Ashley and Tom

Image 1 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

How We Met

Our love story began with short glances and interactions at work in the hospital. I am a resident physician while she is a caring nurse. We would occasionally talk about the patients that she would share. It was one night that she asked me out to try this ice cream place. I don’t know how she knew I’m a sucker for ice cream but she asked and I eagerly accepted the invitation. That ice cream date started what would become a journey of up and downs that eventually would lead to love that I still cannot fully describe in words.

It was a path for me to find the meaning of love and the courage to love someone unconditionally. It helped me realize that true love does conquer all, that any biases or prejudices by family can be overshadowed by love. It wasn’t easy for Ashley when my parents were not accepting of her in the beginning, but she was patient with me and my family. Despite all of this, she continued to love and care for me. Her unrelenting love for me made me discover for myself what true love really is and showed my parents how happy she makes their only son.

Image 2 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

how they asked

After I bought the ring, especially since she knew what it was gonna look like, she didn’t want to know anymore and be surprised! Ashley really wanted to take couples photos and found a photographer she liked awhile back, Casey Liu Photography. We were set to take pictures on Saturday June 18, 2016 in Long Beach, CA. I had spoken to Casey previously to let her know I wanted to propose while we taking our couples photo. I shared the news of my proposal plans to her mom, dad, & brother in Hawaii. Her good friends at work as well as one of my bosses knew the plan. Since I’ve been doing a rotation out in Ventura County till end of June we planned to take a small day trip up to Big Sur before I have to go back to LA and finish my last year of residency starting July. So I had made arrangements for us to spend the day and a romantic dinner at Hershel Castle up north on Sunday the day after the proposal. The proposal was going to be everything she wanted but unfortunately I got a call from hospice and my mom that my dad was not doing well and try and come home soon. I spoke to my dad earlier that day to see how he was doing and told him my plans and asked him to stay strong till after Saturday. He had so badly wanted to be alive to see his future daughter in law. He said to me I will be strong and I will stay strong but come home as soon as you can.

Image 3 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

I was debating all day Friday to see if we should still stay till Saturday after the photoshoot and fly back to Mississippi Sunday morning. When I told Ashley the news that we had to last minute cancel our photoshoot or leave right after, without an hesitation Ashley agreed. She told me the photoshoot can wait but your dad cannot. This is why I love her so much because through it all she has loved my family just as much as she loves me. So the proposal plans had to wait, we were off to Mississippi catching the red eye that Friday night.

He may not have been able to see us anymore but he heard our voices and felt our touch. My dad so wanted to be present for this big moment in my life. He had plans to get better, be home with his pain pump and give us a small intimate engagement party at our home. Asking Ashley to marry me was one of the things he was looking forward to seeing. He passed on Father’s Day Sunday June 19, 2016.

When my dad came from China on June 26, 1992 it was just the three of us. His younger brother, my uncle, is my only relative here in the states. My mom’s younger brother was able to get a tourist visa to help attend to my mom and provide support while my dad was sick. When we brought my dad’s ashes home and the presence of my family I thought maybe this is what was suppose to happen. Maybe not in the way he wanted but he would be present in a different way, through the ring he got see when he was alive and with his spirit knowing he was back home.

Image 4 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

Image 5 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

Image 6 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

I have been ready for a while to ask Ashley to marry me. My family was ready for me to ask her. So on Wednesday June 22nd in the presence of my family I got down on my knee and asked Ashley to marry me! She said yes & brought so much comfort to my heart.

Image 7 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

Image 8 of Ashley Nicole and Tom

Special Thanks

Casey Liu Photography
 | photographer