Monday, January 30, 2017

Surviving A Partner’s Homicide

Spend 24 hours in my shoes as a victim of gun violence and I guarantee you will never look at guns the same way again.  ~ Bill Jenkins

A reader writes: I lost my significant other of 6 years only 4 months ago. We shared 4 children together and life is just not the same. I can't figure out why I am numb, frozen and slowing down. Things have gotten very hard, I truly don't want to express how hard. The pain I feel is crazy but I keep striving to be positive and to also find a new identity in this process. Nothing is the same.
I started a blog Surviving Grief dedicated to him in hopes of finding other women (or anyone) who has lost their partner because I feel very alone in my battle. I wanted to express my feelings truthfully and freely amongst individuals in hopes to connect and help heal. I lost Damian to murder so connecting with people who understand that part as well were my hopes. Id like to hear other stories and also have the wisdom of others as well. Hopefully writing to you can help, but I would love for other women to connect and share their stories as well and hear me vent.

My response: My dear, I’ve just read your post The Funeral Director on your blog, which describes so vividly some of the horror you’ve experienced in the wake of this tragic death, and my heart just hurts for you. I am so sorry to learn the details of this sudden, tragic and violent loss of your beloved Damian, and sorry too for the traumatic cloud surrounding you and your children in its wake. I cannot imagine the rage you must feel, not only at the perpetrator of this crime, but also at the apparent indifference of the people you’ve encountered in the funeral industry as well as those in law enforcement.

You say you hope to connect with people who understand this particular type of loss. Because this was a death by homicide, I want to point you to some resources that I hope you’ll find especially relevant and useful.

I encourage you as a survivor of homicide to learn as much as you can about the subject. See, for example, My Daughter Was Murdered, which describes issues unique to survivors of homicide. Take a look at the book What to Do When the Police Leave by Bill Jenkins; see also Bill’s Web site, WBJ Press and Will’s World.

Another helpful and informative book is No Time For Goodbyes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger, and Injustice After a Tragic Death, by Janice Harris Lord. (Click on the books’ titles to read Amazon’s descriptions and reviews of each; if either one interests you, ask for it at your local library.)

Empowering Bereaved Families is an article from Open to Hope that features a video interview with two people who lost a loved one to murder. One of the guests went on to form Violent Crime Victim Services, which seeks to provide services in the community for the victim/survivors of homicide. Healing After Murder is another informative article and video on Open to Hope’s website.

The Violent Death Bereavement Society offers information for family members after violent death. Another organization is NOVA – Network of Victim Assistance, with an article that vividly describes all the losses and drastic changes involved, because of the suddenness of the death and the stigma of the murder itself.

Victims to Victory is a non-profit organization whose Christian faith-based mission is to help victims of crime and their families move from crisis to comfort through direct services and outreach, community education and training, and collaboration with the faith and victim service communities.

See also the many links I have listed on the Traumatic Loss page of my Grief Healing website. Such sites will assure you that you are not alone in this tragedy, will offer you some ways to better understand and manage your grief, and will help you to recognize that if others can survive this most devastating of losses, then you can do it, too.

My dear, I don’t mean to overwhelm you with too much information. I offer these resources to demonstrate to you that you are not alone in this horrific loss, as there are many places “out there” where you’ll find useful information and support. If you don’t have the energy or the time to investigate any or all of them, you might ask a family friend or relative who’d be willing to help you do the research.

The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to acknowledge that you cannot do this alone. You've already taken the first step by sharing your story here and on your blog, and I hope that you will follow through with some of these additional resources. My heart reaches out to you, and I wish for peace and healing to your broken heart. 

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below. If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing NewsletterSign up here.

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