Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Homicide grief a Year Later

This is an edited version of a post I posted in my first blog.

Last March while writing about homicide grief, my grief was still very raw. Now, a year later it's still raw. The biggest difference is I've seem to have come out of what I can only describe as a zombie phase. For many months after we lost my daughter in law I was a zombie. I met people and attended fundraisers and was simply there. I didn't feel an active part of any of it. It was just all happening around me and I don't feel as if I contributed much other than my presence and of course, watching the babies.

I have hardened up some. I still cry quite often but not nearly as openly as I used to. I've become used to the newspaper articles and the news reels. Over this past New Years, one of the news reels proclaimed my daughter in law's story to be "the saddest story of 2008" at least locally. And I didn't cry.

Well wait a minute. I take that back. I did cry. But I cried on the inside. I read somewhere someone describe homicide grief saying "it's as if you're bleeding on the inside" and that's so true. It's a perfect description.

I also read that you don't get over it, you simply adjust. Or maybe someone told me that. I can't remember. But that's basically true too.

Anyhow, I believe I've come out of that zombie phase. I feel that "fog" lifting. Maybe it's because the holidays are finally over. Maybe it's because it's been a year. I don't know.

But as far as the pain? It's still as raw as it was a year ago. I still feel as if "I'm bleeding on the inside". And maybe it's because I'm no longer in the zombie phase, I feel it all more keenly.

One of the best things about being out of the zombie phase is being able to recognize all the good people out there. So many people trying to help. So many who are willing to listen to me. Yes, there are those who are sick and tired of the story and wish the story would go away. The woman who said "well, at least now you know other people have problems too"....... Well, I know not to talk to her about it anymore. I don't think she intended to be mean, it just came out as being mean. Maybe I do talk about it too much. It certainly absorbs all my thoughts. The sad thing is, I wasn't even talking about Denise. I was talking about that poor unfortunate golf pro who's life ended so abruptly.

People say you are your thoughts. Hmmmm...... Well crap. No wonder I'm such a mess.

And it's not so much just this. It seems that every week something else happens. It's such a roller coaster. One day you feel maybe not elated but at least at peace and the next day you feel like someone stepped on you again.

So anyway I'm seeing things a bit more clearly now. And I believe that's a good thing.

So many people who experience tragedies like ours have turned their tragedies into positive changes and hopes for other victims in either preventing future tragedies or with helping the victims families.

On a local level, I look at people like the leader of our Parents of Murdered Children support group. And wow! How inspiring is she! To give of yourself month after month by being there for others. And believe me, no matter how tragic it all is, there is comfort in numbers. You don't wish tragedy on anyone and it saddens you to know there are others out there experiencing the raw pain you are but being able to have someone hug you that "truly understands" is the greatest gift. IMO. You have family and friends who love you more than anything, but you know they don't quite understand even though you know they want to. Anyhow, this support group she brought about in our area won't bring her son back. But in a way it does. In a spiritual sense it brings him back for her. She knows that if she wants to talk about him, cry about him or rage about what happened to him no one is going to minimalize her pain and say "get over it". So, anyway, she's doing something truly wonderful for other people. And I applaud her for it.

On a national level, of course, John Walsh has got to be one of the most inspiring individuals in the country if not the world. And still after 27 years he still cries over his little boy. And of course, there are so many others we all know about.

Look at Shawn Hornbeck's family. They never gave up hope and are now not only coping with mending their family, they too are reaching out to others offering support and comfort.

Turning tragedy and anger into positive hope for others.

My son, of course, has started the a foundation in honor and memory of my daughter in law promoting solutions to 9-1-1 mishaps which was inspired by the overwhelming support of our community. There was so much money raised for him and the babies. And he took a large chunk of it to start this foundation to bring about improvement in 9-1-1 centers. It was his way of giving back to a community that gave us so much. And he wants to reach out to other families who have experienced similar tragedies. What a dragon he's taking on. It hasn't been easy for my son to continually put his pain on display in the media. But he knows my daughter in law's story and other stories need to be heard. My husband has been spending hours and hours researching 9-1-1 issues and is in contact with 9-1-1 industry people on a daily basis offering help where he can. My husband does the research and my son goes on shows and speaks.

What I'm trying to figure out now that I'm out of my zombie phase, is where am I going and what am I going to do to help bring positive hope and light to others. I don't know.

I do know that I'm only a support player in this tragedy. It's my son and daughter in law's story and I just have a support role. And maybe that's what I need to continue doing. Just being here, supporting, loving, holding the family together, and watching the babies!

I did delve pretty heavily into the 9-1-1 debacle of how our local 9-1-1 center totally screwed up. I still believe it was a cover up or intended to be a cover up. Why else wouldn't they have contacted the other police dept which had jurisdiction about the call? I'll never give up in the battle of exposing what they tried to do.

We just want so much not to have seen my daughter in law die in vain. The murderer certainly killed her. He shot her in the head. But the 9-1-1 center messed up bad. If we can help another family not go through a similar situation all the efforts will have been worth it.

Anyhow, thanks for listening again! Much peace and love to all.

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