Writing Through the Pain of an Unsolved Homicide

Sometimes a sprout can push through a crack in a sidewalk.  Likewise, openings for self-empowerment and healing can grow while living with the cement-like pain of an unsolved homicide.  By diving into our inward landscape and releasing that which grips internally, our relationship with and response to external experiences may be transformed.

Writing creates a path to allow what lies beneath the surface to be harnessed in meaningful and productive ways.

Why Write?

Verbalizing feelings comes with risks; to reveal means to expose and make vulnerable.  Writing connects the brain to the heart and emotions in a self-directed way.  When the internal process is expressed through writing, it creates a self-managed and nurturing container for verbalization. That verbalization is maintained within the secure perimeters of one’s own mind, heart and pen, opening and releasing when feeling safe to do so.

How Does Writing Help?

As the mind and heart connect to the pen we release and express our identity, history, experience, and wisdom, alongside our hopes and fears.  In expressing, we name.  In expressing, we validate.  Expression facilitates noticing the unseen, giving voice to and assimilating what might be compartmentalized or buried.

Writing therefore creates new pathways and roadmaps to integrate and define experience.  It alters the way emotions are experienced and can then open the door to reframing.

Writing Reframes

Just as a sprout pushes through a crack over time, reliving memories and experiences in the writing process will slowly begin to create a new sense of self and an evolving identity connected to but not controlled by the pain of living with an unsolved homicide.

This identity, rooted in the original trauma of a homicide, will integrate and grow feelings of what has been overcome and survived.  Reframing our heart to define our rights, our voice to act from the truth of our experience and finally, reframing our mind to direct our thoughts in self-empowered and validated ways.

Reframing reconstructs that which was lost at the time of a loved one’s homicide, i.e. the meaning of the homicide victim’s life, and our own, outside of the defining point of the murder. This sets the stage to rewrite the experience in and by one’s own terms, allowing the sprout of the trauma to break through the emotional oppression of this life experience.

Writing Empowers

Implementing a writing practice into daily life can be used to engage with and free one’s voice.  Embodying the mind-heart connection, forming a personal and safe container, noticing the unseen and reframing experiences develops strength, health and harmony within. This foundation of building inner congruence with one’s mind and heart is an avenue open to loved ones when justice remains closed.

It is in the expression of writing, whether shared with others or not, where the difference can be made between feeling trapped and feeling free.  Picking up the pen or putting fingers on a computer keyboard is the first step in directing the path of an inner storm.  Writing is a gift to yourself.

Your tools are always with you – a notebook, a sticky note, a day calendar, a scrap of paper, the notes app on a phone – wherever you are, write.  It’s better out than in.

Read more by Lori Grande: Nurturing Oneself After a Homicide – Open to Hope

or Finding a Path Through Unresolved Grief – Open to Hope

Visit Lori Grande’s website: stillibreathe


Lori Grande

Lori Grande’s first career in addictions and HIV/AIDS social work has been followed by a career in elementary school teaching. She currently teaches Kindergarten in a private school in South Florida. When a true-crime reality show’s (The First 48) filming of her brother’s homicide investigation (2005) resulted in a botched case and all charges dropped against the suspect, she was catapulted into the center of the investigation; balancing the roles of mother and teacher with advocate and detective. An emotional breakdown thirteen years into the investigation led her on a path to transform the experience of living with an unsolved homicide. Eighteen years after her brother’s murder, Lori continues to advocate within the criminal justice system for justice and offer workshops on living with unsolved homicide at the Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) Annual Conference. She holds a BA in Communications from Boston University and a MA in Transforming Spirituality from Seattle University. She began journaling a year after her brother’s murder. In 2022, she created the website: stillibreathe.com, to spread awareness about homicide survivors’ experiences. The website provides a window into a crime victim’s engagement with the criminal justice system, alongside validation, encouragement, resources and hope. Finding inspiration in nature, she spends her spare time paddle-boarding, swimming in the ocean and visiting State Parks. Lori prides herself on exemplifying how an independent woman can thrive, in spite of loss, while living with joy, purpose and passion.

More Articles Written by Lori