State News

Teen remembered for life she lived before fatal wreck

Posted October 8

— The Ascencion family sits together in a relative's living room, chattering and laughing amiably with one another as they swap funny stories and touching anecdotes, about their loved one, Anna Ascencion. Tabitha Ascencion's eyes light up as she describes her daughter's passion and strong will. But then her breath catches in her throat, blocking the stories and memories from escaping as she remembers that the family must now cope with Anna Ascencion's sudden and tragic absence.

On Sept. 21, a mere three weeks after Anna Ascencion's 17th birthday, her and her long-time boyfriend, 19-year-old Cameron Hedrick, were on their way to attend class at Central Davidson High School when a Pontiac Grand Prix veered left of center and crashed into their car, fatally injuring the couple. This unexpected and inexplicable tragedy forced the close knit Ascencion family to pull together after the heartbreak left a gaping hole in the fabric of their lives.

Looking back on her daughter's life, Tabitha Ascencion easily pinpointed the parts of Anna Ascencion's world that meant the most to her.

"Cameron, animals and (her nephew) Jackson - that was her life, what she revolved her world around," Tabitha Ascencion said.

Tabitha Ascencion described the teens' relationship as incredibly loving. She said she was fond of Cameron and appreciated the high level of respect he had for daughter and her family.

"They were so in love. They were stuck together like glue and (Cameron) was very, very respectful," Tabitha Ascencion said. "He knew she had a curfew and stuck to it and if they were in traffic or something and thought they were going to be late he would call and let us know."

Anna Ascencion and Hedrick met in the exceptional children's program at CDHS. Anna Ascencion was regarded as educationally delayed, and the EC classes helped to teach her how to live independently. They also allowed Anna Ascencion to blossom in her own way, attracting friends who understood her and actively participating in after school activities such as cheerleading for the Special Olympics for three consecutive years.

Anna Ascencion even competed in a cheerleading competition this year in Raleigh. Tabitha Ascencion explained it was the first time Anna had ever spent a night away from her family, though she joked that they were in a motel very close by.

"She had always wanted to be a cheerleader and when we found out that she could do it through the Special Olympics she was so excited," Tabitha Ascencion said. "She was really excited. She ever missed a practice. She was always there on time."

The perseverance and dedication Anna Ascencion displayed was not strictly limited to cheerleading; she was equally committed to her education. Her family explained she was looking forward to graduating high school and attending Davidson County Community College alongside Hedrick.

"(Anna) was looking forward to graduation. She wanted to graduate and go to college," Tabitha Ascencion said. "She wanted to finish school and further her education; even though she was delayed, she wanted to keep going as far as she could. Nothing stood in her way."

Anna Ascencion planned on becoming a vet, due to her passion for helping animals. Anna Ascencion's grandmother Patricia Lawson said her granddaughter had three guinea pigs that she lovingly referred to as "her boys." Her family even planned on getting her a German Shepard puppy for her 18th birthday, but that plan, like so many others, will never come to fruition.

Lawson explained Anna Ascencion's compassion extended far beyond animals. She said her granddaughter was always deeply concerned about the well-being of her family and of everyone around her.

"Anywhere she went, she put a smile on everyone's face," Lawson said. "She was just happy. She could go somewhere and someone could be sad and she would do everything she could to cheer them up to keep everybody happy. That's just the way she was."

Tabitha Ascencion explained that she and her daughter were very close and the hardest part about the grieving process is that she must now carry out their daily routine without her daughter by her side.

"It's real hard. I keep waiting for her to walk down the hall or just walk into the room and talk to you. I just keep expecting her to be in the house," Tabitha Ascencion said.

Despite the pain that she is going through, Tabitha Ascencion said in the end, she takes comfort in knowing that her daughter is safe in heaven, alongside her family and Hedrick. She said she and Anna Ascencion were saved the Sunday before the accident occurred. Afterwards, Anna Ascencion looked at her mother and explained she had felt a deep pull towards the pulpit, and that she felt God speak to her.

"She said God was talking to her and I told her when he talks you need to listen. You may not get that chance again," Tabitha Ascencion said. "So I feel blessed that I at least know where she is at and I know that I will eventually see her again."


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