Angels around us, angels beside us, angels within us.
Angels are watching over you when
times are good or stressed.
Their wings wrap gently around you,
whispering you are love and blessed."
Ashley Van Zant
I've been working with Shands Hospital for the last couple of years in connection with the Guild of the Christ Child. They have a program called Little Miracles. Every few months I'll load up my car with shoebox layettes and take them down to my friend Ashley Van Zant. It's a toss up which I love more, seeing the shoeboxes wrapped in baby colors ready to be given to moms who might not even have a onesie to take their newborn home in. Or visiting with Ashley.
Even a few minutes with Ashley is like taking a double dose of feel better medicine. She's one of those people who, even when she's having a hard time (and believe me she's had some hard times lately), she makes you feel like you are the only person in the world and you can take up as much of her time as you need. That's what she brings to the bedside of each of her patients.
Ashley is a nurse. But she's much more than just a nurse. I can't name them all, but there are lots more letters behind her name than just RN. More than that I think she is one of those angels God sends down to walk among some of the neediest people here on earth. And here's the neat thing, she loves her job. How many people do you know that can say that? "
"I feel honored to be able to do what I truly love and have a passion for and get paid to do it."
Supposedly she is only a part-timer but ask her husband about that and he'd have to disagree. She admits she rarely gets home until hours after her normal quitting time. Ashley's side of the maternity ward is not always the happy side. Some days she spends her extra time just lending an ear or a shoulder to mom's who are waiting to have their babies, or mom's who have lost their babies.
"My dedication and compassion is to those that may be encountering financial, health care issues, or infant health problems, along with other issues, some feel like they have no one there, even to talk to, much less confide in!"
Ashley has an office that's not much bigger than a large closet. It is full of books, pictures, baby gifts and a collection of angels. Co-worker, Charlene Brazeale, told me "it has been a pleasure working with Ashley throughout the years. She is a joy, to come to work with every day. She always has a smile no matter what the situation, has always been their for her patients - 100%." I suspect everyone who works with Ashley would say the same thing.
I don't get to see Ashley as often as I'd like to. But every time we get together I feel like I've been touched by an angel.
Today I'm grateful for people who go above and beyond what is expected of them.
Wishing an angel to watch over you,
P.S. The little Miracles Program was started in 2000 in response to the high infant mortality rate in Duval County. Since it began, Little Miracles has assisted over 30,000 mothers.