Monday, December 6, 2010

Mixed Emotions

This past week...Owen and I traveled all the way to Tulum, Mexico... something that I never thought I would get to do. The weather was beautiful... the sand and the ocean were amazing... and the resort was perfect. I got to shut out the world for one whole week and just spend time with my family and with my son.

Owen was completely in his element and had the time of his life. It was nice to be able to listen to his giggle... see his silly little smirk... and watch the wheels in his brain turn as he experienced new things. For one week, I was able to try to escape reality and spend time in paradise with my perfect little Owey (that is what he calls himself now).

While we were in Mexico, Owen got to swim with the dolphins, chase lizards (he called them kitties), touch a monkey (which he did not like too much because he stole his nuk), swim in the ocean and play in the sand. He loved every minute of it and did not want to leave. After grieving the loss of Bryan this past year, it was nice to be able to escape with my family and laugh for a few days.

My cousin Tiffany married her best friend and soul mate, Nathan, on December 1st, 2010 on the beach in Tulum. It was a beautiful day and an amazing ceremony. I was honored to be able to stand by their side and witness their love and commitment to one another. Although I was grateful to be there for their special day... I cannot say that it was easy.

Earlier this year I agreed to let Tiffany and Nate use the same wedding vows that Bryan and I used when we got married on September 22, 2007. Hearing those words again brought back a flood of emotions that I did not even know I had.

I could not help but picture Bryan's face and the tears that filled the corners of his eyes when he promised to be my friend and life partner.

I could not help but see his perfect smile as he committed his life and love to me.

It was hard.... IT WAS VERY HARD.

In order to compose myself and hold back my emotions, I had to turn to the ocean and concentrate on anything... anything but Bryan... anything but our vows. So, I thought about Owen playing in the sand and destroying his wedding flowers. I thought about how sun burnt my back was and how I wanted to take a picture of the palm tree off to my right. I literally thought about anything and everything... just so I could stop crying. Just so I could stop seeing his face.

Bryan and I were never able to go on a honeymoon. We were married right out of college and did not have enough money, so we decided to go to Ireland on our tenth anniversary. When Nathan and Tiffany planned to have their wedding in Mexico my cousin and parents decided to try to make Mexico our late honeymoon... the first vacation that we had ever taken alone together. Instead, I spent what was supposed to be our "make shift honeymoon" alone and without Bryan.

I could not help but think that while everyone was spending time with their significant others and having a great vacation... I was alone and without the one person that I wanted so desperately to be with.

It was hard to sit alone in my hotel room at night while Owen slept knowing that everyone was out drinking and having a good time. I could not help but think of how much fun I would be having if Bryan were there with me. We would be ordering room service and watching a movie on tv.... or sleeping out in the hammock on the patio... or giggling over all the silly things Owen had done earlier that day.


Although Mexico was difficult for me and I felt (at times) lonelier than ever before... I am so glad that I got to spend 8 amazing days with my family. Owen and I got to experience something that most people never get to do. We got to spend a week in paradise... We got to be together.

Deep down I know that Bryan was there with us. He was helping Owen be brave when he swam with the dolphins. He was holding my hand when our vows were read. He was giving Tiffany a kiss on the cheek as my mom passed her off to Nathen. He was telling me he loved me when I walked down the beach alone and depressed.

He was there. He was with me.

Here are our wedding vows....

I take you, Ashley, to be my wife
as my friend and my love.
Throughout the years I shall cherish you and trust you.
Be honest with you
and faithful to you.
In both joy and sorrow
I shall hold you close and tell you that I love you.
Our place shall be one place
our life one life
our love one love.
For I shall share with you all that I have and all that I am.


  1. This is beautiful Ashley, I'm reading you in Ireland, wishing you got your visit here and sending you my sympathies on the loss of your soul mate.. I wish you didn't have this heartbreak,that Bryans time was not cut short, but I am so glad that you have Owen, a very special link always between your hearts. He is so adorable, keep strong for your boy and for you. I hope your days get easier and Bryans presence never leaves your side. Juls x

  2. Since you and Bryan don't get the chance to go to Ireland in 10 years, you should take Owen to Ireland as a way to remember Bryan!

    Even though it was hard for you, I'm glad you still had some fun in Mexico. You deserve to be happy and have fun Ashley.

  3. Oh, honey, you got me crying. What beautiful, beautiful vows and how amazingly brave and giving of you to share them with others. Bryan was indeed there, in so so many ways.

  4. Beautiful post. I wish you peace this holiday season. I know it will be difficult, to say the least.

  5. Oh Ashley, out of all of your posts, this one brought the most tears to my eyes. My heart simply breaks for you but I'm glad you were able to escape reality for just a bit. Owen is so lucky to have you even when you feel inadequate. I found your blog through Jen and will be in her wedding in July. I would LOVE to meet you and give you a hug. Thinking of you and crying with you at times :)

  6. I very much like how Julie put that Owen is a link to both your hearts; a very powerful thought. I didn't know about your 10 year Ireland plan, and who knows where we'll all be in 10 years, but Bob, Bren and I would love to be you and O's travel buddies. Bren will be 20 - whoa! How great would it be to hike, sea the ocean, and visit pubs?!?

    I wanted to send you a song. Technically these guys are from West London, but still, they sound Irishy.