Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In Memoriam: A Sister's Life Lessons inspired by Ashley Ellen Goetz


One of the unanticipated fringe benefits of being a teacher: 
Sympathy prayers grow exponentially, to the power of students and their families.

This post is dedicated to my baby sister, Ashley Ellen Goetz, who died tragically in a car accident last Monday at the age of 26. She was an artist, a writer, a sometimes musician, a teacher, and above all, a wonderful sister. Her professional website will continue to be available at www.ashleyellen.com, where you can see some of her best works of poetry, creative writing, photography, strategic design, and mixed media art. Ashley leaves behind a rich legacy of creativity and life lived to its fullest.

Staff Writer Ben Storrow, at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, interviewed my family shortly after the accident, and wrote a wonderful article celebrating Ashley's life, and stating the known facts of her accident. You can read his article by clicking here.

I envision her last moments spent thinking, "Well, I couldn't have done any more with the time I was given!" and that is the biggest tribute I can give her. I'd bet money that she's LOVING the fact that she doesn't have to waste any more time sleeping, now that she has no corporeal need for it ;)

You've probably noticed that I haven't blogged for quite a while. Mostly because I've been wracking my brain trying to think of the appropriate words to remember her by. Then, I finally decided, I don't have to speak for her. She can do it herself. Please enjoy.

A Sister's Life Lessons
inspired by
Ashley Ellen Goetz

Silly faces are the universal language of childhood.

Sisters know how to make you feel beautiful. Even in big bangs and early 90's pastels. 

There's no need to spend money on Halloween costumes, when you have footie pajamas, face paint, and fake ears. 

Life seems to make more sense when you're surrounded by nature, hiking an unknown path, listening to the rush of the current.

Take time to feed the ducks.

Spend time with your grandparents. Listen to their stories. They actually know some things.

Everyone looks good in a giant sombrero.

It's never too cold to hit the slopes. Frozen toes and fingers = warm hearts.

There is no better feeling in the world than rubbing your face into the fur of a purring cat.

Sibling bonds cannot be broken by distance or time, no matter how much they annoyed you in childhood.

Know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to give it up and stick it to your face.

Take more pictures. Use real film. Aim the lens less. Stick it on a shelf for a few years before you develop it. You just might surprise yourself.

Travel the world. Learn a new language. Try a new food. And buy lots and lots of scarves.

Sniff babies as often possible before they lose that heavenly smell.

Who needs toys when you have your Auntie godmother's jewelry to play with? 

Everything is better with a pitcher of beer.

Always properly light your pictures.

And don't forget to smile.


  1. Your gorgeous tribute to Ashley has me in tears, Mandy.
    This is so beautiful. Ashley truly did do more in her twenty-six years than ten people could do in ten lifetimes. What a wonderful example of how to really live life. Thank you for sharing this and for teaching us so much.
    Thinking of you, Ashley and your entire family,
    Kirsten x

  2. What a beautiful tribute to your sister! I am so sorry for your loss. We will keep your family in our prayers as you celebrate her life.

  3. Awesome job Mandy! I didnt think I could cry much more as I have cried so much but I am in tears yet again. Ashley was so great and is going to be missed so much! Lots of love and we are thinking of you all, Dawn

  4. Sending you love & prayers! Wishing you all the best. You did an amazing job!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach