Paul Ramos

In February of 2013, my children and I lost my husband to suicide.  I remember how overwhelmed I felt dealing with the shock and disbelief from this unexpected loss.  I was living in a haze those first few weeks and months, and I felt so very alone and lost.  There were a million things to do and take care of, and I didn’t know where to begin, let alone know how to make myself do them.

In the months following my husband’s death, I received so much: offers to babysit, gift cards for quick meals with the kids, visits from friends just so I wouldn’t be alone.  My neighbor shoveled my driveway, another mowed my lawn.  My mom and coworkers made countless meals, and one day an SUV pulled up to my house with a haul unlike any other from Costco.  I was blessed to have a step-mother that went with me to my husband’s work to gather his belongings and talk to HR about his benefits.  She stood by my side as I closed bank accounts in his name and transferred ownership in his vehicle to my name alone.  

I didn’t realized it at the time, but looking back, I now know how extremely lucky I was.  Not lucky because I lost my husband, but lucky because I had such an outpouring of love and support coming from my friends, family and co-workers.  And as luck would have it, I am also a CPA specializing in estates, so I at least had that piece of the puzzle under control.

As I recovered from my haze and started figuring out how to live life in a new way, I started to wonder how I would have gotten through it without help.  Eventually, through a local support group, I began to meet other survivors and realized that not everyone is lucky enough to have a neighbor to mow the lawn those first couple of weeks, or be able to afford the co-pays for counseling.  Not everyone is familiar with how to file a tax return in the year of death or what to do with an inherited 401K plan.  That’s when I decided that I had to repay the generosity that was shown to me and use the knowledge that I have to help other survivors.  If the DES Foundation can give someone just one less thing to have to worry about, we will have accomplished our goal.

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