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barbtries a blog
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
complicated grieving
[the executive director at my grief counseling wants a letter...this is just a beginning and just a draft]

As my grief counselor has advised on more than one occasion, the grief that assails the bereft mother of a murder victim is "complicated." After over two years of bereavement, I believe that I have some insight into the nature of the "complications" that contribute to this bereavement engendering the most painful and protracted grief, a grief that may permanently defy efforts toward recovery, but at best will demand a mourning period that will be counted in months and years rather than days and weeks. The following are some issues and realities that have to my mind "complicated' my efforts to rebound from the loss of my daughter, Bekah, on 07-19-01. These are issues of sensitivity and education and are assuaged by attendance at grief counseling, where the feelings of the bereaved are never invalidated.

1. Humans are wired by nature to bury anyone and everyone in their life, except their children [or grandchildren].
This reality seems fairly obvious to me...before my daughter was killed I knew that losing a child would be the ultimate catastrophe [while harboring in my subconscious the absolute confidence that I would always die before my children]. It has therefore been a surprise to learn that a substantial percentage of the population is apparently convinced that the death of one's child is no more harrowing than, say, the death of a husband, or a parent. I have found that parents by and large are more readily capable of grasping the fact that they cannot know how terrible the loss is [unless and until they experience it], whereas I have actually had one young person say to me [my daughter was killed by a car], "Oh, I know, I remember when my puppy ran into the street and got run over...." as if this was a common bond we shared.

2. Humans are not supposed to kill each other.
Again, it comes as a bit of a surprise to me that some people have not grasped the fact that when one's child is killed at the hands of another person, the bereaved will have a rougher time than if that child had died of natural causes or even by accident [it is my opinion that had my daughter killed herself my grief would have been more unmanageable yet, than it has proven to be since she was murdered]. People sometimes like to say that Bekah's death was "god's will," but in the case of murder that position is unsustainable I believe, consequently I was insulted instead of comforted when this platitude was offered. As I protested to anyone who would listen in the first weeks after Bekah's death, "My mother used to always say, 'when your number's up it's up. But when it's murder, it's more like when your number's not up it's up."

This complicating factor brings with it other realities, besides the loss of the child, that will probably prolong the grieving process. These realities include the involvement of law enforcement and if the perpetrator is caught, the Court system. Every Court date found me "losing" it for about a week before its occurrence. In Bekah's case, we could never see her again due to the damage done by her killer.

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