaning.  Asher Charles McKinley was expected to make his much-anticipated earthly debut on Christmas Day 2012.  Instead, he came silently into the world on October 23rd, at 28 weeks.

"Words cannot express the heartache one can feel in coming so close to having everything you could ever want, only for it to drastically change in the end. Words can also not express the peace, love and greater understanding which can come from soul altering events like this...

I have noticed a subtle whispering in my soul to be kinder, more patient and above all grateful for the amazing life we lead, trials and all. I realize not everyone has the opportunity to carry a child for any period of time, let alone give birth and hold that child in their arms. We feel blessed, watched over, cared for and above all overwhelmed by the love and support which has been manifested to us...

While at the hospital one of the nurses said, "hold tightly to one another". Even though we felt an endless amount of love for each other before, the mutual love and understanding we now have is one which will be forever be imprinted on our souls."  ~Lisette, Asher's mommy

Read more about the lessons Lisette has learned by clicking here.
Amongst other treasures in his memory box, Asher received a Teeny Tears diaper set through NILMDTS that had been created by our Northwestern Diaper Dreamers and a precious blanket from Minutes of Gold.  Bravely facing her grief head-on, Asher's mommy transformed her baby shower into a service project legacy for Asher. In memory of their son, Asher's parents decided to make layette sets for the angel families of Swedish Medical Center.   These layettes would include gowns, hats, blankets, and diapers.

"Several months ago we picked out a date for my baby shower. For the first time I would be the guest of honor instead of the hostess. I was really looking forward to a day to celebrate the upcoming arrival of our baby with friends. Flash forward a month, we were faced with the untimely passing of our son and I was asked if I wanted to cancel my baby shower or do something instead. After thinking long and hard about this, I eventually decided to proceed with a service project instead of a baby shower. Initially, I thought the easiest thing to do would be cancel the event, but I soon realized the more good brought about because of the passing of my child the better...

Several of my friends have struggled with what to say or do to help me, but in the end helping with their hands is what I will appreciate most. I am no longer grieving the loss of my baby shower, but excited for the opportunity to help a group of women fulfill a need they never knew existed...

Our first Service Night was a grand success. We had an excellent turn out and everyone worked hard well into the evening. I think it is safe to say an enjoyable time was had by all, but most importantly we were able to make some great headway on our donation goal... We decided to tackle diaper, hat, blanket and gown making all in one night. Whew! We quickly learned which projects are the most time consuming and did our best to divide and conquer given our individual skill sets. Almost everyone left with a project to take home and I know many hands will be busy over the coming months in Asher's behalf. I left that evening with a heart full of gratitude and a bag full of goodies to donate to other families in need."  ~Lisette 

Relief Society sisters in their congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rallied together for a second Service Night:

"It is with a full heart I want to express my sincere gratitude for all the sisters who came out to support me on our second Service Night. There are not many places you can rally forty women together from all walks of life who are ready and willing to roll up there sleeves and devote an evening to helping out. I also wanted to thank all of you who have diligently supported me over the past couple of months. I have not only been lifted up by your prayers, but amazed at your capacity to selflessly give. Service Night was Relief Society at its best and the gospel truly in action...

The items we have been working on are for celestial beings and will touch the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people. A blanket or a diaper might not seem like a big deal to you, but they will most likely become someone's most prized possession and one of only a few physical reminders their loved one was here on earth."  ~Lisette

Asher's daddy Cameron, Lisette, their friends, family, neighbors, and Relief Society sisters have donated 56 completed layette sets for the angel families of Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Washington, as well as 40 additional diapers sets.  A BIG thanks to all those that generously gave of their time, talents, and materials in the true spirit of the season for a special project in memory of the McKinley Family Christmas Angel.

You can follow the every day adventures of Asher's inspiring family on their blog!

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