My name is Ashley Dedmon, I live in Houston, Texas and was diagnosed with the BRCA 2+ genetic mutation at age 22. I had my bilateral prophylactic mastectomy at the age of 31 (December 2016).
When I was 18, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. I was just beginning my college tenure and was torn about leaving my mother, but I knew my father would take great care of her.
Luckily, my college commute was only 45 minutes away. So, on the weekends (almost every weekend) I would come home to spend time with my parents, but mostly to be with my mom. On Fridays, I would go with her to chemo, and we would spend the rest of the weekend in bed. We would watch movies, play games, and when she would rest I would work on my homework and study. The weekends where she had the energy and strength, we would hang out and have our girl time.
There was not a lot of humor related to her illness. We just had good times and we made them very memorable. We would talk about what type of guy I would marry, and she would make comments about how I needed to make sure he had more hair than she had (she was undergoing chemo).
There was one visit when I came home, towards the end of her four-year battle, where my dad thought it would be a great idea if we planned my wedding together. I was in college and wasn’t dating anyone at the time, so I felt that the idea was kind of odd.
It was at that moment, I knew that my mother might not be here too much longer (it hurt my heart). So, I went to the store and purchased 10 to 15 wedding magazines and we spent the entire weekend in bed cutting out pictures of the perfect wedding and binge-watched wedding shows.
This was truly an amazing time, we laughed, talked, told stories and even talked about what my future husband would be like. We put all the cuttings and ideas in a special box that she and I decorated together.
Six months later, my mother went home to glory.
I graduated from college, and eight years later I was getting married. My husband proposed to me on Mother’s Day because he knew how special my relationship was with my mother.
He knew those eight Mother’s Days after losing my mother were extremely hard on me So, he decided to propose to me on that day, and change the course of history.
Initially, it was hard planning my wedding, but I had a supportive and understanding fiancé, family members and friends. I planned my wedding from beginning to end by myself with my mother’s (and fiancé’s) ideas at the forefront of my planning. My aunt and godmother were able to execute what my mother envisioned for my wedding day. I had so much joy during that time because I felt my mother with there with me every step of the way. I would laugh and giggle during the planning process, remembering words and conversations we had.
When you’re getting married, it’s truly about the lifelong journey and commitment you will share with your spouse. However, I knew that when planning my wedding, it was a time to remember my mother.
It’s was interesting, that while we were planning my wedding details, my mother was really preparing me for the marriage, by sharing the word of God, her words of wisdom and wifely experiences with me.
On the day of my wedding, I had a small portion of my ceremony and reception dedicated to her. It was a joyful day, and all I could do was laugh and smile throughout the day. I knew she was with me every step of the way.