New York State Funeral Directors Association

Grief After the Murder of A Loved One

There have been several headlines this week in our local news about murders. Grief that results from the murder or violent death of a loved one is like no other.

It is intense and overwhelming.

The sudden and unexpected death of the loved one in such a brutal way can result in shock and disbelief. Murder is such an unnatural end to life.

For families and friends of homicide victims, the normal feelings of grief are compounded by rage and a desire to destroy the murderer of the loved one. Such emotions can lead to despair and guilt.

Survivors may be further upset by having to cope with law enforcement officials, intrusive reporters and curious, insensitive neighbors and friends.

Under these circumstances, it is difficult for survivors to grieve quietly and at their own pace.

It can be helpful for the family to designate a spokesperson to help them interact with the media and others who are seeking information.

Funerals are comforting because they provide a ritual to help say goodbye and accept the condolences of relatives and friends.

But a victim’s funeral may be disrupted or delayed, adding even more agony to the grief process.

In this situation, the family funeral director can be invaluable in managing funeral arrangements, minimizing intrusions and providing support to the family.

The New York State Office of Victim Services maintains a website with information helpful to victims of crime and their families.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime maintains a website with many helpful resources.