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Mother and sons’ fresh start

The Staples family, left to right: Joanna, Preston (13) and Grayson (8).

Halloween weekend marked two years since Joanna Staples and her two sons Preston (13) and Grayson (8) moved to Castle Pines. “We needed to start over,” recalled Staples. “Castle Pines was a place that was far enough away, but not too far.”

On May 2, 2019, Joanna’s husband, Sergeant Tom Staples, tragically died by suicide, at the age of 46, in the family’s Highlands Ranch home. At the time, Joanna was 38, left with the unthinkable task of raising two young children without their father.

“We still have our tough days where we are like, ‘this one is rough’,” shared Staples.

Tom Staples was a husband, a father and a sergeant with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

What helps her navigate each day is knowing that she is not alone. “I could not get through it without my family,” said Staples. “As they say, ‘it takes a village,’ and it truly takes a village.”

A village that includes other grieving women, including Mandie Wright, who also unexpectedly lost her husband, Scott, almost three years ago.

“I raised my hand in an email after the conference because I was sitting there on the spot,” shared Wright. “I feel this might be something I want to do, but I’m not sure; then because Joanna and I are in the dinner group together, I told her, ‘we’re doing this’.” The Denver chapter had its first meet and greet over the summer at Journey Church in Castle Pines. The group meets monthly and focuses on a specific topic that widow’s generally face along the healing path.

Before his long-standing career at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Tom Staples served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps. Staples shared Tom’s platoon number was 1117, and the family’s new address is 7111. “This is him telling us this is where we need to be,” said Staples. “We talk about him all the time; he’s still here with us.”

Nestled in a peaceful neighborhood, Staples and her sons are rebuilding a life very different than they


Mandie Wright and JoAnna Staples lead the Denver chapter of Never Alone. They both became widows in 2019.

imagined, making new memories and starting new traditions, one day at a time. Tom Staples was a husband, a father and a sergeant with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

“Now we’re settled and we’re doing well, and we’re actually starting to thrive,” Staples admitted. “Moving was one of the best decisions we could have made.” If you’re a widow or know someone who is (any stages and ages are welcome), follow @neveralonewidows_denver on Instagram.


By Mindy Stone Tappan; photos courtesy of Joanna Staples




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