Widows Wear Stilettos has just marked its fifteenth anniversary. Fifteen years of serving the widowed community. Fifteen years of new friends, new adventures, new books, traveling, teaching and learning. It continues to be a fantastic journey.
Although much has changed throughout these last fifteen years, the one thing that is not going to change - EVER - is who and what WWS is...and that is inextricably linked to my particular approach to grief recovery. We are indeed humbled and fortunate in that 99% of the time, the feedback that we receive (be it for the books, the CD, the website, the Facebook pages or any combination thereof) is very positive and our messages of help, hope and support are warmly embraced and lovingly received in the ways that they are intended.
...but every once in awhile, a "one-percenter" shows up.
Not too long ago, my publicist received a call from a visitor to the website (yes, this person was so enraged, she actually picked up a telephone and called my publicist). Among the things that angered her no end was the fact that our website and Facebook pages featured pictures of "smiling widowed people". She was absolutely astounded and infuriated that ours is a community of hope, rather than one who chooses to use grief as a primary focus.
I happily and readily admit that the WWS approach to grief recovery may not speak to everyone in the ways that they need. One of the reasons that WWS was born to begin with is because I was one of those people who could not find an approach to grief recovery that specifically spoke to my particular needs. As opposed to our enraged widowed visitor, I am not one of those people who either can or chooses to stay focused in a grief-centered place. I am not one of those people who believes that overwhelming sorrow should last forever. I cannot be a perpetual "frownie-face", as many would believe the widowed to be. I believe firmly that yes, there is a time to grieve and mourn - but there must also be a path forward toward a proactive way to heal. For me, healing was not going to take form in books or websites that featured rainbows and clouds and bunnies and messages that centered only around grief. There is nothing wrong with any of those things of course, but I've never been a rainbows-and-bunnies person and I'm afraid that isn't going to change. I further and fervently believe that we gravitate toward on that which we focus – and as long as you use grief as your focus and your core, you cannot eventually thrive. Isn’t healing all about learning how to thrive, rather than simply survive?
We all hate the term "merry widow". It's not cute and it's not funny. We all know that there is nothing "merry" about widowhood and absolutely none of the pictures featured on the WWS website, on Facebook or anywhere else that involves WWS include people "celebrating" widowhood. These pictures represent HOPE. These pictures represent PROMISE. These pictures represent HEALING. These pictures represent the widowed community coming together to support one another. Most of all, these pictures send a message to our widowed sisterhood and brotherhood that have and will come after us; that no one need suffer alone or in silence and that we are all collectively here to help.
As always, I am sorry that we were unable to help someone who was in so much pain that she was angered by faces of hope. However, rest assured that WWS' approach to grief recovery and its message remains constant:
...and that will never change.
Pamela Marches Photography
Happy Anniversary Widows Wear Stilettos and to all of those who have and continue to support us. May we keep going, growing and striving to help anyone and everyone in need.
You may not feel brave or strong 24 hours a day…
and that is understandable.
In fact, many widowed become angry
when they are constantly told
how brave or strong they are…
...and that is understandable too.
But even during moments of what you may
perceive to be weakness...
Do not lose sight of a very clear and positive choice
that you have made.
For you have chosen healing.
Perhaps without even realizing it, you have decided that your emphasis will continue to be on healing
and allowing others to support you on your Healing Journey.
Just by letting others in.
Giving glimpses into your heartbreaking experiences,
Allowing others’ experiences into your heart,
Giving advice to others,
Heeding the suggestions of others,
Finding your way.
And even on the not-so-strong-days,
Even on the not-so-brave days,
Even on the I-really-don't-give-a-damn days,
Even on the I-just-can’t-do-this-anymore days,
You have still chosen a path of healing…
You have chosen YOUR path of healing…
…and that is something of which to be very proud indeed.
Included below are resources that you may find helpful in pursuing your healing journey.***
CRISIS INTERVENTION AND PROGRAMS
*National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255. Help is available by telephone twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
* Alcoholics Anonymous: www.aa.org.
* Narcotics Anonymous: www.na.org.
* National Eating Disorders Association: (800) 931-2237 www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
* Gamblers Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org.
* Debtors Anonymous (compulsive shopping / spending): www.debtorsanonymous.org
* Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA): www.sca-recovery.org.
* Mental Health America (“Cutting” or other means of self-harm): www.mentalhealthamerica.net .
SERVING THE WIDOWED COMMUNITY
* The American Widow Project: www.americanwidowproject.org:
* TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) www.taps.org
* Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov
* Department of Veterans Affairs (for military widowed and surviving family members): www.va.gov
***Please note that no suggestion and/or recommendation is meant to replace expert medical or legal assistance. Carole Brody Fleet, her representatives and / or employees or assigns do not receive any remuneration whatsoever for any recommendations made herein.