days of our lives matthew ashford jacl
Credit: Image: Jill Johnson/JPI

The actor was at work when he received devastating news.

The week for Matthew Ashford has to have been, to say the very least, strange. On September 15, the news broke that the Days of our Lives star’s longtime leading lady, Melissa Reeves — Jennifer to his Jack, as if you didn’t know — was leaving the show, at least temporarily, and being replaced by soap vet Cady McClain (ex-Kelly, The Young and the Restless).

Only a day later, the actor tweeted that “my dear Mom, Patricia just passed away [at the age of 89] while I was onstage with Wally Kurth (Justin). With my Dad and sisters — she was lucid and peaceful.”

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Ashford went on to try to encapsulate at least some of what she meant to him. But of course there are mountains not as tall as that particular order. “She was probably the first actor I ever encountered,” he wrote, “and she always encouraged me. Even when rendered speechless by stroke, she could say more!”

In response, Ashford’s Days of our Lives family reached out with open arms. Former co-executive producer Greg Meng shared that “I lost my mom a few years ago… but I feel her presence every day. And I still talk to her every night in my prayers.”

On-screen brother Stephen Nichols (Steve) tweeted: “Oh, Matt, sorry for your loss, buddy… Losing a parent creates an unimaginable void. I lost my mom [at 93] in July. I was able to see her and speak to her over [FaceTime] the day before she passed and though she was not lucid, I know she heard me.”

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After thanking Nichols for his condolences, Ashford admitted that “yes, it is like I’m out of my body. I was OK till I told Wally — it’s good to be around friends — and Mom loves theater and Days; she would appreciate the moment.”

Brandon Barash (Jake) told Ashford that “I’m so sorry, brother. Sending so much love.” And Days of our Lives alum Brody Hutzler (ex-Patrick) tweeted that “my thoughts are with you. Let me know if you need anything.”

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Fans of the soap vet were quick to offer their support, too. Donna Mann, for instance, tweeted that Ashford’s mother “sounds like she was such an inspiration to you. She will continue to be that as she planted those seeds years ago… which continue to grow within you. Love is enduring, in this life and beyond.”

Added Bev Cramton: “September 15 was 32 years since my wonderful mom passed away. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a day you will never forget. However, it’s a wonderful day to remember that special person.”

Well, after that news, you might need some cheering up. Maybe it’s just us. In any case, the below photo is the embodiment of a smile (a smirk, at least); it counts down soaps’ most-married couples of all time, including some husband-and-wife “I duos” from Days of our Lives. Wanna see who they are? Get clicking!