LITTLETON, Colo. — For 48 years, it was Kevin and Cathy. The two were husband and wife, best friends, coworkers and travel buddies.
“We loved to go sailing, scuba diving, swimming," Kevin Ashton said. "In, on and under the water, we were there".
The two worked as realtors together for more than three decades.
"We worked and played together," Ashton said.
The adventure was cut short Nov. 12. Ashton lost his wife about two years after doctors discovered a tumor in her lung.
“When she passed away, I started wearing her wedding ring on my baby finger for my comfort," Ashton said.
He wore his wife's wedding ring in Colorado and kept it on his finger as he traveled to Bonaire, an island in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea.
He wore the ring during a shore diving trip Jan. 14.
“It was like taking [Cathy] diving, you know?” He said.
The surf was rough and so was the dive.
“I fell getting in and then I fell coming back out, and when I got back to the hotel room, I’d realized I’d lost the wedding ring," Ashton said.
His wife's ring and its comfort slipped away.
“I went back five times over four days," Ashton said.
He called the local dive shop, VIP Diving, and staff members Michiel Van Bokhorst and Aaron Martinez jumped in to help.
"These guys stopped what they were doing, jumped in the truck and drove back over there and helped me look for hours," Ashton said.
Ashton carried with him a photo of his wife on their wedding day, and showed fellow divers the ring on her finger.
"I’d go out there and show the picture of the ring to people getting in and getting out and said, you know, ‘if you find it, there’s a reward. It’s my wife’s wedding ring. I’m devastated that I lost this thing,'” Ashton said.
Divers and volunteers searched and even scanned the shore with a metal detector. Ashton went home empty-handed.
“I literally felt like I’d lost her twice," he said. "You know, it was like, I can’t believe I’ve lost this thing and the other thing that crossed my mind was I don’t – how am I going to tell my kids what I’ve done, you know?”
Loss sunk in, but luck found Ashton on his front doorstep. The video call from the Caribbean came two weeks after he'd lost the ring.
Words from VIP Diving's Van Bokhorst and Martinez were caught on Ashton's home security system.
“Aaron and I yesterday, found this ring,” Van Bokhorst said.
“Oh my God!" Ashton replied, his voice breaking. "That’s it! Thank you, guys. You have no idea.”
Rescued from the surf, Cathy Ashton's ring was delivered in the snow last week.
“I mean, the odds of finding the ring in that water in the ocean is a gazillion to one," Kevin Ashton said.
Kevin Ashton had the ring shipped to the RE/MAX office in Littleton he shared with his wife.
He, with his daughter Crystal by his side, opened the package that had traveled from the Caribbean to Colorado. He unraveled a long piece of brown paper and retrieved the ring, placing it on his little finger.
Kevin Ashton broke into tears and hugged his daughter.
"I missed you, honey," he said, kissing Cathy Ashton's ring. "Never thought I'd see it again."
He embraced his daughter and the feeling of his wife's ring. It was a perfect fit.
"Gives me comfort," he said. "A lot of comfort."
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