Spring and summer are filled with life, energy and color. Hope springs eternal, a chance for renewal, even redemption. After spring and summer, The petals fall off the flowers, our lush green leaves turn a beautiful golden brown in September, letting us know that their time to sparkle will soon come end. One by one the leaves lose their color, they wither on the branches and fall to the ground, to become part of the earth or atmosphere…a different shape, a different form.
Winter is darker, the days are shorter, the sunny days fewer. Color turns to monochrome. Grey, lonely days prevail, but comfort, warmth and color are found among friends and loved ones. We are gather around tables to share stories, a drink a meal and love. In November and December we are surrounded by trees with lights or candles other beautiful adornments signifying a certain holy time of year. Winter is a time of reflection. It is a time to look within, to look without and think about those who are in our lives and those who we loved and lost.
After winter, the first blooms start to appear in March and by April and May the leaves and flowers are back, just like we remember, like an old long lost friend who went away on a journey for the winter, only to come back and visit us in the new year. The flowers, the trees, the clouds all look like they did the year before and the year before that but the thing is they are not the same. They are new flowers, new leaves. They look and smell like they always did, but different and the trees and flowers bring us the same joy, a reset and rebirth. The trees, the flowers, the mountains are constantly changing. They will remain, long after we have departed. To me the turning of the seasons represent perpetual change, the circle of life and transformation, “There is no finish line.”
It has been said that to truly heal from the loss of someone that we love, we have to go through all of the seasons without their physical presence – the birthdays, the holidays, the anniversaries, family milestones. I have gone through many seasons after the loss of my mother. The pain and loss will always remain but it does not stop me. It fuels me.
I have gone through all of the seasons since Ashley Autumn Berg passed away the day after mothers day, last year on May 14. I will never forget that day and the moment I received a message from Ashley’s mother Heart: “Our beautiful sunshine girl has passed at 2:41 am. Her courageous fight is over, Peace God bless her and us.” Next to the losses of both of my mothers, this was one of the most deeply felt losses in my life. It is pretty amazing how someone can be in your life for a short period of time and make such an impact and alter your life forever. Ashley changed my life. I am not the same person that I was before I got to know her. Ashley taught me to love unconditionally and to bring that love to everyone. That is what I am doing through our film and sharing her story to do just that. This work is bigger than me, it is my calling.
Working on our film project, #WeRideWhy, I went through all the seasons with Ashley during the last year and a half of her life. She and I laughed, we cried, we shared, we comforted and inspired each other during the production of the film and during her fight. I knew when I started down this road with Ashley, that it could be an emotionally difficult journey. When Ashley passed away, I was lost for a while in terms of where to go with this project, she was a partner on this. We were supposed to celebrate the completion and release together. The end of the story that I had written for the film was not what I had written. When Ashley passed away, it made me look at everything about this project, the why, the what, the purpose.
What this film started out to be and what it will be is much different now and more powerful. #WeRideWhy It is a love story. It is about connection and how much we really need each other to get through this thing called life. It is a conversation. It is about the positive difference, that thousands of people can make when touched by tragedy and driven by love.
My mom and Ashley are the heart and soul of the film Ashley is was and continues to be a collaborator. I feel her love, I feel her presence and hear her and my mom’s voice encouraging me to ride, on, tell this story so thousands can be lifted up, touched moved and inspired.
Jason and I started the post production process earlier this year. It is going to take several months complete the film. The editing process is very meticulous, we need continue to craft and fine tune the story, there is still a lot of writing to be done, there is Voice Over work to come from our friend Michael “Wanz” Wansley, there is music to select and of course our Music Supervisor and Andrew Joslyn and his brilliant music must be put together with everything else.
Good enough is not good enough for any of us. My mother, Judy Roth, Jenny George and Ashley, Fred Hutch Obliteride and the thousands who ride to raise money to cure cancer deserve the best that we are able to deliver and that is what they shall have. That is what YOU shall have. It is now not just about my mom, Jenny and Ashley. This is about Piper and Ashley’s family. They are the inspiration of this movie. We are committed to making a document of something that Ashley’s family can be proud of and hold in their hearts, to celebrate Ashley’s life.
So, here is what is next. Jason and I will keep our promise and have the film complete by the end of 2019. We will have small private test screenings and then post test-screening editing sessions to get to the final cut. We will have private screenings early in the year and be ready for festivals like Seattle International Film Festival, Sundance and many more. We will also host a premier and music even in Spring 2020. We will keep on hammering until we get to the top of the climb.
There is much to do between now and then. Jason and I will be heads down, hammering away. In the meantime, we will be releasing some bonus content and behind the scenes content every month so that you can see our progress and get a little taste of the film and look inside.
Our first piece we are releasing was shot up at Discovery Park / Fort Lawton in October 2018. It was chilly and overcast day. Ashley was not feeling well that day so her coming out to help drive the vehicle while her daughter Piper shot out the back and side windows, was a big deal. We got some amazing footage that day. Also, I shot some beautiful photos of the two of them. It was one of the most special days of my life. I wanted so many more of those days but it was not to be. That day would be the last time I would see Ashley and Piper together. I am so blessed to have shared that day with the both of them. Every time I see the sun on a beautiful day, I see Ashley, the sunshine girl.
To help cure cancer in our lifetime, you can make a donation on Ashley’s behalf or join our team to walk run or ride to help #CureCancerFaster. GO HERE.
…There is no finish line