When I met my lovely wife and best friend, Ashley Taylor Babiarz, she had a son named Ashton. Ashton Taylor was 7 years old when I met Ashley, and he was embroiled in a lifelong battle with Mitochondrial Disease. Energy is created at the cellular level in the mitochondria, the power plant of the cell. Mitochondrial disease is a degenerative condition brought about by failures of the cell’s mitochondria. When the mitochondria fail, less and less energy is generated in the cell. The result at the cellular level is cell injury and even cell death. When the process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems are compromised. Body parts that require the most energy such as the heart, brain, muscles, and lungs are often most compromised. Common symptoms include seizures, strokes, severe developmental delays, inability to walk, talk, see and digest food; among many other complications. This disease has no cure and can be fatal.
Over time, I fell in love with both Ashley and her son Ashton. Ashton taught me how to love. To love requires one to slow down and spend quality time with someone to show your love and friendship. Ashton taught me that process.
Tragically, Ashton passed away in November, 2007 due to complications from Mitochondrial Disease.
Most of all I remember Ashton for his heart, his strength; and all of the unconditional love that he gave to his mother Ashley and to me. Ashton was a fighter, and I will always remember him. He was a lover as well. This year (2017) for Valentine’s Day, Ashton delivered a rose to his mother Ashley on Valentine’s Day on the rosebush at his cemetery plot. It was the very first rose of the season, and it came on a perfect day.