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Dealing with grief

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"The sun was coming up when the doorbell rang.  A police officer was at the door and he told me that Michael had been killed.  My first reaction was shock.  I could not believe it because I thought I had heard Michael come in the night before.  I was in a fog and it took a while to sink in. One of the emotions you go through is not anger but rage.  You have to find a way to let go, otherwise the murderers will control your life, too. At first, my grief was evidenced by total shock.  You cannot imagine how horrible it was. Everything was so raw.  When I would hear the words “gun, murder or shoot”, I would just about have a physical response.  My sister said that one minute I would be crying and then the next minute I would be OK.  My emotions varied from anger to depression and   I was terrified to let loved ones out of my sight.

It is something you never get over.  Some people just crash and burn.  It helped having other families who had been in similar situations telling us we were not crazy.  They helped to pull me through it.  Everything shifts because your old friends do not know what to do with you or how to relate.  You end up changing friends, which is a very common experience. I helped start a chapter for Parents with Murdered Children, and we now have helped 300-350 families.  Support groups are not for everyone.  But it is very tough for parents who have lost children to solve things alone.

After Michael died I struggled with my faith.  I eventually came to terms with it and accepted that his death had nothing to do with God.  I went through a period of awakened spirituality and started to really think of what is on the other side of death.  My faith is stronger now.  I have come to accept that as long as we are allowed to make our own choices, we must sometimes live with the choices of others. If you are in a difficult situation you should ensure that you talk to someone so that you are not alone.  It is necessary, as it is too tough to bottle things up.  Get help from family and friends, or from an organization or a church.

Like it or not, this tragic event became incorporated into my life.  I know there is evil in this world, but there is also a lot of love, compassion, and friendship.  We tend to see the negative side of things but there is also the positive side of people, especially shown in those who are there for you. Once you have gone through a tragedy, no matter what happens, you know you will survive."

Brenda O'Quin's son Michael was murdered at age 22. Provided by: