07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Friday, November 4, 2016

Ashley's First Love

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

The Gift of Christmas Anthology, published by Windtree Press, contains one of my short stories “First Love”. The story of Ashley Carlyle’s romance  with Arthur Kenner. “First Love” is also the prequel to “Ashley” the fourth book in my Sacred Women’s Circle Series.

Spoiler alert: Art and Ashley do not live happily ever after.

What is it that happens in relationships that have such promise?

Why are life’s bumps in the road so challenging that some people no longer honor their wedding vows?
I wish I had THE answer.

What I do know is that it depends on many things. In Ashley’s case, when she has a recurrence of breast cancer, Art is unable or unwilling to stay.

Why do I say unable or unwilling? Because for me there is truth in those words. Some of life’s events are such that we are unwilling to hang in there and others are so overwhelming we aren’t able.

There is a belief that God never gives us more than we can handle.

There is a belief that all is happening as it is meant to.

Both are beliefs that can carry us through the darkness that is a part of everyone’s life.

Art decides the “in sickness and in health” part of his wedding vows did not include two bouts with breast cancer.

Some of you may read that and think that’s awful. Not that I’m defending his choices but I do know that there are many Arts out there. I know this because when I talk to readers about my books, some women just walk away, some stiffen and nod in acknowledgement. Some women have said “Been there, done that” or “This hits too close to home.”

Ashley has the support of The Circle as she battles recurrent breast cancer and a bitter custodial battle. How could anyone ever truly love someone like her – no longer beautiful, no longer young and with three young children? Since I write romance, you know there is someone who can and does but the other side of the issue is Ashley, herself. What does she have to learn in order to accept the unconditional love offered to her?

The first five books of The Sacred Women’s Circle series are available at major e-retailers.

You can learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow me on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

I’m also on Facebook


Linda Lovely said...

Judith, you raise some tough questions. The "unable" part can apply to relationships other than male-female. I've known people that could not visit a parent after dementia set in. It tore them up emotionally so they quit visiting as a self-defense mechanism. Not saying it's right or wrong. Some people can't handle physical pain. Others can't handle emotional pain.

Judith Ashley said...

You are right, Linda. When my dad was sick, one of my brothers could help with caring giving and my other brother couldn't. He did other things that helped overall but helping his dad get out of bed and go to the bathroom just wasn't one of them. There is no right or wrong here. I started a Parent's Without Partner's chapter in Portland back in the early 70's. There were any number of men who attended meetings and events but did not interact with their children for a number of reasons. I came to realize that it wasn't that they didn't love their kids or miss them but there were other issues that kept them away.

Robin Weaver, Author said...

Great post, Judith. Dealing with a love one's cancer is very hard, although I can't imagine "not" dealing with it. Looking forward to reading Ashley's story.

Judith Ashley said...

I agree, Robin. I know from personal experience there are "Art's" in the world. But, I also know there are people who show up for others. I've been a guardian and care manager and have sat with people in their final hours. In some ways that was easier than to "be there" for my dad, mom and brother. But we are all human and we have our weaknesses and foibles.

Diana McCollum said...

Caring for the sick or dying is very hard both physically and emotionally. My Mother-In-law dies from a horrible cancer. Dad kept her at home in a hospital bed. We'd go to see her and it would tear my husband up. We usually stayed with them, and one day Mom-in-law said I don't want any company go home. Home was 3 1/2 hrs away and my husband cried the whole way. He felt rejected because he wanted to help Dad. We didn't go back again, till she passed away.

Judith Ashley said...

One of the reasons we have funerals and memorial services is for the living not for the person who has passed. It is hard to accept we aren't wanted at these challenging and difficult times. I sometimes wonder if I'll be the person who waits until she is alone before taking my final breath or not. My friend who recently died was afraid of being alone when she died. She wasn't. Her husband stayed beside her. Another woman who is a friend of my friend, died ten minutes after everyone left the room. They'd been there for hours and hours and planned to be gone less than thirty minutes.

Because of my work as a guardian, private geriatric care manager and social service provider to seniors, I have learned that my final gift to my clients is to support them in dying the way they want. Not always easy.