On Nov. 8, Ashley Deane received a chilling text message from her husband while she was on a trip with a friend in Sacramento, California.
“The boys are dead and so am I," the text from her husband read.
Her husband, Robertson White Deane, from whom Ashley was recently separated, shot and killed the couple’s two sons Austin, 2, and Jacob, 7, before killing himself.
Ashley, 28, spoke with the Reno Gazette-Journal about the tragedy to raise awareness about depression and mental illness.
The day Ashley lost her family, Robertson was watching the kids for the weekend at his Reno, Nevada, home.
“I could hear the boys playing inside,” she told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I didn't want to upset them with leaving so I didn't say goodbye.”
Ashley said that she and Robertson argued over text as she made her way towards Sacramento. He was reportedly upset about the separation, and as the argument grew more heated, Ashley called her mother and asked her to check on her children.
According to Ashley, she ignored a text from Robertson, but when she read, “The boys are dead and so am I” eight minutes later, she called 911.
"It was 911 in Sacramento so they were trying to connect me to Reno but it was all so confusing," she said.
Police arrived at Robertson’s home at 4:25 p.m., and authorities found him dead in the master bedroom. His sons were found in the bathroom — each had a single gunshot wound to the head.
Ashley said she never would have guessed something like this would have happened.
"He was their father and he loved them," she said. "I never thought he could do something like this. Why would I marry someone or have kids with someone I thought could do this?”
Though Robertson suffered from depression, she said their sons always brightened his mood.
Ashley is now in counseling to deal with what happened.
"I was angry at him, but that doesn't do any good. It doesn't bring my boys back," she said.
"I'm sad every day but not every moment,” she added. "I try to be happy remembering things about them.”
Ashley is renting out the house she shared with her family, but she sold the car she used to transport her children, because it had too many memories.
Despite the tragedy, Ashley has found solace in her new relationship with a woman named Tanya Trader, the Daily Mail reported.
“I'm with someone who can deal with what is going on with me and all of this,” she told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Jacob would have turned 8 on July 4 and Austin would have celebrated his third birthday on July 29.
She celebrated by buying the cake Jacob liked — yellow cake with raspberry filling and blue icing. She also left him gifts — two new ties, a blue teddy bear and two large flag-shaped balloons — at his grave site, where the boys are buried in the same coffin.
Image via Facebook/Reno Gazette-Journal