The Story of a Beautiful Soul, Nicole Schiffman

By Cheryl Schiffman


Nicole Blake Schiffman was born August 6, 1987. Even as a baby you could see the warmth in her eyes and her bubbly personality right from the start. She grew up to be an extraordinary daughter, a loving sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and most of all, an amazing friend. Throughout her life she understood the importance of family and friends and truly valued those relationships. Although she had a serious side, which she expressed in her writings and poems, it was Nicole’s playfulness which drew people to her. Her friends knew her as the comedian of the group, always up for fun and excitement. Her most endearing quality was her contagious laughter and smile that could brighten anyone’s day. Nicole truly knew how to appreciate the little things in life and not take herself too seriously. Nicole was compassionate and it came naturally to her to reach out to others and always be there for anyone who had an issue or problem that needed to be listened to. Her heart was so big, and she always made each person feel special, recognizing their own unique qualities. While attending her senior year at Kennedy High School she was named best personality in her yearbook, for which she was editor.   She loved to write poetry about the world including war and the hypocrisy of our pop culture. She was wise beyond her years, which was the side of her that came through in her writings.


One of Nicole’s friends describes her as the kind of person that wants to be there for everyone. She was the person to call if you needed a favor or advice. She was the person who remembered everyone’s birthday and downplayed her own. I think this is because she was always concerned with others and did not care about the attention for herself. She was an angel. Her six best friends from high school describe Nicole as a woman with the biggest heart on earth. They said “the one eternal gift that she has left us all is her contagious uplifting laughter that will remain in our minds forever.” Her laughter and smile could brighten anyone’s darkest day. Nicole always said that when people die they become living legends, but even before her death she was a living legend to us. Nicole was the youngest of six cousins who grew up together with a unique bond. They describe Nicole as always going out her way to show how much she cared and loved them. Nicole knew the lesson that family came first and always did with her. She was a beautiful person inside and out and we were truly blessed to be her family. Nicole was a loving little sister and best friend to her older sister Lindsey. They didn’t have any jealousy towards one another which was rare. She was a giving compassionate daughter who will always be in our hearts.


She passed too soon at nineteen and a half and touched the lives of so many in her short time on earth.


Jane Bell shares her thoughts about her life after losing her daughter Jennifer Bell…


This past weekend, my husband, Jon, was working in West Palm Beach and as he sometimes does, he asked if I wanted to come down . Since the passing of my daughter, Jennifer, the pattern has been, as time always came closer to leaving for a trip (usually the morning of), I would find some reason not to go. Jenn was only 15 when she passed and therefore, whenever we flew anywhere or went anywhere…she would be by my side!   Well here we were, this past Thursday, Feb.7th, and my flight was at 5 PM. The snow storm was just around the corner and I was starting to use that for my reason not to go. “You know how much I LOVE the SNOW” ETC… I CAN ‘T leave our (Jenn’s) dog Rosie…etc…. Who will take care of the house? Who will shovel our driveway and sidewalk? AGAIN, I LOVE THE SNOW, IT NEVER REALLY SNOWS A LOT!!!!! My husband listened the night before to all of it and said “Okay, I will just come home when I finish working on Thursday night.” I said that I didn’t know what to do, and he just left me alone.


In our original plans, a taxi was picking me up at 3:00 PM. I went out all morning and even got a manicure at 12:30! Our really good friend/neighbor offered to watch Rosie. I came home to start to pack, still thinking I could always not go. As I began to pack, I started to feel like I actually couldn’t breathe. My heart was pounding somewhere up in my throat. I went on to pack knowing that I probably wasn’t walking out the door. “I’ll just pack, I will say that I tried. No one will fault me, after all, I really never ever went anywhere without Jenn. We were one and the same. If I stay home I actually function pretty well. Just can’t do the vacation thing?!?! No reason that I can put my finger on.” I packed and not one person called me, not even my husband, until 3:00 PM. He called to say, the taxi should be there.


I replied, “I can’t do it, I just cannot!!” I THINK I AM nuts..I can’t breath, the snow, the dog….we hung up. The taxi pulled into the driveway. I opened the door and said one minute…took the dog out for the last time and got into the cab. I still couldn’t catch my breath. I was Zombie like. This was So Not Me!! I was still thinking all the way to the airport that I could still turn around. Jon would understand. I could go another time, just not this trip! I got out of the cab feeling totally disconnected to myself. The driver gave my bag to the curbside check in and I was pointed in the direction I should walk. It was the same direction I had walked so many times before with Jennifer. (We used to fly back and forth between New York and Florida several times a year). After passing all the familiar places, I reached my gate and got on the plane. The flight went by very fast, you see, I sat beside a woman who now lives behind the house we used to live in, when we lived all those years in Atlantic Beach! We chatted all the way to Boca, where Jon was waiting for me the same way he used to wait for US to arrive. The hotel was lovely and I had a really nice time! The weekend went by quickly and when I came home all was fine. Driveway was cleared and Rosie was great and happy to see us.


I guess the point of this story is as much as we may not want to face life, it faces us. Always in our time, each and every one of us hopefully will be able to face our individual challenges. Only when we face them will we realize how much easier each one becomes. Not all at once, and maybe some parts of life will take longer to go back to than others, but hopefully with each step it will become a little bit easier.