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

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“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

 

Obituaries and the Invasion of Advertising

Respectful obituaries

While the obituary below is purely fictional, the account is true!

Lorraine Anderson, age 78, died peacefully in her home in West Harford, Connecticut on July 8, 2015.  She was the daughter of Steven and Clara Bennett of Boston, Massachusetts. She is pre-deceased by her husband, Timothy Anderson, CEO of DoItRight Corporation. 

Lorraine was a homemaker and enjoyed many charitable activities such as volunteering for the Salvation Army, the ASPCA.org and the local food bank.    Her children include- Arthur, 45, of Waterbury, CT and Jessica Somerset of Springfield Massachusetts. Grandchildren include Aiden, 11, and Mary 14. 

Lorraine was described as “full of life” and also doted on her dachshund, puppy, “Jellybean” prior to her illness with cancer.  In lieu of flowers, her family wishes donations to be sent to her favorite charities.   Funeral Arrangements will be held on Friday, July 10th, for wake calling hours from 2 to 5 pm at the Molloy Funeral Home, 906 Farmington Avenue. Burial will be on Saturday, July 11th at 11 am at the Fairview Cemetery, 200 Whitman Avenue.   For further information contact the Molloy Funeral Home

As I was searching for the obituary of an elderly client, who unfortunately passed away from medication toxicity, in the local small town newspaper, what I found, and was struck by, was a nearby remnant advertisement for a strip bar! I was horrified to see this ad so close to the newspaper stories of the deceased.

In the past, I have written about the ceremonial aspects of death and even consumer related information about how to plan for a funeral. However, this blog focuses on a little known practice when news organizations need revenue at any cost.

How to Write an Obituaryremnant ads

 

A little background about the ominous chore of obituary writing. In generations past, writing our own, or a relative’s obituary was not something that would ever occur to us. That was someone else’s chore, the funeral home, perhaps. Nowadays, people write their own in advance, even my own mother has done so. This may be a way to control the content.

If left to the devices of a funeral home director a fill in the blank template is often used, much like the all too generic victim impact statement which I argue against. Alternately, many news organizations often pre-write obituaries about the rich and famous years in advance in case they are needed at a moment’s notice. You can always roll the dice and have a relative write your obituary. Nonetheless, if your relatives’ perception of what is important to you is vastly different from what you want people to know, I say write your own, which is on my to-do list.  Mine has to be a lot more interesting than who I’m related to. On the other hand, some my say, “Who cares, I’m dead anyway.”

  • Obituary – is a news article reporting the recent death of a person with a summary of their life’s milestones and information about an upcoming funeral;
  • Death Notice – is a paid advertisement , typically bare bones (pardon the pun!)  Omitting biographical information. These are typically for legal reasons.
  • Memorial Ad – usually written by family with the assistance of the funeral home.
  • Costs – (via www.connectlegacy.com) Fees are dependent upon the newspaper, size of photo, day of the week to be published and frequency of posting. If you are dealing with a small town newspapers or collaboration of small town papers, they may include a photo for free and charge $50 for text with the photo. Or, if the local person has some notoriety in business, politics, entertainment etc., the paper may run the obituary for free.
  • Large City Newspapers – May provide a 45 line obituary and charge you $386-$535.00. A nationally known newspaper can charge a whopping $1,200 for a 49 line obituary.
  • The Hartford Courant – (The oldest newspaper in the U.S) .  A standard funeral notice contains only info about the funeral service running  in the obit section and on-line with a photo  and limited emblem design starting at $36.53. Commemoration ads regarding special anniversaries or occasions – provides all of the above, a notice in www.online@legacy.com and more choice of emblems for $48.28 and above.

An Obituary and a Strip Bar: Returning to Remnant Adsnewspaper-434323_640

How could any newspaper, large or small, allow something as disrespectful as a strip bar ad to appear immediately above someone’s obituary? At the time, when I discovered this at work, I did an internet search and called the editor of the BP newspaper, a small town of 60,000 residents. The editor listened, but essentially did nothing, no explanation, no outrage, no ability to put herself in the grieving family’s shoes should this be discovered! This was not good enough for me, I had to know more.

Remnant ads by definition, are advertising spaces which the media company has not been able to sell. Why? Reasons may include the cost of the space, lack of interest in the time slot or page, or lack of advertisers.

According to Paul Suggett, advertising expert, “advertising space is finite…has a very definite lifespan and if not purchased, it goes to waste with a house ad” which is an ad placed in some sort of media that is run by the company who owns the media outlet. The house ad is a common device for using up unsold advertising inventory, as a way of promoting the company’s own interests, a public service announcement, or those irritating very early in the morning ads on the radio or TV giving the phone number six times.

Remnant ads are attractive to those on a very limited budget. Rather than lose revenue on the radio, TV or billboards, these scrap ads can appear at deep discounts, typically 75% less than the going rate.  To  fill up space, they are normally run in rotation and give these companies exposure they never would have had in the first place.  The disadvantages are there are no choices where or when the ad will run.

The good news is that larger, well established newspapers and other media groups have stringent standards and would never allow this to occur.  I was told by a marketing director at the Hartford Courant that they maintain the highest standards and NEVER allow such ads, much less on the obituary pages, nor do they allow gun ads as another example.

Conclusion: 

If you want exposure for your business with remnant ads in a haphazard manner, that’s your choice.  However, my concern is the impact on grieving families when remnant ads, even in rotation, are allowed to appear on obituaries and serve to insult and disrespect them. It seems that with staff cuts, no one sufficiently monitors the juxtaposition or appropriateness of advertisements. Must the almighty dollar rule in every instance? Shouldn’t an obituary be sacred ground?

Should you need a little practical advice when writing your own or family member’s obituary, I refer you to How to Write as a common sense resource.

 

 

The End of Life Journey

As an active observer –participant in the struggle to survive the indomitable forces of cancer…taking a once vibrant woman who told others to “follow her lead as if they had jumping beans in their pants”… and then to gradually succumb to the ravages of the disease, is an experience no one should have to participate in or witness first hand…

It’s an up and down roller coaster ride with so many complex forces to consider, that it catches everyone  off guard… even if your physician, attorney, support  services, hospice try to prepare you … There are a multitude of things that shock and shake you to your very core!  Things that should be that aren’t… Things that don’t make sense in a civilized society, screwed up priorities…  Things that mystify given all that public servants like Susan Murphy-Milano have given to countless others in this world…           We begin to question the existence of God …or God’s wisdom in the unfairness of it all…

If you are a homicide survivor and grew up feeling like a “little medical specimen” for others to study like Ladyjustice, you probably think you know it all when it comes to grief.  However, the trials and tribulations…the long haul nature of cancer in its later stages has been a whole new experience for THIS crime fighter to contend with…

Unless you are there to witness the process in person or have had the experience previously, you have little cognizance of the time, effort, dedication, financial costs, energy expended and emotional toll it takes… not only on the person suffering the cancer, and the caretaker, but the “second ring” of persons as Trauma Specialist Duane Bowers would say.

In addition, when the person who has the cancer does not have immediate family who care, the “second ring” becomes the “first ring” – filling in the gaps…in a very noble and heroic way!

Ladyjustice sometimes feels helpless to make a continuing real contribution when separated geographically. E-mails and postings, support from the circle of friends can all help assuage the grief…  But phone calls can’t realistically be returned “just because you want to know”. Therefore, your head tells you that patience, understanding and compassion MUST kick in…even if your heart tells you otherwise… You may try to assist others as a distraction and cause for the greater good while others are busy.

During this life altering ordeal with Susan Murphy-Milano, Ladyjustice has learned many, many lessons such as:

God – is present and has a plan that we mere morals most likely will not fully understand…if at all. With time and reflection some answers may come to us;

Friendship – is thrown into high gear with the wonderful support that springs forth by those who “always cared anyway’ literally going the extra mile and more… Core people will remain, while others will fall back into their former routines;

Respect– ABOUNDS ….particularly for those closest to the crisis. We must keep in mind that EVERYONE grieves and copes differently according to their comfort level. We can offer help in many forms personally or professionally.  Just because it is OUR need to give, it is not really about us …even if we are hurting!    Ladyjustice and others need to remember and give others their space and own way to process, come to terms and move to the next part of their journey in their chosen ways.   Safe in the knowledge that we care and can be called on, others can and will in their own time take it…with a little encouragement;

Community – consists of the “inner circle,” large groups bound together by the heart wrenching situation, divided into still other sub-groups.  Some participation is active, some is passive. It is an imposition at times for passive observers to ask others to “catch me up” on the details when they too are in the throws of their own activity and grief.  Always be respectful and take the time to use the resources that are out there…Some participants are” the caboose “on the train, some are the engineers and regular passengers” to use a metaphor… That’s just the way it unfolds…

Priorities– whether you are the caretaker, a friend, acquaintance, fan or cheerleader…and involved with someone with a life threatening illness/disease, YOUR priorities will change…at least for the short term…and maybe forever. Your suffering is temporary in the scheme of life,  as is the person’s with the illness until they are in God’s eternal home.         If you suffer too long and too intensely, please seek professional help to put you on the correct path with your loved one…

Health – After this traumatic experience, if you tended to be unhealthy in your eating habits, lifestyle, sleep patterns, your weight, smoking , drinking, workaholic nature… you too will take pause…and hopefully make some type of qualitative, if not quantitative life altering change.  However, do it at your own pace… Listen to your physician, but refuse to” be bullied into change “ if you aren’t ready for “leaps and bounds of change”.  Smaller steps will do… as long as you keep on the path…

Never again will you say “Cancer… (or whatever) can’t happen to me or those I love.”   That refrain is all too common … Take it from a homicide survivor… Yes it can…

If you think you are not up to the task… you will be, because you have to be…  You will do it…’Just look at the “Susan and Delilah blueprint example” we have before us….  Truly amazing!

With Love and Respect,

Donna/”Ladyjustice”