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Jennifer Hudson: How to Cope After Family Murders

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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.

jennifer hudsons house with memorial crosses

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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30 comments so far | Post a comment now
aanayah October 27, 2008, 7:10 PM

i am so sorry for your nephew i bet you he was cute.

Saide October 27, 2008, 7:42 PM

i wish you the best of luck for the funeral i just had a lost to so i know what you are going through. My appologieys saide

Shon October 27, 2008, 9:55 PM

To understand is such an unfair statement. You do not know unless you experienced this tragedy. My heart is so heavy and so sad for this family. I know we aren’t suppose to question God but I can’t help but do so(forgive me Lord). This is a senseless and hateful matter. Come on Lord be before this family and send a parade of angels to protect and keep them at this time of sorrow. America things like this happen to everyday people and we must continue to lean on God. I don’t want to come across as a hypocrite; however, I have to lean because God is all I have and know(even in the mist of a bad situation.)Even asking God the question,Why? One day we will all get an answer. I will continue to keep this family in my prayers and everyone of this world. Yea I know that it seem hard but I have to also pray for the person responsible for this cruel act. May God be with you!

Babes October 27, 2008, 10:16 PM

Everyone has his own DESTINY.
Accept their fate, cry, cry, cry…
and time will heal by…
Remember our dearest friend,
GOD the FATHER in Heaven.
He’ll take care of you,

Babes Panganiban

Carla October 28, 2008, 8:14 AM

I cannot imagine the grief you are going through now. To lose three family members at once, by such a violent act is unimaginable! I hope you find the strength to get through this and can continue on with your life in a way that would make your family proud. Please know that all your fans are thinking of you in your time of deep grief!

Gbear October 28, 2008, 9:15 AM

I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Jennifer. I also lost my mother, to illness, and I dont think I ever felt that much sorrow and grief in my life. I cannot even begin to imaging how it must be to be in her situation. This is why I want to say how sorry I am for you and pray for you and your family at this time.

Shanique LeFlore October 28, 2008, 9:45 AM

Lord help them with their lost

dolores pruitt October 28, 2008, 10:49 AM

Jeniffer, I am truly sorry for your loss
God loves you and so do I, Let the Lord guide you through this terrible time.
I know it is difficult,because I too have lost someone to senseless violence.
God be with you and your family. Stay strong and be blessed.

patrice mccrimmon October 28, 2008, 11:16 AM

I am truly sorry about your family having to be taken away from you, especially to this violent act. This is so horrible that I just cannot express it. I don’t know what that person who did this terrible crime was thinking, but they have to pay for that dearly. God said, “vengence is mine”. I was close to my mom too (I lost her to cancer 4 yrs ago) and especially to my immediate family members. I have a close net family also. I can imagine the way you must feel to lose family members that have always been in your life. Regardless of who you are, when you love someone you love them, and it hurts to know that you will not see them again. God said that he will not put too much on us that we can’t bear. God promised that if we follow him he would walk with us always. God said that during our trials and suffering he would carry us and that the only set of footprints that we would see would be his. During your moments ask God to have mercy on you. Continue to stay close to God in whatever you do and he will take care of you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. May God keep you in his care.

Jennifer Mosley October 28, 2008, 4:07 PM

My heart goes out to you. You are in my prayers. I cant even imagine what you are going through.

ysh October 28, 2008, 5:01 PM

Jennifer, Julia and other Family members of the Hudson Family, I Pray that God will continue to Hold You All Up and Bless your Souls through this Sad and Grieving time of your life.

May, “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you;
and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

mary October 29, 2008, 9:05 AM


Tiffany Carroll October 29, 2008, 4:07 PM

I am so sorry for you lost. I can never imagine what you’re going through. You and your are in my prayers, and I know God will see you through your time of sorrows. Just always remember that God is taking care of them, and you will see them again.
God Bless!!!

Denise Garcia October 30, 2008, 9:49 AM

I can never understand what your going through but my thoughts are with you and your family please don’t loose faith!

Minnie October 30, 2008, 12:37 PM

Jennifer your life started a new fase the day after and all I can say is take a day at a time to deal with what has happen, but know God need angels and even though you lost three at one time he gain three. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

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