Two people who've lost family members to violence share their unique perspective.
Jennifer Hudson's nephew was found dead this morning, which means she's lost her mother, brother, and nephew in one tragic act of senseless violence. How can she cope? Momlogic talks to two grief counselors who witnessed their own parents' murders for some insight.
Traci Bieber Nelson, mother of three and author of Waking to Tears, lost both her parents to violence. Her father was shot right in front of her, and then her mother was bludgeoned to death by her stepfather many years later. She says from this day forward, Jennifer Hudson will never be the same. "She is no longer the same person," she says. "Yes, this will make her stronger ... but there's a lot of pain and healing that must go on to get to that point. Just because they find a perpetrator or convict someone, it's not over. Your life is forever changed."
She says there is a huge difference between losing family to an illness like cancer and losing them to senseless violence. "You have so much anger and resentment, and you feel completely cheated because these people were stolen from you," she says. "This didn't have to happen. After my mom was murdered, I became scared to even leave my house. I was just so fearful of the world around me, because I realized that bad things do happen to good people. No one is immune. It can happen to you. And that was really scary and hard to deal with."
One thing that has helped her cope is a strong support system. "You need to have people around you who are there for you 100% and are non-judgmental when you are depressed, angry, or sad. Other people who have lost loved ones to violent crimes are especially helpful." She also says honoring her loved ones on their birthdays helps. "My daughters and I always make their favorite meal and do something they would have enjoyed that day to celebrate the life they lived," she says. "That is very healing."
Chappale Linn Burton, the author of How to Choose Happiness Most of the Time: 30 Ways in 30 Days, witnessed a deranged man shoot down his mother and father in the south side of Chicago when he was just 8 years old. Click here for his four steps of healing.Want to say a word of comfort to Jennifer? Comment in the momlogic community.
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