Topic of the Month
It ain’t over when it’s over!
Survivor families look forward to getting their lives back to normal when sentencing has taken place or the case is on hold or solved in different way. When time becomes more of their own design and not controlled by steps in the justice process many realize their normal world has changed. They may experience: continued involvement with criminal justice, health problems that demand notice, intense imagery that seems to come from nowhere, angry outbursts surprise them, increased fear of crime and safety issues for themselves, family and friends, relationship changes, career changes, loss of faith, social isolation, family dysfunction and more. The time to pay attention to the emotional toll is now front and center.
Bravo. It’s a topic that needs to be discussed more, because the conventional attitude has always been “get over it.” But mental health professionals and scientists have recognized that PTSD can cause irreparable damage to the brain and change a person’s behavior—not for the better. (Larry Edwards)
When the verdict of “Guilty” was read in court, we experienced an immediate sense of relief. That step was finally over. But it seems that within minutes, a feeling of emptiness came over each of us with the realization that we still wouldn’t get our daughter back. I hadn’t consciously had this thought before and of course my mind knew it was impossible, but the emptiness prevailed. We hadn’t discussed as a family what our next step would be . . . (Evelyn)
Criminal Justice System Involvement continues . . .
Victims’ Rights and Services Do Not End at Sentencing. Changes have been made so that the former victims’ rights and services that included only front-end services now include back-end rights and services, such as the right to be notified of the prisoner whereabouts.
VINE Link (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) is an online national network that allows you, 24 hours a day, to obtain timely and reliable information on prisoners. You can register to be notified by phone, email, or text message when an offender’s custody status changes . https://www.vinelink.com/
Traumatic grief will show itself in a variety of ways unique for each person. It is not about individual weakness; it is about experiencing an event that is beyond everyday experiences. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal event, a devastating experience for all who lose someone to murder. My research shows that depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were found most frequently as long-term difficulties experienced by survivors. Survivors not may reach out for help from counselors until many months or years after the death of their loved one.
Save the Date: April 8 & 9, 2017
Traumatic Grief After Violent Dying
Two-day conference featuring both national and local leaders and survivors. Program will be designed for clinicians and professionals who work with violent death. Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Separation and Loss Services leader Edward Rynearson, MD, and UCSD Medical Schools Sid Zisook, MD, come together to put this workshop on with funding support from the Caldera/Saindon Grant. Details to follow. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure your name is on the list for notification.
Question of the Month
What are your tips for helping survivors once the case or trial has been set aside?
What have you seen survivors do that helped?
Example: Do not twist yourself into a pretzel trying to extract something positive out of something that is truly bad. Sometimes things are just plain awful. (Marina)
Resource of the Month
To help answer the Question of the Month, I have two resources for you. Some get involved in activities such as changing legislation; for example, Mothers Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Some survivors get involved by providing support and educational information to new survivors, such as Survivors of Homicide, Inc. , a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization that provides support, counseling, and advocacy to family and friends of homicide victims
My name is Jessica Pizzano and I am with Survivors of Homicide Inc. I have recently purchased “Murder Survivors Handbook” and I just wanted to thank you so much for putting together such a wonderful book. I have started utilizing it with my clients and it has been extremely helpful.
Hailia says: There is a strength and resilience to the depths of my soul that I developed out of sheer survival after the loss of my sister.
A Mother Gone—by Yvonne
Life was so unfair
Why? There are no answers
Though I try desperately
You are not nameless forgotten
A best friend, my hero,
Time goes by the ache is still there
I look for your smile, a laugh anything to erase a last memory
I fight for you though the past cannot be changed
anger at a man who doesn’t care
Topic of the Month contains excerpts from Murder Survivor’s Handbook written for and by those who live and work with life after murder. Available on Amazon.com.
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