Remembering Victims of Murder - and their Families
Tomorrow is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. For most people, losing a loved one to an act of violence can be hard to imagine.
Earlier this year the experience exploded into the national imagination when two mass murders occurred only weeks apart – one at a Colorado movie theater, the other at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
The media spotlight focused intensely, as it often does, on the people who committed the murders - even the minutia. What did they do in the weeks preceding the event? What music do they listen to? Where will they go now and for how long?
Meanwhile, victims’ families endure a mostly invisible struggle with the mundane aspects of day-to-day living. Do I have to answer the phone? Do I really have to think about choosing a coffin now? I’m running out of sick days at work.
And that’s on top of the big stuff, like the need for accountability, for answers, for specialized counseling, and the need to honor and remember their loved ones.
All families grieving a murder - even the ones that didn't make it into the headlines this year - need immense, ongoing support to rebuild their lives. And we need a justice system that holds such support as one of its core functions. That cares more about the details of victims rebuilding their lives than what the suspect eats for breakfast.
Together we can work for larger changes in the system, but even small, individual acts can make a difference. This week, consider volunteering at your local victims’ services organization. And if you know someone personally who has lost a loved one to murder, give them a call or send them a note this week to let them know you are thinking about them.
There will be events all over the country in commemoration of the Day of Remembrance tomorrow. To find out if there are any in your local area, contact your local chapter Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), the organization that started the Day of Remembrance.
And if you have lost a loved one to murder, EJUSA sends our deepest condolences for your loss. We are thinking of you this week – and always - and if you'd like us to know more about your loved one we would love to hear it. Feel free to email us anything you'd like to share at ejedition [at] ejusa [dot] org.