With the passing of a loved one comes the subtle everyday reminders of all that person brought to your life. Simple things bring back a flood of memories and you’re tempted to cling to anything that revives a feeling of completeness. No one can quite understand your innate connection and all of the moments shared, so you find solace in believing that the person is still alive in spirit and in honoring them in any way possible.
In 2004 Ashley’s brother, Jason, passed away in a tragic car accident and a year later her stepfather, Roger, lost his long battle with cancer. Her world was flipped upside down as two people she loved most were no longer by her side. Life moved along, as it always seems to do, and led Ashley down a road to meet Karen.
The two instantly hit it off and within a few months they knew that they wanted to spend their lives together. One Valentine’s Day Ashley gave Karen the skeleton key necklace she had been wearing (every single hour of every single day) since she was 16 and Karen proposed to Ashley with a keyhole engagement ring. Karen and Ashley were a perfect fit, but for all that they shared, there was one part of Ashley’s life that Karen missed out on: knowing the two men who were so important to Ashley.
Shortly after they got engaged, Ashley had a terrible allergic reaction to the ring and Karen took it as a sign to plan another proposal. Karen decided that this time around she was going to incorporate reminders of Ashley’s brother and stepfather as a symbolic way of asking for Ashley’s hand in marriage.
Karen chose Prague as the proposal destination. It would be easy to detour there after she and Ashley went to Lisbon for a conference. After discovering the John Lennon Wall in Prague, Karen commissioned a piece of art from CustomMade Maker Rick Rivadeneyra to hang on the wall featuring John Lennon and images of Jason and Roger on either side of him, since both were incredibly talented musicians.
For the ring redo, Karen worked with Gregory Stopkato create a glitzy engagement ring with the base replicating the skeleton key pendant that Ashley had for so many years. Designs from a Judaic ceremonial wedding ring were incorporated along the band of the ring to celebrate Ashley’s heritage. Finally, the birthstones of Ashley’s family members were embedded on the inside of the engagement ring band, as a way to constantly be reminded of her lost loved ones.
Karen’s attention to detail trickled down the to exact execution of the proposal. She arranged for a “photo tour” so a photographer would capture everything, hired musicians to play Karen and Ashley’s favorite songs, and made sure to end things by the John Lennon wall. At the exact right place and the perfect time, Karen got down on one knee (for the second time) and opened a custom skeleton key box, made by Mark Porter, to reveal the new and allergen free engagement ring.
Ashley was elated and in complete shock, not expecting a second proposal or a ring so fabulous and detailed. In the moment, with the music playing, the painting nearby and the embedded birthstones, it was as if Jason and Roger were right alongside Ashley, soaking in the palpable love that Karen has for her.
The two left their mark on Prague by hanging the custom painting and sharing a moment so special that it will not be soon forgotten.
What’s your favorite piece? Let Karen and Ashley know in the comments section below![/caption