This is a counselor?s corner. Sometimes victims say it better than counselors. I am publishing this in honor of Patricia Collum who was murder October 6, 1991. This was written by her sister, Mitzie.
In October 1991, my only sister, Patricia Collum, was murdered. In nineteen years, no one has been charged with her murder. Having joined VOCAL shortly after my sister?s murder, I have been involved with a number of families who have lost a loved one to violence. The lack of communication and support that I have seen from law enforcement agencies in these cases has made me aware of how fortunate we were to have the police officers that investigated my sister?s murder. I felt that their desire to solve her murder was almost as intense as my need to have it solved.
One of the things about being a victim is the loss of control you feel. Before the devastation of being a victim most of us feel in control of our lives. Once we are notified of a loved one being murdered we realize we are not in control. I have often heard from victims that they just “did what they were told” through the process. Other people are in control and we are so traumatized we can’t even control our thinking much less fight back to those who have taken control.
If you know how I feel....
If you want to help a family that was robbed of a loved one through homicide, the most important gift s are to be there and to listen. Being there shows them that you care deeply about them and listening to them talk, cry, or even scream offers them an outlet for their confused and volatile emotions. If you knew the victim, please don’t send them a sympathy card. Write them a personal letter. Tell them about some cute or caring thing the victim did. This will let them know the victim will never be forgotten. These letters will always be treasured by the family. Don’t worry about what to say. Don’t say anything except “I’m so sorry.” Just be there and listen with your heart. Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’re not helping or you’re confused about how long to stay. Let your compassion be your guide.
Joyce Miller, LPC
When a loved one is murdered it’s never really over, as victims we think we will feel better after the police apprehend the criminals or after we get to trial or after the criminals goes to prison but we usually leave the courtroom feeling there is no justice even if we get the death penalty( which are few & far between). We will probably die of old age before they’re executed due to appellate judges. Even if we should be fortunate enough to actually have one executed during our lifetime; it is still not justice. No criminal’s life could ever equal the life of our loved one.