SUICIDE AFTERSHOCKS: VOL III Southern Women’s Wisdom–Discomfort and the Power of a Pause

During the last few months I’ve found myself referencing my husband’s suicide in conversation as the B.E.  (Bill Event)

and making time distinctions based on before and after Bill did what he did.  It feels healthy for me and lighter than using the word suicide.  He simply did what he did-what he chose to do.business_110009277-012914-int

As time passes and I’m happier and more present, how he died is becoming almost irrelevant.  Interestingly when people ask, I pause to decide how direct I care to be in that given moment as my experience has been that most people can’t really handle the truth of suicide.  They seem ill-equipped to respond without judgment.  Most become highly uncomfortable or pretend they didn’t actually ask how he died, rather than pausing and considering a response.

Suicide.  Just the word causes discomfort. Suicide carries so many judgments—social, religions and familial.  When I do use that word, it’s not that I’m choosing to make others uncomfortable.  I am simply choosing to honor myself and respect the level of comfort I’ve been able to achieve in the aftermath of a horrific situation.


58d7e6020950c8147cc62a476d63af49The first statement one of my brothers made to me the day of the B.E. was, “I didn’t know your marriage was that bad”.  He maintained this position and even went so far as to publicly state that he and everyone else knew that Bill’s suicide was my fault.  This was my BROTHER! 

A person I considered a friend commented, “How could you not know—you’re so intuitive. This is what you do!  You must have known this was going to happen!”  This was a FRIEND!

My dad’s reaction to my first and only crying phone call to him in the days immediately following the B.E. was, “Quit living in the past.” He said this just prior to hanging up on me.  This was my FATHER.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do and called a girl friend—

a bit older than me and raised in south central Virginia.  Her wise counsel came in the form of a question.  After hearing my pain over the judgmental and insensitive comments being made, she asked,

“Kim, does your Father have a vagina?  Do any of these people you’re speaking with have vagina’s?

I responded no, that they did not, in fact, have vagina’s.  Her response, classic, quintessential southern pragmatism, “Don’t you know you can’t have a conversation when you’re upset with a person lacking a vagina?

Enough said.  I was laughing while crying and oh, so much better!

A girlfriend I grew up with reminded me gently, “Honey, if common sense was lard, your family wouldn’t be able to grease a pan—I don’t mean you of course!”

Another grand moment came while at different girlfriend’s house in central Virginia.  I walked into a group and reacted – inappropriately– to a random participants comment about the B.E.   I kind of lost it and got angry –I really wanted to kick this person till she bled!  (an inappropriate response, I know–but I did pause!)  To avoid any verbal escalation, I went to my friend and said I need help getting under control!  She responded with,

“Well honey, that’s what the back yard is for—you go on out there and stay as long as it takes and I’ll make you some tea!”

8 or 9 weeks after the B.E. I was heading into a meeting with 2 executives and 7 trainers of a global organ harvesting and transplant organization.  The meeting was taking place because—well, that’s another story!  This meeting was a big deal for me and I was still quite emotional but in the “let’s get’er done” frame of mind and knew I needed bucking up before entering the meeting.  Like every southern girl would—I phoned a friend—with a vagina!  She told me,

“Tighten up that corset, put on your lip gloss, lift up your chest and speak slow and syrupy sweet—you got this.”

Scarlett Tightening up!

Scarlett Tightening-up!

Southern comfort no –alcohol required!

Here’s to the strong, proud and direct women in my circle—southern or otherwise!  Thank you for the perfect and timely wisdom and powerful support!

With warmest aloha,



Pause.  Practice pausing and taking a breath while you mindfully consider an intentional response.  Perhaps nod your head while you pause so the person you’re with will know you’ve heard them—if on the phone, during your pause make a sound like, “hmmm” so the other knows they’ve been heard.!  This technique can create connection, deepen relationships and communication and allows you to learn to listen from a place of desiring to hear rather than from the place of desiring to be heard.  Pausing often times allows the other to hear themselves, as well!



4th Annual Kauai Marathon, Sore Legs and lots of Aloha!

Kauai is a small island by most standards.  We have roughly 67,000 full time residents, a speed limit that tops out at 50mph, upwards of a dozen one lane bridges and most roads are one lane each direction.  I’m not complaining—I love it.  There are certainly some drawbacks to small island living, but there are most definitely more perks.      

Into the Tree Tunnel


 Today was the 4th Annual Kauai Marathon, and it’s the most amazing event to participate in.  The organizers do a spectacular job, but it’s the volunteers and general public who make it the most fun and unique event I’ve experienced anywhere.

The race begins with flaming Tiki torches and Conch blowers in the predawn tropical light.  At the start of the race there is no hint of the potential fatigue that climbing and descending the hills ahead might bring.

Excited On-Lookers

The course for both the ½ and full marathons runs through varying terrain and elevation changes, from ocean front, pasture land and forest to neighborhoods.  People come out en mass to cheer on the runners.  Families, couples and singles with their dogs set up tents on the side of the road to joyfully offer encouragement.   Homemade signs are displayed with advice like, “FASTER” and “You can do it” on cardboard while on-lookers ring cow bells, shake noise makers and wave big foam fingers.  Some kind people even set up their own drink stands between the official race-aid stations—because they can!

Hula Dancers in Koloa!

Hula Halaus bring out their dancers to hula on the side of the course and at aid stations.  Musicians set up their own generators to power amplifiers and play slack key guitar and sing, and kids and adults alike gather along the way playing ukulele.  Even the local group “Taiko Kauai” sets up camp at the bottom of a valley to drum the runners past the 10 mile marker.  The deep resonate sound of the synchronized drums calling you forward and sending you on somehow makes you feel lighter.                                                                                                                       

Taiko Kauai

This is the Kauai I love.  Where people simply show up for each other!  My deep appreciation and heart-felt gratitude go out to everyone who showed up today to make my race perfect—even though I didn’t win!  Much Mahalo!!!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,  Kim

Last of the hills!