Living on the edge of despair is common for grievers. It doesn’t matter how your child dies whether from an accident, disease or murder you feel as if your heart is ripped out of your chest, stomped on a million times, torn to shreds, and what’s left is shoved back in. But, healing is possible if you can make some sense out of what you are experiencing. If you can make your child’s life count for something good afterward it can help tremendously.
Many people decide to help others going through similar circumstances. How many victims’ advocates were victims themselves or closely related to a victim of a vicious crime? How many Child Life Specialists, nurses, social workers, and therapists had a child or loved one endure unspeakable suffering and die from a lingering disease? How many parents whose child was killed in an accident have started grief groups? Grief changes you. Sometimes it spurs you on to do great things. Some folks are irreparably broken. Most though just need time and support to get through to the other side of grief.
What if your child is murdered and then you are re-victimized by the legal system? There are not enough places to go for help in that situation. The perpetrators often get all the protection provided by the system while the victim and his or her family members are treated as if they are just a means to an end and nothing more. It sure makes it harder to grieve when you are angry and made to feel helpless.
Finding your voice and speaking out against such treatment is brave. My friend Kimberlyn Scott is courageous. She doesn’t think so, but I am here to tell you, she gets knocked down and gets right back up. She wants to change the laws in our state to give victims equal protection from the legal system. The one she thought was looking out for her family’s best interests and seeking justice for her murdered pregnant daughter. The very system and its representatives who refused to give her answers as to why they were not charging the alleged perpetrator for all of the crimes he committed against her beloved daughter and not yet born grandchild. Yes, Kimberlyn Scott wants to change things so others are not victimized the same way she has been. She is soft and strong at the same time. I know she will follow through and make good things happen. I support you Kimberlyn and I salute you too.
It is disturbing to find out there are so many rights given to the perps and none to victims. Some states do a better job at this than ours, but at least 15 states do not have laws protecting victims. We need to get this changed. There are laws to protect prosecutors too, even if they deliberately do something terrible or are merely incompetent…What do you think about that? I personally think it will never get changed, but maybe we should look into ways of making the prosecutors who aren’t getting their jobs done, more responsible.
Let’s get on board and stop victims from being brutalized by those who are should be their allies and advocates. We can and should help those living on the edge.
Shirley Enebrad is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist with 25 years of experience. For her many years of work with pediatric cancer patients and those grieving the loss of a loved one, she received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service and the Angel of Hospice Award. She is the author of Six-Word Lessons on Coping with Grief and Six-Word Lessons for Surviving a Devastating Diagnosis.
See the Authors!