At the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley interviews Mary Jane Cronin, the author of November Mourning and someone who has personal experience with healing after murder. She works in hospice care, following the murder of her son Jeremy in 1998. Comfort and solace following her loss is what inspired her to work in hospice care. After his murder, she felt like she had nobody to turn to. She began journaling and writing letters to heaven. Cronin found support in online support communities. Following Jeremy’s trial, she found incredible support from victim advocate groups.
Talking to other people was one of her best healing tools. The police department helped her and her family move forward, too. The victim advocates attended trials with her, and helped her learn what to expect so she wasn’t overwhelmed. It was an emotional year during the trial, and when the sentencing came, she thought it would make her feel better. Still, it didn’t bring her son back. The advocates worried with her and for her, providing a stable support community.
We work very hard at how we act, she explains. A murder can make a person fearful of the world, even after sentencing. Through journaling, she was able to find acceptance. She hasn’t forgiven Jeremy’s murderer yet, but she’s working on it. As a grief counselor with hospice, her journey helps her comfort the families who are in her same shoes. She provides comfort and tells them it’s normal.
If your child has been murdered, talk to people, urges Cronin. Find support wherever you can. Don’t keep it inside, since it can poison you and your life. Empathy and communication are key, and people find it in many different places.