MARCH 2011 IssueVol 2, Issue 9


I Did Not Know 

What To Say  




WELCOME EVERYONE!  Our online community is growing and we are honored to have you be a part of the journey.

Happy Spring! 

We had a beautiful spring weekend here in D.C. and I had an opportunity to take a wonderful five mile walk.  I could feel that spring was in the air and that everything in nature was starting to awaken.  I hope spring is finding its way to you.

Hope & Support for Japan. 
We would like to send our love and support to the people of Japan for the tremendous loss they have experienced over the last week. It is hard to know what to do when a loss impacts so many people.  Donating to charities that can directly impact the lives of those in need is one small way we can all help.  We have listed below several worthwhile charities you may want to consider.

Featured Article... The Myths Surrounding Suicide by Catherine Greenleaf offers insightful information on how to assist a loved one that is a suicide survivor.  There is still a stigma that exists for families that have lost a loved one to suicide and many of them grieve alone.  Catherine Greenleaf, author of Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide, offers understanding, hope and healing for those in needWe invite you to also explore our Virtual Book Tour interview with Catherine for additional resources and helpful suggestions.

Do you have a story you would like to share?  We invite you to submit your inspirational stories, letters that have reached your heart, a favorite quote or poem, an unforgettable outing, or a book that touched your life.  We would love to hear from you. 


Each month our newsletter will feature a new article giving you a different perspective on how to assist your friends and family through the grieving process. Please feel free to pass our newsletter on to anyone that may benefit from our articles and inspirational messages.

With Love & Gratitude,



It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone and a day to love someone - but it takes a lifetime to forget someone." ~ Author Unknown

In This Issue
Featured Article
Monthly Inspiration
Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts
Discussion Topics
About Us
Quick Links

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Featured Article of the Month

articleThe Myths Surrounding Suicide

 by Catherine Greenleaf


There are many myths surrounding suicide. Why is this? When people don't feel free to tell the truth, due to shame and stigma, myths seem to abound. This is unfortunate because a lack of credible information can lead to misinformation, ignorance and superstition. For example, years ago, nobody talked about cancer. It was considered a "hush-hush" subject. Back then people actually believed you could "catch" cancer from somebody by shaking their hand or drinking from the same glass.


Suicide is shrouded in the same "hush-hush" attitude, even today. The roots of thisHealing the Hurt Spirit secrecy are age-old and deep. During the Middle Ages, a person who died by suicide was stripped naked and tied to the back of a horse. The person's body was dragged throughout the streets of the village for all to see. The remaining family members were turned out of their home and onto the streets, and all their possessions were taken away.


This type of treatment resulted in a great deal of secrecy in a family with a suicide loss. Families attempted to attribute their loved ones' deaths to anything but suicide -- heart attack, food poisoning -- even homicide seemed preferable to suicide during that era. We have been carrying that secrecy, shame and stigma for centuries. It's encoded in our DNA.


Thankfully, in the last decade or so, more and more suicide loss survivors have been bravely stepping forward to fight the stigma and to ask for support and services. However, several myths surrounding suicide still persist: 


Myth #1:  All people who die by suicide leave a note explaining why. 

Truth: Less than 20% of people who die by suicide leave any kind of note or letter. And the majority of these letters are usually housekeeping in nature, such as requests for someone to care for their dog or a bequest, such as leaving a car to a brother.  


Myth #2:  After a suicide loss, family members rally to support each other. 

Truth:  Couples who lose a teenager to suicide have the highest divorce rate in the U.S. Unfortunately, due to the trauma, unresolved grief, shame and blame, suicide more often than not tears families apart. 


Myth #3:  People who lose a loved one to suicide are automatically given grief counseling.  

Truth: Survivors of suicide loss usually must pursue their own course of treatment. Other than an initial six weeks of grief counseling granted by some insurance companies, surviving families receive no assistance or guidance in where to find support groups or bereavement therapy and must rely on referrals from friends or the internet. I should add here that not receiving counseling is the No. 1 reason couples divorce and families fall apart.


Myth #4: People die by suicide because of a big disappointment like a relationship breakup or being fired from a job. 

Truth: Ninety percent of people who die by suicide are suffering from a diagnosable and treatable brain disorder like chronic depression or bipolar disorder. Research shows people don't choose suicide because of a breakup or firing. They choose suicide to end the intense psychic suffering of an untreated brain disorder.


If you are a suicide loss survivor or love someone who is, you can fight the shame and stigma surrounding suicide by encouraging an open dialogue. Urge family and friends to find a qualified sudden death bereavement therapist. Suggest they attend a weekly suicide loss survivor support group. Give them books with credible information so they can educate themselves. And most of all, encourage them to break the silence and talk about their grief.


Catherine Greenleaf is the author of the highly acclaimed book Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide.
You can visit her website at:
Follow her on Twitter at:

Read her blog at:


Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide is featured on our Helpful Books page -

Grief Support Resources:

This Month's Inspiration

The Human Spirit  


The last few months have been filled with many tragic events across the globe.  Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and war have filled the headlines.  Yet, hidden in the tragic headlines are many stories of hope, courage and love.


The Human Spirit is an amazing thing.  It gives those in the midst of devastation and loss the strength to live.  It touches the hearts of people to provide assistance and support in big and small ways.  And, it gives us all hope that we too will find our own inner strength to meet the many challenges in our own lives.


To all the people suffering around the world, we send our love and hope that theCherry Blossoms support and comfort you need finds you and strengthens you.  Know that you are not alone.


To the search and rescue teams, the military and the medical professionals that provide support all over the world in times of crisis, we Thank You. 


It always inspires me to see people come together to support each other at a time of great loss.  An enormous amount of gratitude should be given to the amazing men and women that are part of the Search and Rescue teams that put their lives at risk to help others.  Your heartfelt courage is inspiring.

Many organizations need your support to continue to do the amazing work they do for people in need.  Whether you are making a donation for yourself or in memory of a loved one, here are a few to consider:


American Red Cross


The National Cherry Blossom Festival - Stand with Japan

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.


The National Cherry Blossom Festival website offers several ways you can donate to support the people of Japan.

Tips for Giving In Times of Crisis 


Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas
engraved heart


Check out our new look...we have updated our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page and we would love your feedback. 

Our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page offers a wide variety of sympathy gift ideas for your loved ones.  We hope the thoughtful gifts listed on our website inspire you to give warmth and joy to your friends and family in their time of need.


Posted on February 22, 2011 - Interview with Cynthia Siegfried -

Cancer Journey: A Caregiver's View from the Passenger Seat


Posted on January 22, 2011 - Interview with Pat Nowak - ABC's of Widowhood

Posted on January 15, 2011 - Interview with Catherine Greenleaf - Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Posted on December 29, 2010 -Interview with Ellen Gerst - Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Posted on October 26, 2010 - Interview with Carole Brody Fleet - Widows Wear Stilettos

Posted on June 28, 2010 - Interview with Lori A. Moore - Missing Andy

Poster on December 10, 2009 - Interview with Sally Wagner, Organized Peace - Professional Organizer

Posted on December 1, 2009- Interview Marcy Kelly - From Sorrow to Dancing

Posted on November 8, 2009- Interview Jean Reagan - Always My Brother

Poster on September 21, 2009 - Interview with Mike Murphy - The Importance of Having a Will

If you are an author or an expert in the grief recovery field and would like to be interviewed, please contact us at

To order these books and preview other inspirational books, be sure to visit our Helpful Books page.


Discussion Topics

We invite you to join our on-going discussions on our Facebook page.  Not on Facebook?  We have also posted our discussion topics on our Blog.  Current topics include: 
About I Did Not Know What To & Lori Pederson
LoriLori Pederson created I Did Not Know What To Say in April 2009 as a platform to inspire and provide resources to people that wanted to help their friends and family through the grieving process. 
Lori's expertise comes from those experiences that only life can provide.  Over the past twenty years, Lori has lost many family members, including her mother to ovarian cancer, as well as many friends, colleagues and pets.  She is no stranger to loss and the grieving process.
Throughout her life she has been blessed with many friends and relatives that were there for her as she experienced these great losses. She understands that although people want to help, they often don't know where to start.  I Did Not Know What To was created out of Lori's desire to assist people find the words when they don't know what to say or do.
You can learn more about Lori and her organization by visiting, reading her personal Blog or contacting her at:
Lori Pederson
Each week we will be adding new inspirational stories and resources to our website and Blog.   Help us reach our goal of providing inspiration and insight to the world by sharing your story or resource with our online community.  We would love to hear from you! 

Share Your Story. Please email us your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote, an unforgettable adventure, a thoughtful gift idea, a book that touched your life, or a suggestion for our website or newsletter to

If you are an author or expert in the field of grief recovery, we would love to interview you for our Blog and/or one of our upcoming newsletters.
If you have a website, Blog or newsletter, we ask that you consider including our information on your site.  Here is the link:
I Did Not Know What To Say is a website created to inspire and provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.
With Love & Gratitude,
Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say

Copyright 2011' I Did Not Know What To Say(TM) Newsletter.  All Rights Reserved.