In Mourning: The Neighborhood Remembers One of its Own

The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero

in mourning

Heather Workes June 24, 1978 – May 23, 2014

I’m sorry the Workes have to be on this journey.
Its one no one should ever have to endure. Prayers and hugs. – Aurora*


from 1984, Diana Ross
with Missing You


On a rollercoaster, in which we occasionally ride, there are ups and there are downs. The ups are filled with a mix of anticipation, dread, questions and a building excitement, toward what we will face on the other side. The downs, for some are exhilarating. A chance to throw caution to the wind, to scream at the top of our lungs, to be young and carefree again. It is a thrilling adventure, the rollercoaster ride. In a matter of seconds, our minds race with a complex set of emotions. But on the downside, even for those who regret ever taking the ride, stomach in nuts, cries induced by fears, it is but a moment in time, and no matter how afraid we are, we know the ride will come to an end.

But what if you are on the downhill side and you cannot see the end. Try as you might to get off or slow down or simply take a breath, the operator refuses to allow, even the peace of mind to know, that this too shall pass. What if every thing you try – yell, pray, pound your chest, click your heels together and recite in triplet secession, “there’s no place like home”  – fails to make a difference. And what if you had people in your corner, who you knew loved you, and you loved them too, but all of the love that exists around you, and threw you, and is a part of you, has been swept up in the downhill too. Everywhere you look, you see wreckage from your ride, and even though you never wanted to get on, and all around there is love and sincerity to help you get off,  in your mind, there is but one way to make the downhill stop.

No story can be as devastating as that one told in the voice of a child who is abused: 
Heather and Kirby…. you have it {love} from all of us. – JE Buckingham*

I have collaborated with over 100 artists of all genres, from all walks of life and from around the globe. Each experience has been unique and special, but time spent with the Workes’, not only touched my heart, but served as an inspiration as to the bravery of others.  When I began putting the story together, I had to pause upon fully comprehending, that When the Abuse Stops was not simply their reality, but the ongoing story of their lives. We became friends during that brief period of time, I was and will always be grateful for their trust and for seeing them smile.

Thank you for sharing and for helping to give a voice to those often not heard. – ahtdoucette*

On May 23, 2014, Heather Workes passed away, stopping the downhill herself.

Heather, The time you spent in The Neighborhood, courageously telling your story and sharing your struggle, touched many lives. We will continue to search for answers, as to how to make it stop; and know that your memory here, will not soon be forgotten.  Rest in peace. The pleasure was ours.

Kirby, Please know, our hearts are with you, and the strength you have given others, we now return to you.

– The Neighborhood

*reader comments from past posts

in mourning

in memory of Heather Workes

19 Comments on “In Mourning: The Neighborhood Remembers One of its Own


  2. Pingback: 2016 TNMHW DAY 3: SUICIDE | The Neighborhood

  3. Pingback: When the Abuse Stops | Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

  4. I had no IDEA! I shared your post on my FBook page. We had just become friends a few months ago. So sad :(…. Just a wonderful tribute Kendall.

    Author, Catherine Lyon XO


  5. For obvious reasons this piece is near and dear to my heart. Heather truly was a special woman, friend, wife, and mother. I miss her everyday, and know I always will. I appreciate this tribute for her in the neighborhood, I know she is smiling now, because of people like you.


  6. I was intending to use this song lyric on my own blog at some point (, but it seems appropriate to offer it here. I have seen the suicides of my maternal grandfather, father, and older brother. It never gets easier, but this phrase from scripture – the most repeated phrase in the Bible – has helped. I hope it helps other as it has me.
    It Came to Pass

    When your body aches and suffers from the toil, wear and strain
    The demands of worldly living place on heart and soul and brain
    When it’s hard to just keep going against the wind and rain
    Hold to these words and know they’re not in vain

    And it came to pass, to go far away
    Wonder why it came at all, if not to stay
    But, it came to pass out of memory
    What is here and now will soon become what used to be

    When the world around you darkens and you feel your spirit drain
    The joy you felt in living then begins to turn to pain
    When the effort and the struggle start to make you feel insane
    Recall these words and keep them once again

    And it came to pass, to go far away
    Wonder why it came at all, if not to stay
    Bur, it came to pass out of memory
    What is here and now will soon become what used to be

    One thing that is true of life is that there’s always change
    So, when it seems it’s at its worst, do not think it strange

    That it came to pass, to go far away
    Wonder why it came at all, if not to stay
    But, it came to pass out of memory
    What is here and now will soon become what used to be
    What is here and now will soon become what used to be


  7. Kendall, beautiful, articulated to clearly. This post has deeply saddened me.. at the same time I realise that you hold an amazing gift to shed some light in this dark place. Heather, where ever you are… in my eyes you’re a hero, brave and strong…


  8. Reblogged this on ghostdancersarah and commented:
    Most will never know the pain and heart break of loving a victim of horrible abuse. The abuse never seems to end, they have no peace and the ups and downs are all scary.

    I have loved such a victim. My Michelle has suffered and recently tried to end her own life. I can’t describe to you the pain of looking into the eyes of one you love and seeing they have given up.

    When I see Michelle now I see a woman who if left to her own would try again and again until she got her wish. I see the depth of her darkness in her eyes and I see she wants to die. I have to look at it as the pain is doing this because it hurts too much to think she has given up on our love.

    I’m at a lose of my own. I pray for Heathers family that they find peace. I will share with them words Michelle used when talking to her doctors. “I made a rational decisions for an irrational condition of life.” She was in so much pain and couldn’t turn it off. She saw no way out.

    There is little peace for the family who is left behind if they succeed or fail for the family there is nothing but questions. What did I miss? What could I have done? Did she try reaching out to me? Why didn’t she reach out to me?

    I don’t have these answers but I know Michelle is a fighter a real champion. She has helped many girls who were victims of violent rape. She has helped kids thinking about suicide. I am lost to see why she couldn’t see her own advice about life being precious.

    Now I’m stuck in Hawaii a place of beauty that we used to love. For me now, I see only pain in this paradise. Questions for which no answers will satisfy my mind. A place of deep beauty and now deeper sorrow.

    I wish it was easier but it never gets easier. Watching them struggle, suffer and pretend everything is ok. Is almost as hard as watching them give up and want to die.

    I swear I shouldn’t have any tears left. My body should be empty of all liquids by now. My heart feels as though she has died because that is all I see in her eyes now. Suicide is a very real subject and most people aren’t aware rape victims are twelve times more likely to try than the average person.

    Heather thank you for sharing your words, blessings and prayers to her family. I do know your pain. I know what it feels like and I’m sad knowing another loved one suffers this way. Deeply saddened by your pain and lose.



  9. Tragedy has many faces, but none as heartbreaking as that of someone so young. There are some people put on this earth to touch many hearts — and relay an important message — in a shirt time. Their loss has a ripple effect that serves to remind others of the fragility of life and the virtues of true character. Heather’s time was short, but the ripples she created will continue within the hearts she touched.


  10. Thank you for sharing her story. It’s real sad when life is taken it leaves deep holes. It’s equally as sad when one is almost taken. My GF Michelle a subscriber and contributor here tied to end her darkness and suffering. She tried to kill herself and came very close to success. Thank god she failed.

    I am sorry to hear of our lose if you’re a praying man pray for Michelle she’s in a horribly dark place right now and sees no meaning in life/ When we reach that point where life itself holds no meaning it’s a pretty desperate place.

    Thank you for sharing Heather with us.


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