Ashley Canino, NY

Senior Writer

After college, Ashley simultaneously pursued a career in marketing and built a print and digital portfolio of interviews with subjects from varied disciplines and backgrounds. In spring 2015, Ashley left her management position in media research with a major television network to exclusively freelance write. She has published several essays and countless op/eds that are engaging and relatable, while being deeply personal. Currently, she is writing a memoir, The Hole in the Middle, that reflects on her complex relationship with her mother and late grandmother.

As a Story Terrace writer, Ashley interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

I Love You More

The chill of the nursing home pushed away the warmth of the summer sun. I rode the elevator up to my grandmother’s floor, preparing myself for what I might see–who she might be–on this day. The Alzheimer’s swung like a pendulum between the comfort of clarity and the isolating pain of forgetting. I had thus far escaped what everyone else in the family had already confronted; she always remembered me, even though it sometimes took a little bit of jostling. I settled into the thought of recognition warming her eyes and her cheeks and I committed to having a good day with her.

But it did end up being the visit I had dreaded. Over the next three hours of winding chatter, TV watching and snacking on her favorite junk foods, I begged her several times to remember me, her first grandchild. Sometimes she just stared and others she chuckled her new laugh, the one that was slightly more hollow, a space filler.

Tears and tension built behind my face, but I stayed outwardly positive for her sake. I’d thought our bond remarkable enough to overcome the insidious creep of dementia. Was she still my nana if she didn’t remember that I was the grandbaby she raised?

When I watched her in her wheelchair nodding to faint music on the radio, the only resident in the room who seemed to be aware of the crooner playing just for them, I caught a glance of her old self, the music lover. When I spilled chocolate milk all over my shirt she broke out into hysterical laughter and I saw the woman who searched for levity amid the difficulties in life. I felt again that maybe some things may persist, beyond the grasp of her disease.

By the time I had to leave, I was sure of it.

I wrapped my arms around her and whispered, “I love you.”

“I love you more,” she responded. Our phrase, the one she reserved only for me.

I pulled back and looked into her eyes and repeated the words I wished I hadn’t resisted saying as a teenager.

“I love you more,” she said again, her eyes dancing and playful, a wide smile on her face. She looked happy. A piece of her saw me and in doing so, helped me see her.

Get in touch today to work with Ashley!

Any questions?

Get in touch through our contact form!
We would love to hear from you.

Get in touch