Lately, I’ve been seeing recurrent posts surrounding the murder of people of color. It brings a pain, the African American community knows all too well. In February, the African- American community was shaken by the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Myself and others were shocked at the news of the circumstances surrounding his murder. As we were still digesting this murder, the community has been enraged by the murder of George Floyd.
I think of these circumstances and I cannot help but feel deep sorrow. Sorrow for the lives that have been lost. Sorrow for the African- American community. Sorrow for the narratives of racism, oppression and hate that have been a part of the life of every African-American. Most of all, I find myself with heavy thoughts of every family member impacted by a homicide.
Homicide is fueled by narratives of bigotry, hate and prejudice. It has dismantled many families and individuals. It leaves families and individuals with feelings of guilt, uncertainty, disappointment, and rage as they try to process their traumatic grief. Homicide survivors are now faced unexpectedly with some of the following: arranging a funeral, having to explain death to their children, resolving finances for their beloved, and navigating the judicial system. None of these things are easy and once you add the fact that a loved one has been murdered they feel almost impossible.
In Baltimore, there have been 128 homicides thus far for 2020. That’s 128 families. To put this into perspective, for every one person murdered there may be: a mother, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, godmother, godfather, son, daughter, niece or nephew in grief. Not to mention, extended family members, blended families, fictive kin and friends.
Homicide is a public health issue and it is EVERYONE’S PROBLEM. No longer is silence acceptable. We have to have more conversations about the hate that fuels homicide and the effect homicide has on families and individuals.
Now, is the time to do and to act.
If you’re reading this and you’ve experienced the murder of a loved one I want you to know 3 things.
1. I am so very sorry for your loss. Homicide brings a different type of grief that most people do not understand.
2. There is no “wrong way” to grieve. If you’re not ready to empty their closet or sell their car, you don’t have to do it.
3. No, you don’t deserve this pain and neither did your loved one.
My passion for this issue is one of the reasons I specialize in traumatic grief with homicide survivors. If you are looking for a therapist that gets it and is dedicated to continuing to understand, you’re in the right place.You are not alone and together we can journey into healing.