Families hope their loved ones’ stories will help others escape.
In 2018, more and more obituaries are citing domestic violence as the cause of death, as a long-held stigma finally begins to lift.
It’s a topic that has long been whispered about but rarely confronted publicly. Obituaries for domestic violence victims have often remained silent about the cause of death. But just as more obituaries are frankly discussing previously taboo subjects like suicide and addiction, more families are deciding that a meaningful way to draw attention to the danger of domestic violence is to talk about it in an obituary. It’s too late for their loved ones, but if they can help just one other person make the decision to report their abuse and escape their situation, maybe it will feel less like the death was in vain.
And recent statistics do show an increase in people choosing to report domestic violence: Since the beginning of 2018, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has seen a 30 percent increase in calls and texts compared to the same period last year.
Today, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we remember all those who have suffered domestic violence. Here are 12 recent obituaries that have drawn attention to the issue.
R.I.P. Samantha Dayle Field, 32, Ava Grace Field, 4, and Ashen Conner Field, 2, Washington. “Above all else, Sam, Ava, and Ashen were loved. Truly and deeply loved. They were loved by their family, their friends, and their military family. Her family will be eternally grateful to all those who supported Sam on her journey, and they would also like their message to be heard: If you ever find yourself in crisis, if you ever find yourself facing domestic violence, if you ever find yourself in a situation you don’t know how to escape…reach out. No issue is too small. Reach out and someone will help you.” (Read their full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Laurie Suzann Colon, 37, Wisconsin. “Laurie Suzann Colon (nee’ Guilbault), 37, was a victim of Domestic Violence by her soon to be ex-husband of 15 years, in her home on July 13. She moved to Appleton in 2005 and worked at Convergys as a supervisor for many years. Laurie moved on to be the top sales team leader at eplus.com, an internet security network firm. Her job took her on many trips including the Philippines, Singapore and frequent vacations to Mexico. She recently earned the President’s award which included a one week trip, she was to go on. Laurie loved to travel and see new places and especially try new foods.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Kaylin Simone Cole, 21, Indiana. “Kaylin Simone Cole was born on May 6, 1996, in South Bend, Indiana, to Kaniece Davidovic and Kaylin S. Cole. Kaylin passed away on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 8:15 a.m. in Indianapolis, Indiana, by which she did not suffer. Upon the Mother’s request, it is asked that there be no cameras, recording devices, or t-shirts at the funeral. Please wear purple accents. Contributions to help defray the cost of the burial may be made to Alford’s Mortuary. Domestic Violence is never OK. Get help 1-800-799-7233.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Marie Cecelia Lancaster, 58, Maine. “Sadly, our Marie Cecilia Lancaster senselessly died on March 31, 2018, in her home in Norridgewock, a victim of domestic violence. She answered the call every day to help those in need, the elderly, the sick, needy children, animal shelters and still ‘never missed work’. She proudly visited every ‘Goodwill’ store in the State of Maine with donations aplenty. She was a very talented person in many ways. She was a fabulous cook. When needed she would cook her wonderful treats for various ‘drives’ in the area to help out those in need. Marie never expected nor accepted any money. Everything came from that ‘huge heart.'” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Angela Francis Seal, 34, West Virginia. “Angela Francis Seal, 34, of Princeton, WV, passed away tragically Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 at her home following a domestic violence dispute. The family has requested, please wear purple to show your support for Domestic Violence Awareness. Anyone is welcome to attend the services. We are hoping that through awareness that someone may be helped through this tragedy.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Erin Alane Berg, 36, and Mazey June Berg, 3, Kansas. “They passed away Sunday, August 13, 2017 in Lawrence the result of a senseless act of domestic violence. Erin was born July 13, 1981 in Dubuque, IA and her precious daughter Mazey was born April 29, 2014 in Lawrence, KS. Erin worked for Kizer Cummings Jewelers for 18 years. She was a certified Gemologist. Her last 4 years were spent as a glass artist. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in their names to The Willow Domestic Violence Center of Lawrence, Kansas or the Lawrence Humane Society.” (Read their full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Megan Michelle Moody, 29, Delaware. “Megan Michelle Moody, 29, of Middletown, DE went home to be with our Lord on June 30, 2018, sadly a victim of domestic violence. Megan was very kind and compassionate towards others and had a very tender heart. She was an excellent CNA and was loved by many of her clients. Her death has left a deep void in many hearts and she will be forever missed.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Leaf Keiser Blouin, 51, Vermont. “Leaf Keiser Blouin, 51, died unexpectedly and tragically on October 1, 2017 as a result of domestic violence. Leaf had a wonderful imagination and sense of humor, was a lover of music, books, animals and being outdoors. She was smart, feisty and had a unique outlook on life. She will be missed. Contributions in Leaf’s memory may be made to Voices Against Violence, PO Box 72, St. Albans, VT 05478.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Amy Smith Moore, 37, Alaska. “We shared her successes and challenges along life’s pathway. Amy held several jobs including work on the North Slope and Moose Drop Inn, which was a bed and breakfast in Wasilla created and managed by Amy. Amy had been married for almost two years and was a victim of domestic violence and abuse and loved beyond most limits. Amy was 37, and her visit was shorter than anyone expected. Amy had a passion for camping, horses, dogs, hats and scarves. Amy could quit a job and get rehired by the same employer.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Stephanie Burtnett Williams, 50, Pennsylvania. “She was tragically taken from us by an act of domestic violence. Working from home allowed her to become the most extraordinary mother to her twins. She dedicated her time as co-leader for Maddison’s Girl Scout Troop. She was devoted to her children, family and friends. Stephanie loved crafting, camping, and being surrounded by loved ones. She was our family’s fearless leader, our biggest supporter and our greatest friend. Stephanie will be missed by the hearts of so many; her family has awarded her the title of Warrior Hero Angel.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Diane Marie Bailey, 43, Virginia. “Diane Marie Gaylord Bailey, a young woman with three young adult daughters, died on Sunday, November 26, 2017, at home, a victim of alleged domestic violence. Some of her favorite things included her puppy dogs, the color purple, coloring books and roller coasters. She loved people, especially her daughters, and just wanted to be loved herself. She struggled and beat an addiction habit of more than 17 years before her death.” (Read her full obituary here.)
R.I.P. Selena Teresita Hidalgo Calderon, 18, New York. “It was in the Wayne County orchard where she was last employed that Selena was found dead on May 23, 2018. Selena had previously sought support as a survivor of domestic violence. Her one-year old son Owen is still missing.
“We urge all who read her story to remember her, as we do, and to reflect on the circumstances that made for her tragic death. We each can play a role to prevent this from happening to anyone else. If you suspect a woman is the victim of domestic violence, tell someone. Don’t leave her alone. If a woman seems to be suffering in silence, say something. But more importantly, if you can do anything to help end the cycle of government violence that relegates immigrant women and children to suffer in silence and in the shadows, do so. How Selena lived her short life teaches us all what it means to demand dignity and the right to happiness even when the conditions of life imposed by governments and heartless men want to rob us of our light.” (Read her full obituary here.)
If you are in an unsafe relationship, or if you are concerned about a friend or family member who is experiencing domestic violence, you can seek help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has advocates available to talk to you via phone at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or via online chat.