Homicide Isn’t “Uplifting”

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The title of this blog – such is the refrain of book store owners, Christian oriented businesses, coffee house venues etc.  What’s an author to do? They don’t get it!

Definition of Uplifting – “Morally or spiritually elevating; Inspiring happiness or hope”

People who are not impacted by crime cringe at the mere mention of murder. They may not watch the news as “It’s all bad.” “It makes me sad.” “I want to protect my children.”  Well, their “Candyland existence” does not work when pitted against the realities of life.

The key is balance – To expose ourselves and our children to the realities, to be proactive, but not be possessed or obsessed by the evils, to appreciate, to have empathy, to get involved with a cause that is related in order to change the world for the better!

Granted, it is very challenging for adults to make sense of the seeming random, senseless violence happening all around us.  How can we possibly explain to our children?  The act of murder, is not uplifting whatsoever. HOWEVER, the pathway to resolution and the positive byproducts in the aftermath can be very rewarding, enriching and give one’s life real purpose, and meaning that honors your loved one in a way you had never imagined! 

It does our children no favors to overexpose them to the chaos in our world. Nor does it prepare them for life in 2017 to “live in a bubble of your own unrealistic creation.”

Tips to bridge the Gap-

  • Know and appreciate resiliency- Point out examples to your children and try to model it in your own behavior and when you encounter difficult situations. Stress that life is not always happy, but that there is always a way to “find the sunshine on the other side” if you problem solve!
  • Use opportunities to make ourselves and our children aware within our community  “when bad things happen to good people” by participating in  fund raising events, vigils,  marathons, searches, rallies with a  hopeful, positive message;
  • Seize opportunities to meet others – even one person that has a different life experience as a result of crime and make a friend. Your local crime victim advocate may be able to pair you with a person who would best benefit from such a pairing.  Typically someone in the acute phases of grief may really needs someone to listen, not advice, (which can be intense). Alternately, if you meet them with much space and time between the crime and your meeting, you will gain much insight into how others cope…and still manage their life in spite of…It’s amazing what you will learn from such a relationship!
  • Instill hope in the aftermath of crime and tragedy, for that truly is God’s Grace at work;
  • Join a non-profit organization that needs volunteers in order to gain exposure and insight.  The positives far outweigh the crime itself when everyone is working toward a common goal.  Many talents and skills are needed – small and large, so don’t be shy!  You will receive far more than you give, guaranteed!   In addition, you often build lifelong relationships!  One fine example is the  repeated winner of Great Non-Profits.org- The Cue Center for Missing Persons- http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/about/
  • Reviews from Great Non-Profits –  Very Uplifting!  http://greatnonprofits.org/org/community-united-effort-cue

 

Other References –

https://www.amazon.com/Grief-Diaries-Surviving-Loss-Homicide/dp/1944328149

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/uplifting?s=t


DonnaGore-2

Donna R. Gore

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity. Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.co

Filing It Away, or Stirring it Up, Long Term Grief Does NOT Come with Instructions

Crime victim, compassion, Donna R. Gore

A recent Shattered Lives Radio podcast featured frequent guest, Duane Bowers, Licenced Professional Counselor (LPC).  I take pride in featuring cutting edge topics designed to assist victims of crime. Often the emotional pieces are never discussed. Families are mystified about how to deal with truly understanding grief and loss and how it applies to them.

In this podcast, Duane Bowers and I delve into long-term family relationships and the grief that remains. Does it get better or worse? Is grief and loss the tie that binds us so that down the road we are restored in a new way?

Below I pose a “laundry list” of intriguing questions, issues that may be reality or myth for what’s upcoming as you are invited to listen to this valuable show. You may even have a couple of revelations in the furtherance of understanding just what happens after a traumatic loss!

A Sample of What You Will Learn from this Podcast

  • The difference between grief and traumatic loss
  •  What it takes to feel in control
  • The roles family members take on after traumatic loss
  • Nurturing and the meaning and value assigned to an event
  • When the role of an advocate impacts someone who has “filed it away” and emotions get stirred up
  • Expectations in how to grieve
  • Your willingness to change and the effort required versus hanging on to the pain
  • When is the moment of death?
  • Resiliency models and communication styles
  • Will we become a more cohesive family with time, or not?
  • Grief and support resources

click to listen button1

 

“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly


Further information about grief as a victim of crime is available in my book, Grief Diaries: Loss by Homicide, which includes the stories of others who, like you, are traveling this long journey.

Grief Diaries: Loss by Homicide

Donna R. Gore

 

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity. Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

Crying to Cope with Loss

Crying to Cope with Loss

There are myths surrounding the behavior of crying. In American culture, typically crying is viewed as a sign of weakness when in public.  If you are a crime victim, you likely have “cried a river” over time as a means of emotional release and acknowledging your grief. Often the loss is so profound, pervasive, permanent and overwhelming, our bodies’ signal us that we must “let it out,” let the tears flow no matter what the circumstances.  In fact, there are several benefits of crying to share.

We are permitted to cry at weddings. We cry at funerals. We cry at graduations.

However, the most egregious examples of prohibiting crying come to mind when in the courtroom. Institutional decorum is forced upon victims by the criminal justice system when they are at their most vulnerable, using every ounce of strength just to maintain. This is a burdensome challenge and so unnatural. Is it somehow disrespectful to the judge and the court’s time to cry? Why?  Is the judge to be viewed as God Almighty? It’s as if we must be little more than a cardboard figure, a spectator, in the most important game of our lives!

A prominent example is offered here by my friend and colleague Attorney-Advocate Michelle S. Cruz.

In summary, during a very high-profile Massachusetts case in January 2015, a fallen Patriot’s football icon is put on trial for the killing of friend Odin Lloyd. (Although you would never have known about the victim, as the perpetual bad and dangerous “star,” Aaron Hernandez was always, center stage.)  Odin’s mother, Ursula Ward was scheduled to identify photographs of her son’s dead body while on the stand.  The wicked and heartless judge, Susan Garsh, cautioned her “not to cry, to control her emotions.” Had there not been emotion from this grieving mother, the jury surely would have gotten an incorrect impression. As Michelle states, there was no doubt as to whether the murder was committed, but the fact that Hernandez was the perpetrator.   Where was the basic human and victim right of respect and consideration afforded this mother? I believe it went out the window with the rest of the jurisprudence drivel!  I can so relate to this poor woman and what she had to endure.

 

Now on to the benefits of crying – truly!

The least known benefit would probably be a physiologic need- A study performed by Dr. William H. Frey II at the St Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre found that stress-related tears help your body rid itself of nasty chemicals that raise cortisol (the stress hormone). Emotional tears also contain more mood-regulating manganese than the other types. Stress tightens muscles and heightens tension, so when you cry you release some of that. Crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system and restores the body to a state of balance.”    So, it is good to “clean house” so to speak;

You can help ease the pain by freeing yourself of emotional baggage to start anew;

Other claims via my interpretation are: that crying helps you come to terms and perhaps move on from a loss. The act of crying may bring physical relief.  Crying demonstrates vulnerability and may foster a sense of intimacy with others.  It is said that expressing emotions facilitate your inner creativity too!

Another medically related crying is known as PBA – Pseudo-Bulbar Affect – or Emotional Incontinence – in which you exhibit involuntary bouts of uncontrollable crying or laughter.   This is a neurologic problem caused by brain damage such as a CVA- stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, ALS or dementia.  Approximately 2 million people are affected.

Finally, the Japanese are innovators. According to Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA, they are such strong believers in the health benefits of crying that they’ve taken that wisdom to the next level. Some cities in Japan now have “crying clubs” called rui-katsu (meaning “tear-seeking”) in which people come together to indulge in what I’d call,  “group crying fests”

“The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.” ― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

 

 

References: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/9-surprising-benefits-crying-why-its-okay-have-good-cry.html

https://www.pbafacts.com/pba-facts-science

http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/is-crying-good-for-you

How Could You NOT Know? Walking the Tightrope with Sue Klebold

 

Sue Klebold

Sue Klebold
Photo: ABC

When I heard the back story of the upbringing of Dylan Klebold, one of the inspirations for other mass shootings to come, so much of the horrendous tragedy at Columbine gives me pause.

Over a decade and a half is long enough to learn hard lessons about the turmoil of adolescents, but obviously not long enough for parents to slip into complacency, for there was Newtown-Sandy Hook, CT in 2014 and so many mass shootings since Columbine. Again, we weren’t diligent. We weren’t paying sufficient attention.

It’s so easy to blame the parents for ills perpetrated by their children.  However, to compare Nancy Lanza to Sue Kleblod is like comparing the atomic bomb to a firecracker, in my humble opinion.  But, there is no doubt that both mothers were victims of their sons’ crimes in every way imaginable.

What went wrong?

It defies common sense to think that behind closed doors, there wasn’t something terribly wrong going on with Dylan Klebold.  The truth is, so much was going on that was masked, that was internal torment to him alone. So much was  hidden in the shadows; crimes, vicious games, writings, films and plans made in plain sight by the devil duo of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold that spelled a lethal combination.

Therefore, no one single person or set of parents can be blamed.  There were the accomplices in accessing guns for the pair, school system failures by counselors failing to recognize, the criminal justice system letting them off easy for past crimes, the failure of silence, the failure of listening versus lecturing, the failure to put the pieces together regarding  isolation, moodiness, written off as just adolescent behavior,  according to Sue Klebold, recently interviewed by ABC’s Diane Sawyer.

There was a lack of recognition of the full extent of depression leading to suicidal ideation. Today’s stats reveal that 15 to 20% of adolescents contemplate suicide.

Parenting Dylan Klebold

A Mother's ReckoningAt this 17 year juncture in the aftermath, Sue Klebold has risen from the depths of despair for her son, and all of the victims left behind, to offer her own brand of help in hopes of more healing and teaching others.  She is careful not to force herself upon others, but does attempt to explain and has honorably offered all of the proceeds of her new book, “A Mother’s Reckoning,” to mental health organizations. She has become an advocate.

On the surface, Dylan’s parents were good parents, did all the right things, provided the right opportunities to this gifted child. But the brain chemistry and behavior changed and escalated into darkness, particularly with the friendship of Eric Harris as an ongoing catalyst.

During the interview, Sue stated, “If this is true, if he is really killing people, this has to stop. He has to die. Please God, make him die.” Another distraction for the Klebold parents was a sibling struggling with drugs allowing more opportunity for Dylan to go underground. Sue crossed over from her state of denial into acceptance after seeing the evidence, the videos, listening to the vile three-hour Manifesto, and recognized it was no more a moment of madness.

Carlos Lozada, writer for the Washington Post Book World Service recently wrote a book review of “A Mother’s Reckoning.” As a parent, he saw the vulnerabilities:

This book’s insights are painful and necessary, and its contradictions inevitable. It is an apology to the loved ones of the victims; an account of the Klebold family’s life in the days and months following the shooting; a catalog of warning signs missed. Most of all, it is a mother’s love letter to her son, for whom she mourned no less deeply than did the parents of the children he killed”. 

I wonder two things:

Can the general public ever forgive Sue Klebold?

Secondly, as a homicide survivor, would I ask different questions than those asked by Diane Sawyer?

I think in some ways, yes, as I have a unique perspective.  I have compassion for Sue Klebold and am not applying the adage of guilt by association. I’m attempting to reach out to her for an interview on Shattered Lives Radio where we may discuss the aftermath of her personal tragedy in-depth and offer another perspective. Perhaps it could help other parents of children who may be seeing  the same things happening in their family. Perhaps it could avert another family’s tragedy.