Life After Grief: Healing for Homicide Survivors

Experiencing the sudden death of a loved one is a painful experience. Death by murder often leads to overwhelming feelings of grief for the bereaved as their worlds have been twisted upside down. One cannot be prepared for the pain and grief experienced when facing the reality that a loved one has passed on.

Homicides often result in the people left behind grieving the death of the loved one as well as the way they died. If a loved one dies from negligence or through a cruel act, the disrespect for their precious lives increases negative and overwhelming feelings of distrust, injustice, helplessness, and grief.


Healing Tips for Homicide Survivors

Below are tips to help grieving homicide survivors heal.


1. Don’t try to fight the pain

The grief experienced after a murder is intense and complex. Don’t try to “get over it.” Instead, seek support from understanding friends and family. This can help one reconcile the reality of the loss. Accept the intensity of the pain, the confusion, fear, disorganization, guilt, vulnerability, and the angerthat comes with the loss. Lean on someone you love to help you through these emotions.


2. Talk about your pain

Openly talk about your grief and express your feelings. When you talk about how losing your loved one makes you feel, you start to heal and accept that they are gone. Ignoring what you feel inside doesn’t make it any better.

When speaking to someone you trust, let them know how the grief is affecting you. Allow yourself to speak from your heart. This is a normal part of the grieving journey. Ensure that you are talking to people who know about your loss and are willing to listen without judging you.


3. Allow yourself to feel numb

After the sudden death of a loved one, you may feel numb and dazed. This is a part of the common and essential stages of grieving. Feeling numb gives your emotions some time to catch up with your reality. The numbness protects your mind from the negative feelings by acting as an insulation until you are ready to face reality and tolerate the overwhelming feelings that come with the news.


4. Accept your emotional and physical limits

The overwhelming feelings of sadness, loss, fear, disappointment, guilt, and injustice after a murder can leave you physically and emotionally exhausted. This could impair your ability to make decisions and think clearly. Listen to what the body is telling you and take some time to yourself.

Ensure you eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and spend some time with your loved ones. Taking care of yourself should be used as a survival skill.


5. Accept to heal

Healing doesn’t mean that you forgot about your loved one. It means that you have accepted their murder, and you are willing to look past the traumatic experience and hold their memories dear. Healing also means that you’re ready to face the person who caused your loved one’s death. Grieving is a long process; it doesn’t happen within a day.


What to Do When a Loved One Is Killed Due to Negligence

If you lost an immediate family member due to someone else’s negligence, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit, and the prosecutor may file criminal charges against the liable party. You can also bring a civil lawsuit against an organization, person, or institution responsible for the homicide.

You can recover a wide range of damages after filing a wrongful death lawsuit. These include compensation for any medical bills incurred by your loved one, the pain and suffering your loved one suffered before death, and loss of wages. Sometimes, a jury can also award you compensation for loss of companionship and financial support.

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