Violent Loss Resources Newsletter

April 1, 2016 (No fooling!)

News you can use


Dealing with the News Media/Social Media
Resource of the Month—VSS
“The Journey” Is a Finalist in IBPA Book Awards
Question of the Month—”Latest News” Triggers/Alerts
Candlelight Vigil Update

Topic of the Month: Dealing with the News Media

This is an important topic and one which few are prepared for. Here  is an excerpt from Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources:

We can’t choose to not have this horrible thing happen to us. . . . But we can choose how we react to it. Please respect our need to be alone and . . . have that personal time to continue on our journey of grief in the way that serves us.

—First Selectman Pat Llodra, Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 9, 2013

Where to Begin?webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500web
It would be a mistake to not guide you in describing your loved one. In preparation for working with others, it is important to identify who your loved one was and what you want others to know about them. The public is learning about what happened to your loved one. It is important that you have some say about who they were. Write down who they were: at home, at school or work, and in community involvement. What did they do for fun? What was important to them?

Many of our survivors tell us that no one asked this question before. The focus has been on what happened, who did it, and what is the update on the search for justice. This question is vital when it comes to dealing with the news media, social media, and others. It may be very hard to talk about your loved one’s life as their death absorbs your focus and attention.

It may be useful to have conversations with other people who knew them, too: family members, friends, neighbors, peers. Ask people to write down what they remember. We provide many tips and ideas from a variety of sources for you and your family to use as a guide in dealing with the news and social media later in this chapter.

Read more in Chapter Three in Murder Survivor’s Handbook for more information.

Resource of the Month: Victim Support Services (VSS) in Everett, Washington.

I had IMG_2325the opportunity to visit this organization in February, and was greeted with a warm reception and a tour of their facilities. Their ability to partner and collaborate with their community was shown at their annual Breakfast/Lunch Event attended by Prosecutors, other Criminal Justice Agencies, Survivors, Service Agencies and the News Media.

Go visit them and say Hi. By partnering and collaboration with other like agencies and professionals, our service to Crime Victims can only be strengthened.

Marge Fairweather - VSS

Marge Fairweather

VSS Executive Director Marge Fairweather (right) has steered a strong course with many partners. VSS has experienced considerable growth over the years and serves all crime victims by managing Washington State’s Crime Victim Service Center 24 hours a day. They have met the challenge of serving a large area as their staff of service providers, advocates and volunteers are located in several surrounding counties.



The_Journey_front_cover web

The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Death, by Connie Saindon, is a finalist in the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Awards. This self-help book leads people through a healing process after losing a family member or friend in a violent death. The winners will be announced on April 8.

Last year, Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources, also by Connie Saindon, won the Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in the Self-Help category.

Both books were edited by Larry Edwards and published by Wigeon Publishing.



Question of the Month

How are you impacted and what do you do when you hear of the latest news of violent death such as a murder of mass shooting?

One of my clinical interns, Erin Falvey said that she no longer watched the news on TV. She was exposed to the real stories of the clients we served who had lost someone in a violent way at the Survivors of Violent Loss Program . Instead she read the news on the computer. Her very adaptive choice gave her some distance from the emotional content of images and words. Today she is a successful executive director at a nonprofit agency.

I wrote a poem, “I will Cry Again,” which is included in the Murder Survivor’s Handbook, expresses how we all get triggered by new events; it is the nature of trauma. Creativity can come from devastating events. Many who never claimed such talents are surprised at what they can do.

Doing nothing doesn’t seem to be a good answer as the stress of these events continue to add on to previous events, whether you live or work with violent death. Marilyn Amour’s work at the University of Texas in Austin reveals that “taking deliberate action” can provide meaning for many.

This is a conversation that would help us all to continue to have. There are  many examples here. Please send us what your experience is and what you do. What you report just may help someone else. (See below for contact information.)

Annual JSCK Candlelight Vigil Follow-Up

I don’t know Melina Phillips Sellers as much as many of you do. Most of us know the story that has forever linked us to her, though. You will find more about her and her son’s friend at The Jonathan Sellers & Charlie Keever Foundation website.

When she asked me to attend her annual JSCK Candlelight Vigil last month, I learned of a wisdom that she and her team have. I was truly impressed with the honor guard of Buffalo Soldiers at the event and the airy, soothing work of a team of dancers. The wisdom of using cultural and healing methods interspersed with listening to difficult realities was very creative and helpful to the attendees.

The Foundation she represents has many endeavors, so please let her know you would love to support her and learn more about the important work she and her team are doing.

Milena Sellers Phillips and Connie Saindon

Milena Sellers Phillips and Connie Saindon

Hawaiian dancers.

Hawaiian dancers

Participants in the 2016 JSCK Candlelight Vigil

Participants in the 2016 JSCK Candlelight Vigil













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 What you missed last month:

Grief and Trauma: Self-Care Tips
Arizona Homicide Survivors Program
New Book: The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Death
Question of the Month: Funeral Services


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Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon:
Larry Edwards: