ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton has written a new book about her husband’s decision to take his own life back in February 2017. The book is called Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort & Community After Unthinkable Loss. It documents her life after the suicide, sharing the story of how she and her family were able to deal with the sudden loss.
The book was written in hopes of helping others going through a similar tragedy. At the time of his suicide, Jennifer Ashton and Rob were divorced, but he was still the father of the couple’s two teenage children, Chloe and Alex.
“Unfortunately, when suicide hit my family in 2017, I perceived this tragedy as the quintessential example of all of those negative traits — and I obviously realize that I couldn’t have been more wrong. But still, even though I knew rationally that losing a loved one to suicide does not make the survivor weak or a failure in any way, emotionally, I felt otherwise,” Ashton writes in an article for ABC News.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton’s ex-husband was Dr. Robert C. Ashton Jr. He was 52 years old and was a thoracic surgeon. He took his own life in February 2017 when police say he jumped off the George Washington bridge.
Rob Ashton left a note for whoever learned about his suicide first, asking the person to “call my wife” along with her number. His body was found shortly after he jumped near the Palisades Interstate Park along the Hudson River.
Shortly after his suicide, Jennifer shared a post on Instagram, where she shared the news with her followers.
View this post on Instagram
Our hearts r broken that the father of my teenage children took his own life yesterday. As an MD he helped so many and we will remember his warmth generosity and kindness. We know that many families struggle everyday with depression while others like us don’t have any warning. We hope by sharing some of Rob’s story it will save others the heartache we feel. You are never alone Pls get help. May Rob Rest In Peace, forever in our hearts.
The two divorced amicably and co-parented their two children.
“I learned that grief is an expression of love, and that pain is a part of life, but suffering is optional,” Jennifer points out in her article for ABC News, adding, “I discovered that talking about my feelings of weakness, failure and guilt actually allowed me to feel free from the façade of perfection for the first time ever.”
Proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to Vibrant Emotional Health, the company administering the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as well as other programs related to crisis response.
Life After Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort & Community After Unthinkable Loss is available now.