Crime victims do not have the label emblazoned on their foreheads, but they might as well once their circle of friends and co-workers know what has occurred. They carry on with the business of life, but how can you?
When the crime and the loss of your loved one first occurs, your entire world has been turned upside down and inside out. You retreat; you’re numb, in shock and disbelief. You “have an idea” what should occur with the police and the judicial system as you are smart and keep up with current events (or so you think.)
You are either a doer and try to arrange, organize, and call investigators twice a day for the latest information (that they cannot divulge), all in an attempt to postpone the gut wrenching grief …Or you are condemned to the couch in a fetal position looking for a reason to go on.
Your family members are “all over the place” with their emotions. They want to talk about it, or not at all, they try to seek comfort in their own ways and may resist your attempts to band together in solidarity. If relationships are strained to begin with, thrusting people into this incomprehensible situation can fuel the fire. It is the rare family who can put aside their differences and be troopers in the face of violent crime. However, it is possible. Such complex dynamics remind me of the classic movie “The Big Chill”: (Part 1 of 6) A bunch of misfit college friends are thrown together over the loss of their friend’s suicide.
After violent crime, your friends and co-workers are supposed to be your anchors, right? Well, not really!
Co-workers and friends may secretly feel that the family did not take measures to prevent or intercede, that they were somehow partially responsible.
If the case is high-profile with the media, there are ever-present reminders, innuendo, rumor and misinformation.
Knowing that your average adult attention span is fleeting for “normal conversation,” how do you engage with them repeatedly with your tragedy? How can they possibly relate? How can they sympathize? Unless they have been through it, they cannot. You do not know it, but you are a burden to the workings of other’s normalcy! It’s not you! It’s they who are so uncomfortable! It is not your job to make them feel comfortable when you are actively grieving.
One of my favorite sayings for this intersection of life was that after the homicide “the casseroles stopped coming after two weeks.” Yup, two weeks is the average attention span for those who cannot relate!
Therefore, you MUST change-up your friends for those you grieve with and have a common bond with, such as a crime victim’s support group become your true friends, your surrogate family for as long as you need them! However, for some, there is that temptation to take on the victim identity for too long, unable to establish a “new normal.” BEWARE my friends of the pitfalls of grief! The pitfalls can “eat you up and spit you out for dinner” if you do not have the proper guidance to help you navigate for the long haul.
It is rough terrain indeed! Even thirty plus years down the trail, I am not perfect. I wear the scars of vulnerabilities and some regrets for which I have no control. Ahhh, but wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to dance again, “just like at the end of the Big Chill” movie despite the tragedy that has occurred. It is sign of healing, if only for a minute! Who wants to dance with me? The Big Chill Dance Scene:
With that said another aspect of the aftermath of crime whose drum cannot be beaten enough, is the task and importance of the Victim Impact Statement which can, if carefully crafted, change the outcome of sentencing and any former thoughts of prisoner release with the proper assistance.
Contact me if interested! https://donnagore.com/victim-impact-statement-assistance/