My name is Ashlee. I am a victim of murder. Through a series of events and by two shots of a gun, I was made a widow at the age of 28, with my youngest child just six weeks old. I am a victim of infidelity. I have felt unlovable. I have felt rejected. I have had days in my life when I wasn't sure if I would ever take a breath again, let alone be able to raise my five children by myself. I have lived in fear. I have felt much heartache. I have felt truly broken to my core. I have carried some heavy burdens...t only of my own, but burdens put upon my shoulders by the death of my husband. I have felt alone. I have felt humiliated. I have been humbled to my knees. I have searched my soul to find my worth in this world, and in the life that was left for me. My world has been totally shattered. I have faced realities I never knew were possible, and found strength within myself to keep up the fight and live every day as if it was on purpose. I have been carried by Angels...both earthly beings and those unseen. I have found that being a victim doesn't mean we have an excuse to stop living. Being a victim means finding a reason for seeking a higher road. I have picked up the pieces left and carried on. I am a mother. We are survivors. In one way or ather, we are all victims. There are times in our lives when we are forced to question who we are at our core. When we are presented with a path...we can go this way or we can choose that way. For some, this moment comes when the one person whom we love the most decides we are t eugh. This person leave us-at a most vulnerable moment-alone to search within ourselves for who we really are. We are left trying to find who it is that was left behind. Sometimes the person we love dies. Sometimes it is merely an internal battle we are facing...all alone inside our minds. Whatever the situation and wherever you have been...you have been hurt. You have felt alone. You have been abandoned, either by your parents, your lover, your friends, complete strangers, or even yourself. We have all been at that crossroad where all we have left is ourselves. Sometimes these moments of lows have brought you to your knees and caused you to reflect and ponder your relationship with God...and other times they have made you question if He is even there, or if He kws you are alone. Whatever that moment has been for you, it is personal and real. It has defined and refined who you are, who you think you were, and who you want to become. This is my story...the defining moments that have truly brought me to my knees, the times when I've questioned to my core my very existence, and the experiences I've had that have shown me who I really am and who my Heavenly Father still needs me to become. The night of my husband's death was my darkest hour, but also the very moment when I saw firsthand that my Heavenly Father sent Angels on errands for me. He carried me. It was the hour when all my fears and all the pain of this world collided together and He was there...putting back together all the pieces, one step at a time.
Education: I graduated in 2007 from Utah State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Family, Children, and Human Development. With a desire to help others struggling through their own difficult times, I never knew that my years of studying the human mind and relationships would provide the skills I later needed to pull my family through our own tragedy. A moment at a crossroad: In March 2011, I became a widow with five young children. The oldest were twin girls who were in kindergarten, and the youngest was just six weeks old. There was a time as their mother when I considered myself a parenting expert. In fact, I thought I should write a book about what I had learned to raise my children in the perfect manner. However, in the years that have followed their father's murder, my children have taught me more than I ever taught them to help them through their trials. Being their mother has been my strength. They each have given me a purpose and a reason to carry on. They have been angels to me. Courtroom Trial: In October 2012, I spent the majority of the month in a courtroom. The Rob Hall murder trial would end with a sentence of Second Degree Murder. Those weeks were heart-wrenching and nearly unbearable, but my desire to know all the facts kept me going back every single day. Sitting through the trial was extremely difficult, but it was also a major springboard for me to find a way to let go of my pain and move forward with my life. Dateline NBC: In January 2013, I made the decision to participate in an interview with Dateline NBC about Emmett's murder. I was interviewed for several hours. Those hours were empowering. For so long, I had only shared my side of the story with detectives and close family and friends. It felt good to show the world that this victim had a voice. They aired our story, Deadly Desire in May 2013. It was surreal watching myself on television telling a story that still seemed like a bad dream. Blog: Over two years after the death of my husband, I felt inspired to write about my experiences and feelings. At first, I didn't plan to share these experiences with anyone, but to gather them into a book for my children. After posting a segment I had written on my blog on Facebook to share with my friends, my story spread like wild fire. I soon realized that writing our past, which I had thought would only be to help my children and me heal, was also a story that gave others hope in their own lives. Darkness turned to light.