Coping with sudden, violent or traumatic death

When a loved one dies violently, it shakes you to your roots; it shatters your assumptions that the world is basically safe. You are thrown into a tornado of grief and loss that takes on a life of it’s own.

People talk of feeling battered, shaken and almost destroyed. Feelings of anger, rage, sorrow, fear, panic, pain and yearning may take over. People tend to isolate themselves, yet finding others to share with is so important for healing and surviving.

This grief is different as it may involve the news, media, medical or emergency personnel, police, detectives, the Coroner, an inquest and the legal system.  Dealing with all these kinds of people is never easy.

Chaos, shock, confusion, terror, anger and explosive emotions may overwhelm you. Intrusive questions will have to be answered and insensitive people need to be dealt with. The media may hound you and the police may even accuse you. You may be living with the guilt that you could do nothing to change what has happened.  You have to make decisions you never thought you would have to make. You have to tell the story, even though you may still be in a fog. You may stay awake for days while you wait for answers that don’t seem to come.  There is no warning, no time for goodbyes.

There is a book written offering practical advice for families in the immediate days, weeks and months following a murder.  It is called:

Hope Beyond the Headlines – Supporting a child bereaved through murder or manslaughter

It is written for both parents and professionals, giving them the confidence to involve children and young people in understanding and managing the particular difficulties and complexities that so often surround a death by murder or manslaughter.

The book includes child-friendly activities to do as a family to help them to make sense of what has happened and begin to express their grief. If you would like a copy, please contact us [email protected].

Many people who experience the violent death of a loved one seek professional help and guidance. The following organisations may be of some help to you:

National Association of Victim Support
Hallam House, 56-60 Hallam Street, London, W1W 6JL
Telephone: 0845 30 30 900

Support after Murder and Manslaughter
Pershore Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7RN
Telephone: 0845 872 3440