If Only…

21 June 2020

Hello
I m A french girl who begin diving since one year and i just watched the documentary if only. I feel a lot of emotions watching it and now again. I just want to say you THANKS because i think it will be very useful for all diver to see that kind of video to avoid accident. I will remember it during dives which not work as normally they does. Thank you for your behaviour and have a good life with your children. They have a wonder mum !
Marie

5 June 2020

Hi Ashley, my name is Andrew Hunter, and I'm a diving instructor in Adelaide, South Australia. I just wanted to thank you for your courage in sharing Brian's story with all of us in "If Only ...". I met Gareth at OZTek in Sydney last year, and believe he is exploring one of the most important areas of discussion in the diving world today. We are all just 'humans in the system', and I believe strongly in the need to work towards a just culture to improve outcomes. This is something that I have the opportunity to contribute to in my own small way. But I believe it will be through many small steps by individuals, that this can be accomplished. "If Only ..." will be a valuable way to develop this discussion with my students, especially those training to be dive professionals. So thank you for your courage and resolve, and the positive impact that you will have within the dive community, in sharing Brian's story. Wishing all the best to you and your family.

29 May 2020

Hi Ashley, Nice to e-meet you. I just watched “If Only” and I’ve got to thank you for your courage in sharing Brian’s story. I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. I hope through instruction and mentorship of divers in the PNW I can help to stop these sort of things from happening. I’m relatively new to teaching myself but have had great influence from both Gareth and JP. I hope the experience of making the documentary wasn’t too hard or painful for you. I think it will definitely help save lives and again, I applaud you on your courage. I had a very scary technical dive not too long ago. I actually had my life flash before my eyes and thought “I am going to die” at 200’ with an hour of decompression ahead of me. It was a very traumatic experience and I’ve been processing it for months. Your story has helped me summon the courage to write about and share the event with the community. I’ve also initiated a proper debrief with all parties involved to gain some closure and learning from what happened. The experience also stripped away some of my passion for diving and I’m slowly getting reinvigorated to get back in the water and work with people to achieve their diving goals. Your story and strength gave me an extra kick in the ass to make it happen. I didn’t know Brian personally but I’m quite certain he would be incredibly proud of what you’re doing for the dive community. Your strength, honesty, and courage are truly inspiring. I hope to meet you for a dive and chat someday. Thank you!

29 May 2020

"I was talking about the story of your documentary the other day at the lake to a student. Another instructor overheard the story and she said she had just watched it as well. We all ended up talking about it for like 30 minutes. It made an impact on several new divers and instructors that day! That's how it happens man!" Slowly, slowly. One diver at a time. One instructor at a time.

23 May 2020

Ashley, Thank you for opening your heart to our community of divers. The message you and Gareth delivered on the anniversary of your husband's passing will save lives.. All the best to you and your family!

20 May 2020

Ashley. I just wanted to say thanks for putting that out. I know it was hard and I'm sure took a toll on you at times. I just watched it as I took the day off to prep for a class tomorrow. It was a good reminder to slow down and make sure that I have all my ducks in a row and that the students so as well. It was 2 weeks before his death that he contacted me about creating content for his website. I'll be thinking of this video as we gear up tomorrow. Thanks again and be well.

25 May 2020

This documentary is so many things...a valuable learning tool, spellbinding documentary, but mostly the story of human nature in all it's glory and frustrating pitfalls. I cry for the loss of Brian's dreams and future contributions and your family's immense loss of this wonderful being that was Brian. Just beautiful, Ashley

25 May 2020

Ashley, we have never met but I have been thinking of your story as my wife and I just gave our oldest (of 4) daughter away in marriage this past Friday. I want to say thank you for the leadership and vulnerability that you share in the wake of your husband's death. I came to know about you and your story through Ben Lair and Josh Rosen's story. (Josh and I dove together and I had to break the news of Josh's death to Anna the night it happened.) I appreciate the way you came alongside Anna and shared life with her! Since then, I have also come to know Gareth Locke and several others that are working, along with you, to hopefully change the technical diving community for good. Thank you, again, for sharing, leading, being vulnerable, honest and working to make good come out of tragedy!

25 May 2020

Although I’ve been retired from teaching scuba for 14 years, after having taught for 32 years, I still like to keep involved with the teaching community and water safety. Watching “If Only” on the “Scuba Accidents and Risk Management“ FaceBook page was very moving, and I couldn’t help but feel how difficult it was for you to share this heartbreaking, yet critical experience. Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo for giving so much of yourself. I know your courageous act helps remind me, and I’m sure others, to be aware of the danger of becoming complacent in our daily routines, and how we can apply these lessons to refine our way of thinking. I wish you the best as you continue moving forward in such a positive direction with your life. Mahalo and Aloha, Alan Hong

31 May 2020

I wanted to message you back when this all happened to thank you for having the courage to open up. I just watched the documentary that Locke made and had to reach out to you directly. I can't say anything to you that hasn't been said by my colleagues in the industry, but your courage and bravery through this is discussed often and has gone a long way to help our industry prevent tragedies like this

Tom Nelson

19 May 2020

Ashley, we have never met but I have been thinking of your story as my wife and I just gave our oldest (of 4) daughter away in marriage this past Friday. I want to say thank you for the leadership and vulnerability that you share in the wake of your husband's death. I came to know about you and your story through Ben Lair and Josh Rosen's story. (Josh and I dove together and I had to break the news of Josh's death to Anna the night it happened.) I appreciate the way you came alongside Anna and shared life with her! Since then, I have also come to know Gareth Locke and several others that are working, along with you, to hopefully change the technical diving community for good. Thank you, again, for sharing, leading, being vulnerable, honest and working to make good come out of tragedy!

James Riley

21 May 2020

Holy fuck that was heavy. Kinda makes me want to fly to the island and beat some ass... I don’t think that’s the intended message though... Tell you what, we get a little rushy and silly billy in AK some times and this serves as a reminder to me to say no to that shit. To take extra time to be safe. To get my check list in order and be thorough. I’m sure this was a tough project to work on. Can’t tell you how much I admire you and what your doing with your life. Thank you!”

20 May 2020

I hope this email finds you well and lockdown is keeping you safe and you are with family. I wanted to reach out and congratulate you on dealing with a horrible subject in such a compassionate and informative way. The short film was excellent, the industry has been crying out for some honest, insightful self inspection for years. Especially in tec and CCR diving. I for one moved quickly out of CCR diving around 2010, after 13 years of using CCR units for science. Helping write the CCR DSO manual for UC Davis and the national park service. As the recreational side of CCR grew and so did the cool aid drinking, self appointed experts. I thought “I am having none of this”. Ironically I may be getting back into using a unit for research again. Lockdown means I will eventually finish my human divers course and I am looking to offer your training here in La Paz and on my IDC courses and Tec courses.

Hui Hou Endorsements:

8 June 2020

There simply are not enough resources for navigating grief and loss. As a teacher, parent, and founder of an emotional wellness brand for children, I know this storyline will be a profound empathy-building resource for many families. A Hui Hou provides a unique perspective on losing a parent through the eyes of a child. Giving parents and children this resource in a time of grief will provide comfort to others experiencing similar thoughts and feelings, hopefully helping them to understand that they are not alone in feelings of sadness, confusion, and pain. As a teacher, this is incredible to share perspectives and build empathy for others that have experienced loss. 

Callie Christensen

co-founder of Slumberkins + Special Education Teacher

2 June 2020

"A Hui Hou is a heart and soul story. As a military spouse of 20 years and mother of 3 children, I cannot even begin to imagine what it'd feel like if my children lost their father. With honest and truthful narration, this book is sure to help children understand and cope with the loss of a loved one. A Hui Hou is a book that heals the soul." Holly C. Vega, 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year®

3 June 2020

"This comforting book is a perfect tool for opening up the conversation with children about loss and grief and gently explains, in the way that only a child can understand, what the experience of losing a parent feels like."

Patrice Karst, Bestselling Author of THE INVISIBLE STRING,THE INVISIBLE STRING WORKBOOK. THE INVISIBLE LEASH, THE INVISIBLE WEB

5 June 2020

“This thoughtful, heart-warming book is a welcome and much needed peer companion for young grieving children. Izzy, Hudson, and Addy share their experiences after their dadda dies in a diving accident. Gentle questions invite the reader into the story. The sweet ending provides closure while acknowledging that grief does not simply end. The children come to life in charming, warm illustrations. Readers will be reassured that whatever they feel is okay, and that they will get through it with the help of their new friends Izzy, Hudson, and Addy. Want to help a child deal with grief? Give this book.”

Jerilyn Marler, author of Lily Hates Goodbyes and Helping Your Young Child Cope with a Parent’s Deployment

15 June 2020

With its three main protagonists and narrators, all under the age of five, and told in their comforting, innocent, and reassuring voice, A Hui Hou is sure to help adults begin the important conversation of what death is and how to face it. By allowing children to share how they perceive death and how they are able to provide themselves with an explanation and understanding of what it is, this book finally fills a gap in children's literature. The exotic background of Hawaii is highlighted even more by the vivid and compelling illustrations that bring this children's book to a whole other level of expertise and enjoyment. Brunella Costagliola Award-winning author President of The Military Editor Agency, LLC

15 June 2020

Until We Meet Again is a poignant story about 3 young children – Isabel, Hudson and Adeline Bugge’ struggle to come-to-terms with the sudden death of their navy father, lost to a tragic diving accident. This book reminds us that as adults we view death through a very different lens than a child who loses a parent. Adults may struggle to answer the vexing questions that confront a child after such a loss. This book offers adults but more importantly those children who are thrust into this same world of sudden grief and loss, the rare opportunity to hear the kind and supportive voices of their peers. We are taken on this journey of the Bugge’ as they struggle to accept the raw realization that their dad who kissed them good-bye that morning will never return. This is a book written by children for children (but also adults) that offers genuine comfort and clarity for any child who must come to terms with the sudden death of a parent and the multitude of issues engendered by this terrible trauma.

Jerid M. Fisher, Ph.D., ABN

Licensed Psychologist

Diplomat, American Board of Professional Neuropsychology

From facebook DM:

Hi Ashley. I finished reading your article in the NGS Newsletter for June. It led me to your Facebook(s) and pre-ordering your book. I am also a military widow. Justin died by suicide 22 months ago, just 3 months after a horrific deployment and a traumatic experience while decomissioning the USS Enterprise. What a wild road it has been. I just wanted to take a moment to say, THANK YOU, for sharing your experiences and the journey you and your beautiful babies have walked. It gives me hope as I've just recently experienced a similar phenomenon of taking my first breath again and am looking forward (for once) at the life our girls and I will LIVE. Looking forward to reading your memoir! Thanks for being a encouragement and being so brave to share! Praying you and your babies are enjoying a beautiful morning! Hugs, Corcynthia

You, my friend have persevered. Your strength is amazing and I know you have struggled your way...but in No Way did this beat you. You are an amazing example for those babies and an inspiration to so many.

Anita.

I'm sure you have gone through so many emotions in your time. I on the other hand have been really emotional about your loss. Your story. I huge my kids my girlfriend everyday. Your stories on media with your kids are a encouragement for me as a father. I wanted to send you this song that just brought me to tears in so many emotions. I hope you can know that you are just an absolute warrior.

Matt

Always Coming Back Home (from Amazon)

8 June 2020

I have never read a book so contagious. As I couldn't put it down the moment I started it. Through triumph and tears, smiles and laughter I read each page. I learned the value of marriage and holding your husband close, as I too am a navy wife. I learned to live a life worth living and throwing away the bucket list and just being present in every moment. This book will have you in all the feels and its a great read. I can not wait to hopefully read more from Ashley, she has a wonderful way with each word she writes and you can feel everyone emotion she describes.

10 June 2020

Wow all I can say is WOW!!! You did an amazing job on this book. I laughed. I cried. I felt every feeling. What a beautifully written book. The bruetal honesty of your writing of your love and unimaginable pain. Im so glad you had the strength to do this. It needs to be a movie. No script could be more telling than this real life account of love and loss.

2 June 2020

I couldn't put it down. A beautiful love story, a tragic tale; Now I cant stop crying. Thank you for sharing the journey and the lessons.

5 June 2020

Always Coming Back Home is a fantastic book. I found myself engrossed in Ashley’s story as she takes us through her life with her husband, the tragedy of his death, and her renewed hope for the future. She tells an emotional story that left me feeling like I was there with her experiencing her life through her eyes. I found myself smiling, laughing, and crying as I read through their life together.
I would 100% recommend this book.

9 June 2020

This book packs a lot of love and living between the covers. Their time may have been cut short, but the life they lived and the love they shared will be something to be cherished for generations to come.

Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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