WIDOWS WEAR STILETTOS
MONTHLY NEWSLETTER AND
(scroll to bottom for photos)
MESSAGE OF THE MONTH
"Widows Wear Stilettos..."
It's Not Just a Title
Happy June everyone:
Welcome back to Message of the Month! It feels great to be writing
personal messages to our Widows Wear Stilettos family - it was
something that I did years ago when Widows Wear Stilettos was
brand new. Unfortunately, other WWS responsibilities, writing for
two outlets (oh, and the book-writing too!) have taken the place of the
former "Monthly Message"; however, I'll drop in as I can to say hello.
My return to the Monthly Message actually begins - well, way back at the
beginnings of my career as an author and later, the founder of Widows
Wear Stilettos as a community. Recent events (and the
accompanying nastiness that the Internet affords to those lacking basic
decency or good manners) have necessitated that I again explain exactly where
and how the name "Widows Wear Stilettos" originated.
I had previously assumed that the backstory behind the name was well
known - it appears in two books, in countless interviews and in
literally every live presentation that I give. However, it has
since become apparent that the backstory isn't as widely known as
I had thought - not even by those who claim to have read the books.
For that reason, the story bears repeating; if only in the hopes that
those engaging in cyber-vitriol might treat the people behind the name
Widows Wear Stilettos with a small measure of respect.
When you are charged with caring for someone with a terminal illness, even
though you are well aware of the inevitable outcome of the illness, you
are also not spending your days dwelling on that outcome. You are
instead focusing on daily survival. Your emphases are on
attempting some sort of normalcy in the household, while embracing every
precious moment with your terminally ill loved one that is gifted to
you. Words like "widow" and "death" are not yet a part of
your daily lexicon. Is it then really a surprise to anyone that
the first time the word "widow" actually entered my consciousness was
during Mike's funeral? Would anyone be that shocked at my
initial thought processes; that women who wear high heels and enjoy
martinis and have young children and full-throttle careers do not fit
the image that the word "widow" conjures?
I don't think so.
As a result of one lucid and crystallizing moment at Mike's funeral,
the title "Widows Wear Stilettos..." literally popped into my head
several years later. In selecting that name as a book title, I
wasn't trying to be "sensational", nor was I going for "cute"; neither
of which are inherent parts of my personality. Further, if I were
using that title at an attempt to convey "sexy" or "provocative",
I certainly picked an odd subject - death and grief - to amplify said
alleged sexiness. Lastly, "Widows Wear Stilettos..."
is not some kind of dress requirement (well, except for me I suppose.)
"Widows Wear Stilettos..." was and is my own way of both honoring Mike's memory,
while conveying to a bereaved community - and to the world at large:
We are not the image of widowed that the world purports us to be.
There is no "minimum age requirement" involved in widowhood.
Not all widowed were married for many decades.
Not all widowed see twilight years with their spouses.
No widowed look exactly the same.
No widowhood looks exactly the same.
No Healing Journey is exactly the same.
We come from both genders, in ALL age groups and from all walks.
We have young children.
We were left pregnant.
We never had the chance to have children at all.
We are still in the workplace...
Or we are faced with returning to the workplace after staying at home
with our children.
We are faced with a life that we aren't sure how to live.
We likely know no one to talk to that really understands.
We do not want to be looked at peculiarly.
We do not want pity.
We want help.
We want education.
We want support.
We want a community of peers who understand.
Because...we're still here.
And we matter too.
With that, "Widows Wear Stilettos..." - the book
and later, the community - was born.
As an author, I am immensely proud of "Widows Wear Stilettos..."
and what it brings to the widowed community...necessary education, a
smile and messages of hope and
optimism for a brighter future. I am humbled that the book speaks
to so many widowed of all ages and of both genders. As the founder
of a community and the head of a wonderful Board of Directors, I speak
for all of us when I say that we at Widows Wear Stilettos are
proud of the name and who and what it represents. I do understand
and embrace that not everyone is going to love the name of the book and
/ or the organization and that is fine. We pride ourselves on our
unique approach to grief recovery; however, I also understand and
embrace that not everyone prefers our approach -
and that's fine too. Anyone who is going through bereavement of
any kind has to find who and what best speaks to them and what will
ultimately work for them in terms of healing - and the fact remains that
no one person and no one organization can possibly please everyone.
Over the years, I have learned to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to
negativity and to naysayers (especially those on the Internet) and I
have learned to train my focus on the kindness of the majority of people
we encounter every day. But when it comes to blatant disrespect -
of me, my family, the memory of someone we love or the people whom I am
so proud to serve - deaf ears and blind eyes are not enough. I am
not quite that evolved.
To those people, I ask: Is it really necessary to display
public disrespect for a title that is obviously borne of tragedy and
originates from one lucid moment during a devastatingly heartbreaking
event? Does that somehow actually make you feel good? Is it really necessary to publicly denigrate a title
that is meant to not only convey hope and optimism to others, but is
also a way to honor the memory of a beloved husband and father, whose
dying wish was that our family's experience be used to help others?
Does that bring some kind of personal satisfaction to you?
I would hope not.
So, to those who have negative or less-enlightened views of who I am
personally or as an author, who we are as an organization and community, what we do or
why we are called what we are called, I am sorry that we could not be of
help to you and that you further felt it necessary to resort to
unkindness (written and otherwise); rather than simply go elsewhere to
seek the help that you deserve. Perhaps you might think twice
before choosing to disparage the memory of a wonderful man, the family
who loved him and the work that we do in support of those in pain and in
To the many thousands of people who make up Widows Wear Stilettos
and have supported us for almost seven years, we once again thank you
with our deepest gratitude. It is our privilege to be of service
to you and to this community and we will continue to do so to the very
best of our ability.
I close with the Epilogue from "Widows Wear Stilettos..."
"...and as the sun set over the hillsides
and the chill of a December evening quietly fell,
while still holding tightly to her young daughter's hand...
the widow bid her beloved
a tearful "I'll love you forever" and a final farewell;
and she did so in four-inch black pumps
because after all...
...widows wear stilettos"
Michael Alan Fleet, Sr.
7/21/45 - 12/19/00
BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE
and Widows Wear Stilettos are thrilled to announce that
"Happily Even After..." by Carole Brody Fleet has
won the Books for a Better Life Award
in the Relationships category. Recognized as one of the
most prestigious awards in publishing, the awards ceremony was held
at The Times Center in New York City and hosted by television
personality Meredith Vieira. Watch a brief highlight video on the
"Media Appearances" page.
Congratulations to Viva
Editions and to Carole on this fantastic award!
Carole and Meredith Vieira
Books for a Better Life Award winners with
bestselling authors, Gail Sheehy and Tom Wolfe
CAROLE'S AWARD-WINNING BOOK:
"HAPPILY EVEN AFTER:
A Guide to Getting Through (and Beyond!)
the Grief of Widowhood"
CLICK BELOW TO ORDER AT AMAZON
(NOW ALSO AVAILABLE
AS AN AUDIO BOOK)
The issues that surround the loss of a spouse
are numerous and complex. A very small sampling of these issues
include helping children cope with a parent's death, re-entering the
workplace and eventually re-entering the world of dating, love and
intimacy; as well as moving through a profoundly emotional period.
The widowed must find a way to accept and deal with these oftentimes
conflicting and confusing emotions while being expected to "carry on
and carry forward" by those around them. The widowed must also
adjust financially and legally; as well as be available to children
that inevitably look to their surviving parent for guidance and
support. Whether newly widowed or widowed for many years, those who
has suffered the loss of a spouse have many questions that need
answering and they likely know no one who is adequately qualified to
answer those questions.
Multi-award winning author and grief recovery expert, Carole Brody Fleet
follows up the critically acclaimed: "Widows Wear Stilettos..."
with the aptly-titled, "Happily Even After...", the
first and only book of its
kind; answering the most common questions that the widowed generally
have both immediately following a spouse's death as well as months
and even years thereafter. These questions are excerpted from
thousands of actual letters received by the author and the responses
are from the author's own perspective; based upon considerable
personal and professional experience and insight.
Since the questions featured are the more commonly asked questions
by those who are themselves widowed, readers will likely find
answers to most of the questions that they have concerning
widowhood; dealing with everything from child rearing as a widowed
parent to coping with relatives who fancy themselves financial
wizards, to the "rules of intimacy"...and a wide-ranging variety of
subjects in between. Whether you are a young woman in the early
years of a marriage, a Golden Anniversary celebrant or a "widow of
the heart" who lost a significant other with no legal claims, Carole
will hold your hand and offer you practical tools for any problem
you may face. Most importantly, "Happily EVEN After..."
will help you reclaim YOU.
and sold at Barnes & Noble,
all other chain and independent bookstores
and everywhere online that
books are sold
CAROLE BRODY FLEET AND
WIDOWS WEAR STILETTOS
ARE AT THE HUFFINGTON POST
Carole is a regular weekly contributor to
The Huffington Post. Her articles entitled, "15
Things You Should Never Say to the Bereaved" ; "Are You
Grieving Right?: What's Right, What's Wrong"...and WTF?; "It's a
Matter of Life...and Debt: Know Your Rights"; "It's
No Day at the 'Fair' " ;
"Getting Through the Giving Thanks" ;
"Avoiding First Date Faux Pas (Part 1): What Never To Do On A First
Date"; "Stop the Madness..." and
"Why There is No Such Thing as 'Getting Over' Your Spouse's Death" each received
overwhelming responses from readers and all eight articles were
included in AOL's Welcome page lead headlines. Carole's HuffPost
Live interview alongside Nate Berkus has also been featured numerous
times on AOL's Welcome page lead headlines and several recent articles were trending
articles on both HuffPost and on Facebook.
Carole's articles appear every Monday. Read all
of her articles here:
WATCH: Watch highlights from Carole's
interview with Nate Berkus here:
four years as a
Winner, Relationships category
YOU CAN HELP OTHERS WITH JUST FIVE MINUTES
AND A FEW WORDS
"Happily Even After..."
has been selected as one of the top self-improvement books
published in 2012 and has won the Books for a Better Life
Award, one of the top awards in publishing. Widows
Wear Stilettos..." has just completed four consecutive
years as a national bestseller and
Amazon has selected it as a
top-rated book out of the over eight million titles that
they currently carry. While wonderful honors, customers
(especially the widowed) want more than critical opinion and awards
- and that's where
you come in. Have you read either one or both books?
Did the books help you and if so, how? You can
help others by posting a quick customer review at Amazon.com.
Remember, if someone is looking at the "Happily Even After..."
or "Widows Wear
Stilettos..." pages on Amazon, they (or someone they know) is
in great pain and needs the help and hope that you can help provide.
Posting a review takes no time at all and you'll be helping others
by letting them know how the book helped you and how it might help
them as well. Widows Wear Stilettos thanks you for your
heart and your support.
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WIDOWS WEAR STILETTOS PHOTO GALLERY
(Complete photo albums are on Facebook
at "Widows Wear Stilettos")
We are going
We are growing
We're here...We care
We ARE Widows Wear Stilettos
Carole and television host, Meredith
Vieira at the Books for a Better Life Awards
MORE PICTURES COMING SOON!