Thursday, July 27, 2017

David Brian Ashton

David is my cousin, but like all my cousins on my mom's side of the family, he's nearly as close as my siblings. I've written about him here before -- actually, a couple of times.

My Ashton cousins, clockwise from left: Lisa, Jon, David and Tom.
As you might be able to discern from the photo, David is a complete goofball. He loves telling naughty jokes and laughing hysterically. He's always been a nurturing person; I suppose he picked up the trait from his mom, who was a registered nurse. He loves to cook and eat. He loves Madonna and belting out show tunes. He loves the Muppets, especially the fabulous Miss Piggy. He loves his family. He adores his nieces and nephews.

And he's been aware for some time now that he was born with a congenital heart defect.

For the last few years, David has been in and out of the hospital -- surgeries to replace his mitral valve, more surgeries to fix problems with the new valve, surgeries to install a pacemaker, etc., etc. Just recently he had a bout of pneumonia that was worse than he'd imagined, but things seemed to be clearing up.

On Monday, David went into work at the Pier 1 he manages. He put in a full day of work, finished up for the day, went out to the parking lot -- and suddenly collapsed. A co-worker saw him go down and called 911. The paramedics did everything they could, but they couldn't stabilize David's heartbeat, so they took him to the hospital. There the doctors tried numerous methods to get David's heart working again, but nothing worked.

David passed away around 9:30 that night. He had just turned 41.

David and little Miss V.
David and Miss V were very close, especially when she was young. He often took care of her, and she thought of him as her Uncle David (technically, they're first cousins once removed, but who's counting?). This has been hard for her; she wanted to tell him she loved him one more time.

Mormons don't really hew to the classic Protestant notion of heaven and hell; we do believe that when people die, their spirits go to a place called the spirit world. It's here on Earth, though perhaps not in the same dimension; we don't ordinarily see them, nor do they see us. So although I will miss David tremendously, I believe he is not that far away. I believe that when my time here is up, I will see him again. And I take great comfort in thinking about David being joyously reunited with his mom, his grandmas, and the other people he loved so much who had gone from his life. As my sister pointed out, if there's such a thing as food in the spirit world, they're all probably in the kitchen making casseroles right now (David loved casseroles, especially tuna casserole with peas and crushed potato chips).

Anyway, I'm making plans to drive out of state to attend his funeral, which is scheduled for this coming Monday. Lots of time with family, lots of stories about David, probably lots of laughing and crying. After all, as David would readily tell you, he was kind of a big deal.

No comments: