By David Coy
Often grief from a sudden, violent loss is more intense. It can be more exaggerated and it is more complicated. Often the surviving loved one is presented with unresolved circumstances surrounding the loss. This produces more questions without answers than with. Of course, king of all questions is why? Other questions might be, “What happened, when, and under what circumstances?” I am told that violent loss such as homicide carries with it a stigmatism. I know suicide does within society. A person may experience a loss of support or be viewed or treated differently because of the way the loss occurred. Frequently, survivors experience cognitive dissonance. This happens when two or more conflicting beliefs or values exist at the same time. A person who loses a loved one by violent means may mentally recognize they are dead but still search for them in the area where they died. In shock they are conflicted because a part of them is in disbelief of the reality about the death and the way they died. Anger also being a powerful emotion may rise in the surviving family member. Be careful it does not consume you. Complicating grief more is the involvement of the legal system, media, etc.
How can and should we help those who are struggling with this horrific loss? First, do not follow after the stigmatism. Treat each person as an individual of worth and value. Second, be aware of the probability of complicated variables in the loss and death. Third, use patient endurance in support of the survivors circumstances. Fourth, support them as long as they need.
This is Sunrise Aftercare, firstname.lastname@example.org.