Throwback Thursday floods Facebook with pictures of the past, most of them showing
styles that are out of style and big smiles that seem to last forever. When I was browsing
through the news feed yesterday, I noticed a picture of a former co-worker, face beaming
while embracing a friend.
The caption was written by her friend: "Good times with Alissa. I miss her everyday.
I know she's smiling up there."
My heart sank and jaw hit the floor. The words "smiling up there." could only mean
one thing. I quickly went to her Facebook page and saw other phrases that confirmed
what I was thinking.
"Lord knows how many angels are celebrating up there with you."
"I picture you eating red velvet cake and smiling down on us."
I couldn't believe it. I quickly Googled her name and up came the headline in the Boston
Globe that drove a stake into my heart.
Alissa Bigelow, 38; hosted cooking show, taught yoga.
Sweet, beautiful, funny, and bubbly Alissa Bigelow was gone at the age of 38. She was
tiny in size but big in personality. We worked together at NESN in Boston where she
was loved by everybody. She edited many of the features I wrote, produced, and reported
on. We spent countless hours in the editing bay laughing hysterically while trying to
make deadline every single night.
She always had a great story to tell and it often came before finishing up our work. One
night Alissa failed to complete a three-minute feature another reporter had done on the
Celtics and I was forced to ad-lib as an anchor for three-minutes, which in television
seems like three hours. But how could I get mad at Alissa, she was the sweetest girl
in the building.
Through our long hours in the editing bay, we discovered we had more in common
than the place we worked. She was from Darien, CT., which bordered my hometown
of New Canaan. They are virtually the same type of town with the same type of people.
There's only a border there to separate the BMW's from the Mercedes'. She also
graduated from the University of Southern California where my sister attended.
As I continued to read her obituary, I saw the words I feared searing. "She took her
Alissa Bigalow seemed to have it all. She was smart, beautiful, funny, and as bubbly
as the champagne uncorked on New Year's Eve. Alissa also had a precious young
daughter that is a carbon copy of her. Her then-husband Ned, is a man's man who looks
like something on the cover of "Men's Health" magazine.
Behind that pretty face and effervescent smile was the type of pain that became too
unbearable to endure. We are all shocked when a person so young with a brilliant
personality takes their own life, but we can't see the inferno and chaos that tears
a person up inside. We see the mile-wide smile and figure everything is all
It wasn't for Alissa.
She just couldn't overcome her personal demons.
In this day and age with social media and instant information, I was surprised I
missed the news of her passing. The NESN family is a strong one that is connected
strongly on Facebook and nobody had mentioned it. I asked several former co-workers
and they didn't know about Alissa's passing, either.
The date of the article on Alissa's death said November 2013.
How did we all miss it? I feel terribly that I couldn't say good-bye to her.
I do know this: I will miss her dearly. She is the type of person you meet once
and remember her forever.
Alissa Bigelow was a wonderful person. I know she is up there free from her demons,
smiling down on all us. Alissa, I just wish you knew how much you were truly loved.