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Musings on the eve of a book launch. Trigger Warning: Suicide.

Warning: I discuss suicidal ideation in the following post. Please feel free to exit now if this topic makes you feel triggered or uncomfortable.

Here I am, on the eve of my next book launch. My next book launch… how am I even in a place or position to get to say those words? Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find myself an author. An award-winning, bestselling, critically acclaimed author. Ok, maybe in my absolute wildest dreams I would have uttered those words, but certainly not in this reality – especially after the realities I’ve faced these last four years. To be honest, even though this book, The Ocean is Calling, has been a work in process for three years, and I’ve had plenty of time to process and think about what it will look like and feel like to get it out to the world, I didn’t expect to find myself this emotional about it. I’ve had to sit back these last few days and think about why I’m feeling this way and here’s the honest truth; I’m nervous for my kids to read this someday. I’ve struggled throughout the writing process of this book about what to include, what to cut... I sat talking to a friend of mind today for quite some time today about the writing process and how this book was more of an editing process than a writing process. I’d write something, get scared to admit it, and delete it. I’d write it a different way, get it in my head about it, and delete it. This book dives deep into the emotional distress of a pregnant widow. Not to spoil this “chapter” of my book for you, but there was a time in the early days of losing Brian where I was suicidal and came very close to removing myself from the depths of my grief. I was desperate to not feel this level of saddness anymore. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live in this intense pain. I thought if I could take myself – and my unborn baby – out of the equation, I wouldn’t be in this much pain anymore and my other two kids would be fine. In my grief-stricken mind, they had a terrible life ahead of them anyways, because I was never going to be able to feel joy again. I was never going to smile, they were never going to hear their mom laugh, or get to know the mom I was “supposed” to be before Brian died. That wasn’t fair to them. I was supposed to be a “fun” mom, full of adventure and joy, the mom who would bake cookies and holiday treats with them before heading out for a weekend of sailing as a family. When I was in the darkest of days, I knew they weren’t going to get that version of me, because that version of me didn’t exist anymore. It died along with Brian, and I and just like the life I’d shared with my husband, I understand it wouldn’t be coming back. I also didn’t want to burden anyone with a newborn baby to take care of since I was so clearly not in a position to take care of one myself, so there were moments, days and fleeting images of how suicide was the only thing I could think of to ease some of this pain and burden I felt. Whew. It’s been four full years since I last had those thoughts, and I can tell you – it’s still as painfully emotional to write about now. My poor Addy. My poor Izzy and Hudson, who won’t know until they are much older just how close they came to being orphans who lost their mom and dad within the span of a months time. The thing is – this is excruciating to write about. It’s embarrassing. It’s devastating and heartbreaking and probably shocking to some of you who have never experienced grief on a level where you couldn’t imagine living another day in that type of pain. I get it, and I understand if you’re not able to empathize with these feelings. I wouldn’t have been able to either before I experienced it myself.

And yet, here I am, alive, and choosing to write about it. The Ocean is Calling is a love story to my kids. It’s my love story to Addy, my miracle rainbow aloha baby, who beat all the odds with her broken mama, and has lived these last four years thriving and teaching me more about life than I’d learned in the 34 years prior. My kids are the most incredible, resilient, beautiful, funny, intelligent humans I will ever have the honor and privilege of knowing, and without knowing it, they saved their mama’s life. So, on the eve of it’s release, I find myself emotional. Not so much for all of you to read this, and think what you will, but for my kids to read it some day and to have this conversation about where we were, where we are now, and all the life we’ve lived in between. This is only one small moment I talk about in this new book, but it was definitely a defining one. You’ll also get to read about coming out of that dark place, of choosing life, of choosing love and family, of learning how to smile again – even if it looks a little different now. We aren’t religious people, so we had nothing to put our faith into, besides ourselves, and the understanding that we can do this. We leaned into those around us – you know who you are – and we’re grateful for your support and encouragement these last four years. This book celebrates love and life – the best way we know how - through travel, experience and education as a family!

The Ocean is Calling brings you into our life as we rebuild and relearn, you’ll join Izzy, Hudson, Addy and two of my dear friends and I as we embark on a two month healing journey through eight countries of Europe – each with significate ties to the ocean, and for very specific reasons. You’ll read about us climbing mountains, and returning to cities Brian had stepped foot on only a year prior. You’ll read about us visiting places of extreme mourning and suffering, before exploring abandoned islands and traveling by sailboat through the bluest waters on the planet. You’ll read about Addy taking her very first steps in Switzerland, Hudson getting potty trained in Amsterdam, Izzy celebrating her fifth birthday in a smelly old farm house. You’ll read about me taking my first dive after losing Brian in a diving accident and you’ll learn about a family who was completely broken, but is finding their way, moment by moment and experience by experience. We might not know how to do it, but we’re figuring it out – together. You can order your copy of ‘The Ocean is Calling’ at Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, or anywhere books are sold. You can also order on Amazon at: or a signed copy directly from Ashley at

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement to get this one out. I appreciate you all. <3

xo, Ash

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