The Accident

So many of you don’t know the story of what happened to us a few years ago so I am going to tell you.

In 2012 Brad, Woodson and I were leaving my parents home in Wimberly-the hill country of Texas. At the time we lived in Austin. I pushed Brad to leave Marietta, his office, his house, his son so that I could be in Texas. Close to my family and friends. I so badly wanted to raise my kids in Texas and we thought Lane would move eventually (wishful thinking) but it never happened. It became more and more difficult to see him and Brad was very depressed-understandably. We started a business that I loved and I received many accolades, but I never made a dollar-I lost all the dollars because I am a terrible business woman.  We were under high stress even though we both really did love Austin and the house we were renting.  We lived on the most perfect street with the most incredible  neighbors. I made new friends in creative industries and was able to spend time with old friends as well. But we were essentially broken, and broke.  Things had to change. Then they did-in a BIG way.

As we drove the windy roads back to Austin I was reclining in my seat, exhausted from a whirlwind trip to Houston with BHLDN. I remember Brad shouting “FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!” and him trying to swerve to the right but there was nowhere to go. The truck hit us at 60 miles per hour-120 miles per hour worth of force. I remember the sound of the trucks colliding.  I remember spitting out my teeth into my hand. I remember handing Brad the phone telling him to call my mom and tell her we had been in an accident. I was alert and my vitals were good, but I was bleeding on the inside and my back was broken. I remember Woodson in the back seat screaming. I remember not being able to turn to see him because of the pain.

We were lucky in many ways that day. The first person to the scene was an off duty EMT-he was also a groom heading down the altar later that day. His on duty EMT friends had just left the wedding venue which was about 45 minutes outside Austin. They arrived in minutes, got us all into the ambulance and rushed us to Brackenridge Hospital. My ribs were broken, my T-12 was crushed, my aorta and spleen torn, and my duodenum torn. I was in bad shape. And the doctors didn’t know what to do with me-what to fix first. But they figured it out. I was in the hospital for 14 days. I have never felt so totally exposed in my life. I have always been open and feel I have many inspirational stories to tell, but this one, well I feel like I was saved for a reason.

I wore a brace for 7 months. I could not hold my baby for 7 months. I could not do much of anything during this time, even though I tried. I took lots of drugs. Brad had to help me shower. It changed me.  Forever.  It has also had a last effect on my entire family. Most nights I am in bed before 8 because my back hurts so bad I can’t deal with the reality of life. I tried to stop taking medication but realized I am a nicer and better person/mother/wife when I take them. I suffer from chronic pain daily.

All of this being said I want to tell you the good that has come from all of this:

In the process of healing, I also found my joy. My family, of course, is number one. Flowers and my love of beauty are a close second. I was surrounded by so much pain, and could no longer work as a large-scale installation florist like I had in the past. My body was broken, but I continued to arrange flowers. I studied the flowers in the hospital room and healed myself in the time off by arranging and photographing flowers that Brad and the kids would bring to me once I was home. AWB and all it is now, is thanks in many ways to this entirely life altering day.
I am a stronger person. I believe in me and what I am doing. Sure there are days of self-doubt, but I am brave enough to keep going.

I realized what was most important-family. Not being on the best blog or being published or being hired by the wealthiest client. We moved back to Georgia once I was strong enough to do it. It killed me to leave Austin-I sobbed. I threw a fit. But I knew we were making the right decision. I miss my parents everyday and wish they were closer but I am happy that Brad is happy. And I am happy that the kids can know each other a little better.

I have met some of the most wonderful people/friends in this process. They are supportive, smart, creative, loving, helpful and just all around great for all of us.

I have found my passion.

We are putting down roots. Our own roots. Outside of what anyone else wants or expects from us. I am finally feeling at home here.

Brad is more confident in every single way.

There you have it-in my open book sort of way.  I really do hope my stories inspire you and help you along the way.  One day I would love to stand in front of hundreds of people and tell them that anything is truly possible and you can survive great obstacles.  We are brought into this world with the ability to jump hurdles, and jump hurdles I have. And will continue to do so until I can no longer move.

Love you lots.
xo,
Ash
Photos by my dear friend Brooke Schwab and Meghan Kay Sadler.

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