ABC News chief medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton reveals she may have seen her ex-husband take his own life if she had left for her workout class just minutes earlier.
The 50-year-old mother-of-two was heading from her New Jersey home to the exercise session in New York around the same time surgeon Robert C. Ashton Jr. jumped from George Washington Bridge on February 11, 2017.
Having finalized her divorce from her spouse of 21 years only 18 days before, Ashton shares in her new book – which provides support, information, and comfort for those attempting make sense of their loss - that she initially blamed herself for his suicide.
'I was on my way to Soul Cycle that morning. I missed Rob by maybe 10 minutes, which is beyond a sickening thought to me,' she writes in Life After Suicide, out May 7.
Jennifer Ashton's ex husband Robert Ashton Jr. died by suicide February 11, 2017. They are pictured 2009
The surgeon jumped off George Washington Bridge 10 minutes before she drove across
Later detectives came to her home – where she lives with son Alex, 20, and daughter Chloe - to break the news of her former spouse's passing.
Ashton continues that law enforcement told her: 'I'm very sorry to tell you, but we found your name on the remains of…' he didn't even finish the sentence.
'I collapsed onto my knees and, as I was collapsing, I heard him say, "Your husband." I became completely hysterical. I started screaming, "No, no, no, no, no".'
ABC News correspondent says in new book Life After Suicide that she blamed herself for his death
The doctor admits it made her doubt the handling of their split after she had believed they'd 'done our divorce well' and was 'excited for everyone's future'.
But after a conversation with her brother, she realized an explanation for the 52-year-old's passing wasn't so simple.
'I finally said to him exactly what I was feeling, and what I imagined everyone was thinking — "This is my fault",' she recalled from a chat with her sibling.
'He put his hands on my shoulders, looked directly into my eyes, and said, "Jen, you're a doctor, I'm a doctor, Rob was a doctor. He would have done this