About Ashton

The Memorial

Four days after Ashton's death we held a memorial service at the house; the place Ashton loved best. Ten acres of pasture and woods. Trees we had planted near the house. A maple upon which he would place a bell when one of his birds died. A garden. Dogs, cats, a horse, fish, and, of course, his Mustang convertible. Ashton's two brothers, father, and a host of friends attended.

One of Ashton's brothers suffered a stroke at our home one year earlier. He is quite depilitated and Ashton would drive six hours across state to check on him once or twice a month. T-Boy and I held each other as he wept. He was unable to express himself well verbally, but I could see the agony in his eyes.

We moved a large table outside, on top of which we placed three huge, very heavy, flower arrangements. In front of the arrangements was Ashton's photograph. It was very hot. Not even a breeze. Everyone was perspiring as they sat on chairs and on the lawn. The minister moved in front of the table for the eulogy. Suddenly, a huge gust of wind came and knocked over all three baskets of flowers at once -- on top of Ashton's photograph.

There was complete silence. Stunned faces.

I rushed to retrieve the photo and sat down holding it to my heart.

After the eulogy people "socialized" and ate food. The atmosphere was quiet -- somber. Even the men were crying. And then my son Noah's band began to play.

Noah had written a song for his dad; it was Ashton's favorite. And so, on this day, he named the song "Crash", which was Ashton's nickname, and announced the band name had also been changed to "Crash".

Ashton loved music and playing the guitar. He would go to clubs and watch Noah's band play, filled with pride that his son was such an accomplished musician. Indeed, Ashton told me he secretly yearned to be part of the band. He would spend hours with the band when they practiced at the house.

It was only fitting on this day that Ashton's photo be placed "On stage" with the band, and it was. And his son played "Crash", the most hauntingly beautiful instrumental I've ever heard.

Friends and family were mesmerized. No one talked. Everyone listened. Crying.

Later, the band broke into a Lynard Skynard song. "Three Steps". Suddenly, everyone got to their feet and started dancing, laughing, grinning, including his brother T-boy who, with halting footsteps, joined in the celebration. Ashton was telling us, "Dance for me." And we did.

When I thought I would never feel joy or smile again, I kicked off my shoes and danced -- passed from person to person, twirled and spun, laughing and smiling.

All of us were certain that Ashton was there. The joy was overwhelming. Consuming. All of us knew that his spirit had moved us.

We placed a bell for Ashton on the Maple tree.