The Traumatic Grief of Having Two of Your Uncles Murdered
The author of today’s guest post — who wishes to remain anonymous — has experienced the murder of two of her uncles. Typically, there’s three distinct categories of grief: normal, complicated and traumatic. For the most part, the grief experienced from murder falls into the “traumatic” category of grief experience. Today’s post highlights some of the aspects of traumatic grief.
Here goes my story. I’ll try to be as honest as possible and I know you can handle it but most people do not want to listen to my story cause they can’t handle it. I will give you some background info on my family.
We are all born and raised Catholic and will die Catholic. Lower middle class with a pretty good education. There is alot of alcoholism, drug addiction, and some mental illness within my family even before the two tragedies occurred.
In the summer of 1991 my Mom’s brother was murdered in broad daylight outside his place of business. My Mom and my sister were exceptionally close to him. He was a kind and gentle man who had his throat slit by a heroin junkie who just got out of jail for aggravated assault. We had to deal with a trial, the media and people just coming up to you and saying stupid things about my Uncle.
My Mom was the rock even though it was her brother. Me, my bro and my sister fell apart. My own father said he was jealous because my Mom was getting all the attention … he can be so incredibly ignorant sometimes. My sister really fell apart badly and has just now got clean after 22yrs of painkiller addiction. My brother and myself struggled with alcoholism. We are both now clean. My parents are still together after 51yrs.
We all love each other very much, perhaps too much. When you lose someone to murder you want to keep the ones you love close by. What do I attribute to all of us surviving? All of us has a strong relationship with God.
I was extremely bitter and angry with life and people, until a couple years ago when I decided I was tired of being angry. I pray more than ever now. All of us still have remnants of being a victim, of survivor guilt, PTSD, depression and insomnia to name a few.
Several months before my second Uncle was murdered another horrific murder had occurred in my town and as I was reading about the details when this horrible feeling overcame me and I said to God “it isn’t over is it?”(I somehow knew in my gut there was another tragedy that would befall on my family).
Several months later I was driving home from work and instead of going home I stopped at my parents. My Dad told me they hadn’t heard from his brother in several days (this wasn’t unusual because my Uncle was depressed over the loss of his wife a year earlier). An hour later we got a phone call telling us that my Uncle was found dead on his couch. My other Uncle found him.
At this time we all had thought he had a heart attack until several days later when we got the call from the coroner that he had been stabbed in the throat. Again another Uncle had been murdered by a junkie.
I had to be the bearer of bad news to the rest of my family. I remember when I turned on the radio en route to my parents the song A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum was playing and there is a line in the song that says “they say there is no reason and the truth is plain to see” how prophetic!!
Ahhh, Forgiveness I’m sorry but you can judge me all you want but I will never forgive the assholes who murdered my Uncles. I have seen a therapist and my parish Priest over the issue of forgiveness and it has made me sick.
Forgiveness made me sick for many years until I met a kindred spirit in a coworker who told me as I wept uncontrollably, “’M’ this is too big for you to handle. Give this one to God and let him handle it.” That lifted a huge weight from my heart and to my friend “L” I will be forever grateful.
There are days I will cry for no reason and my therapist said that it’s okay to be sad when you have gone through what my family and I have. Right after my second Uncle was murdered I met the love of my life and I said to him (about 2 months after we met), “You know “J”, from the losses I have suffered I have learned that if you ever love someone, you must tell them because you never know when you might lose them.”
Tragically after three months of dating we lost his Mother and on her deathbed I promised her I would always take care of her son. Three months after that we lost his Father. “J” and I have handled the tough stuff early on in our relationship so anything else has been easier to go through.
To summarize, I truly know that without the love and support of my family and God, we wouldn’t be standing. Thank You God. If it was not for you and my belief for a better life on the other side I don’t think I would be writing this today.