I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

In Loving Memory of a Widow: Quiet Reflections…and Loud Actions

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 28, 2011

Guest Post from  

Today is a very quiet day.
Make no mistake – it’s still a typical Tuesday at work.  Lots to do, lots to write, lots of deadlines, emails, phone calls…
Lots of…stuff.
But it’s still a very quiet day.
It’s one of those rare times where I struggle for words – but not for tears.  Tears are coming easily.
Because we lost one of our own yesterday.
She was one of our own because she was a member of our widowed community.  She belonged to every single one of us.
Every single widow/er who knows the incredible pain and despair.
Every single organization who seeks to help and support the widowed community.
Every single organization who is dedicated to allaying suffering and bringing healing to those in pain.
She was one of us.
I did not know her personally – but that really doesn’t matter.  She was a part of our community.
She was one of us.
The question of what causes someone to take tragic measures always looms large.  And in the days to come, many will ask that question.  Many close to her will suffer from the guilt that such a tragedy leaves in its wake.  People will ask questions:
“Were there any signs?”
“Why didn’t she get help?”
“How could she do ‘this’ to her children?”
All questions for which there may never be any answers.  But I do know this.
Sometimes there are no “signs”.
Sometimes a person doesn’t know how to ask for help – or thinks that it makes them look weak or wimpy to look at another person and say, “I can’t deal with this”.
And she did nothing “to” her children.  For as I have said in the past, oftentimes a person who takes their own life isn’t necessarily “choosing” to leave…it is simply too painful for them to stay.
A horrifically permanent solution to what can be a temporary situation. 
I don’t know of any widow support organization who has not intervened at one time or another on behalf of a widow/er in despair.  Many of us have sought training to do so as effectively as possible.  Recalling the time years ago that I was on vacation and received a letter via email that mentioned suicide, I now travel with the telephone number of crisis hotlines at the ready…just in case. 
In the days to come, there will be pain of unbelievable measure.  There will be much speculation.  At some point in time, there may even be blame assessed.  And at least one person will say something that is unbelievably mind-numbingly stupid…
But not from our community.  Never from the widowed.
Because we’ve been there.
We know that pain.  We know the despair. 
We’ve been startled by the sound of feral wailing that came from within ourselves because the pain in the pit of our stomachs and the breaking of our hearts was almost too much to bear.
We’ve suffered the lonely nights laying awake in the dark and praying for an uneasy sleep.
We’ve endured the ridiculous comments (and worse) from those around us.
We’ve fought for financial benefits to which we were rightfully entitled; only to have doors slammed in our faces.
We have been betrayed (and worse) by those who were supposed to have our backs. 
We know.
And so, while today is admittedly a quiet day – it nonetheless calls for very loud action.  And I’m really good at being really loud.
Please….PLEASE…if or when that day comes that you feel that you just can’t go another step on your own journey…REACH OUT!  Reach out to another widow/er – it doesn’t matter who they are; just the fact that they are widowed will bring you comfort in the immediate and love and friendship for the long haul.  REACH OUT to any one or ALL of the wonderful organizations that you know are out there.  That’s why we’re here…to help YOU.  We WANT to help.  We WANT to get you through the pain to a place of peace.  That is our entire purpose for existing.  Support.  Comfort.  Community.  Strength.  And if we can’t help you, we’ll get you to someone who can…immediately and absolutely FREE of charge. 
And remember…it is not a sign of strength to try and go through this alone – nor is it a sign of weakness to say, “I need help”.
She was one of us.
As a sadly-large community of the widowed, let us all declare that her death will not be in vain.  Let us recommit every day to helping one another recover – and when we are able, reaching out to others who are in pain.
She was one of us.
She was not the first.
But please…Dear Lord…let her be the last.
And may she rest in peace.
Written in honor and memory of Nichole Haycock.

About Carole Brody Fleet

Carole Brody Fleet is the award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed, “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”  (New Horizon Press) and “I’m ‘Heeling’ One Day at a Time: The ULTIMATE, One-and-Only Question, Answer and Reference Guide to Life After Widowhood” (due in 2011); as well as the author and executive producer of the best-selling CD entitled, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?”.   To learn more about Widows Wear Stilettos; including the newly formed “First Month” Foundation as well as Widows Wear Stilettos’ nationwide in-person support groups, visit www.widowswearstilettos.com.


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