Monday, October 6, 2008


This morning a wave of guilt passed through me as I finally took note of the date. We lost our sweet Rhionna a year ago on the 4th. I let this day pass without ever realizing or calling Justin and Alisha to give them my love and support. With all that has been going on I really have lost time. I want to take this time now to remember Rhionna and the sweet blessing she has been to our family.

I remember clearly getting ready to run a bath for Gage when Justin texted me and asked if I minded him bringing his "friend" Alisha and her daughter to Gage's 1st Birthday party. Of course I didn't me THE MORE THE MERRIER! The days leading up to his party I have to say my curiosity was getting the best of me. Who was Alisha? How old was her baby? I had already heard from my mom that she was a cutie, so of course I wanted to make my own evaluation. I met Rhionna on June 16th 2007. She was adorable and chubby to boot! I remember pulling out pictures of Gage for Alisha to see how big and round he was too. From the beginning we bonded on our love for chubby babies! I was already attached to this little cutie and really enjoyed getting to know Alisha as well. As they were getting ready to leave my house, I gave Justin a hug and told him {being the nosey sister that I am} "I REALLY like them! You have my permission to marry her!" ha ha
It wasn't long before I was at the Snowflake temple with them, taking pictures for their wedding announcements!

Even from the first day I met them, I could see how proud Justin was of Rhionna. He was a doting daddy to say the least! I loved to see him so happy with his new family! And I was thrilled to finally join the rankings of aunt-hood!

Rhionna was such a good baby! On nights we would all get together at our house, Justin and Alisha would rock her to sleep and lay her on our bed. She would sleep so peacefully the rest of the night. I hardly ever heard her upset, she was just so mild tempered. Before Justin and Alisha got married, her and Rhionna made a trip to the valley with Gage and I and my sister Amber and her friend. She was content to be in her car seat the whole trip. The only crying I recall was on account of my curious and rambunctious 1 year old. He wanted to reach her from his car seat so badly that he finally let out a scream and that as you can imagine startled peaceful little Rhionna big time! Gage was so fascinated by his new cousin!

I was only able to know Rhionna for 3 1/2 of her almost 6 months of life. I am so honored to have known her though. I truly feel that her mission for this life was fulfilled and she was called home to be with her Heavenly Father. She really was the force that brought Justin and Alisha to meet and become a family. It is so sweet to hear Alisha talk about how much she needed Rhionna and how Rhionna helped to save her. It reminds me of a quote that I love.

"When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."

When I remember Rhionna, I don't just picture that fragile little baby girl, I picture strength. My last hours spent with Rhionna were in the tiny little room in PCH. Matt and I were blessed to get to visit her before she passed on to our Heavenly Father. We stood next to her side and touched her and prayed for her and talked to her. I felt peace in knowing that whatever was to happen with this sweet niece of ours, she would be okay. I badly wanted her to stay with us, but could not be unhappy knowing what awaited her on the other side.

We were headed down the freeway in Phoenix when I received the call from my mom that Rhionna had left us. My heart broke for my loss, my family's loss and more than anything, Alisha and Justin's loss. But it rejoiced in the knowledge that Rhionna was at peace and away from the pains of this world.

Rhionna looked nothing less that perfect in her frilly white dress in that tiny casket. Her parents were heart broken and strong. It was a difficult day and every day since has been painful as we long to have her back in our arms. How grateful we are for our Heavenly Father's plan and our Savior's sacrifice. There is a peace found there, that nothing from this world can offer us.

Rhionna now has a sweet baby brother. Aiden Alan Butler is a beautiful baby boy who reminds us of our Father's tenderness towards us. How thankful I am for Justin and Alisha to have their sweet baby boy to hold and love on through this difficult time.

I miss you and love you Rhionna. I have so much gratitude for your life and the way that it touched mine. I look forward to the days ahead when you will be reunited with your family who loves you so much.

All My Love Forever,
Auntie Ash


Fullerton Family said...

That was such a sweet tribute, Ash. I also didn't even remember what date it was and I even saw Justin on the 4th. Dang it.

Yeah, TMobile is no good, my phone hardly ever receivs calls. Um, I guess I need a 12 month sized bracelet, whatever that is... if you need me to measure, let me know.

Love ya!

Nathan and Toni Southam said...

Ashley Marie, I am so jealous of your trip to California! I didn't realize you guys were going! I can't believe how much your boys look alike! They are too cute. Anyways, it's funny because I only met Rhionna once but it completely broke my heart when I had heard what happened. Just that one meeting, and she really touched my heart. She was such a sweet sweet baby and you are right, so good! I don't think she cried once when we were all toghether! Anyways, hope all is well. Love ya!

Nathan and Toni Southam said...

Oops, I wrote together wrong!

Dana said...

So precious Ashley! <3 Mom

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