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:



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




“Nothing You Do For Children Is Ever Wasted.” The Connecticut Connection

Connecticut shooting,Donna R. Gore
(Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home)

What can be said about unspeakable tragedies….in which God’s presence must have been fleeting? For why would he/she allow such things to occur?  Is this still another life lesson? I, for one, have had enough of human carnage and cancer stories to last a lifetime…. Wordsmith’s don’t even have the lexicon to express what we are feeling…

Connecticut is battered and bruised like almost never before… (Exception – the Petit family murders).  We have the collective pulse of the nation currently. It is a heavy burden…    Will we use it wisely to affect real change?  Can we?  Will government, gun control advocates, mass media and other “systems” put aside their profits and “get the story at any cost” mentalities and take stock of the human toll once and for all?  Or…will we be “just a blip on the radar screen”, “flash in the pan” news until the next time?  I’m here to say that all of the victims, their families and this nation deserve far better!

It is so early… Misinformation is rampant.  However, the Connecticut State police… [] and the small town of Newtown/Sandy Hook are the bright stars in the constellation…for they surely are “getting it right” on all counts… I am proud of that aspect of this horrific story…

Duane T. Bowers, skilled trauma therapist, with his unique style, combining compassion, academic education, “in the trenches” experience and humanitarianism was able to clarify important issues at this early stage, despite the barrage of “news junk” to the contrary.

“Ladyjustice” and Delilah spent an hour with Duane, trying to sort out the issues… The result… a very useful and touching radio broadcast.

To Listen to the Podcast: CLICK HERE

  • Introductory remarks by Ladyjustice as a Connecticut resident;
  • Why do we all connect to this tragedy?
  • How can we experience grief and trauma….even if we are not connected to the tragedy?…’So little that could have been controlled…
  • Is the “Why” really that important?
  • “15 minutes of fame” and the requirement to address the perpetrator…. The real facts and the differences…
  • The impact on the first responders…. “The overlooked heroes…”
  • One of the worst jobs imaginable….
  • Coping over the holidays…and a resurgence returning to school –Safety in the aftermath;
  • How do kids process?  The difference versus adults;
  • Safety in the moment and getting them used to the future in intervals;
  • “Christmas in Connecticut” and tainting the good work that came before….
  • The media hype–Duane & Delilah’s take…
  • Beyond mental health and gun control…We need to control the media….Who’s responsible?
  • A matter of resilience and a sense of control- differences in people;
  • What can we do collectively and individually to help the cause, prevention and feeling safe? Find one thing….
  • Post traumatic growth and being part of the solution;
  • We can change mindset and the status quo….
  • Owning firearms and control…
  • “Open the Conversation” versus solving the problems;
  • Everyone –all professionals have handled this situation in a phenomenal manner…. Kudos to Newtown, law enforcement and first responders in Connecticut!
  • Gravitating to a spiritual center….
  • Working with families… “In this moment you are safe”
  • Convincing the parents of safety;
  • Contact information: