Dealing with death is most effectively done by surrendering our trauma feelings and symptoms to the Lord Jesus. Why Jesus? Who is Jesus? Jesus is God’s son who is the only one who can save us from our sins and a life in hell. God’s Word tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). Jesus is the only hope we have.
For more encouragement on dealing with death, keep reading the devotional below, taken from Hope Beyond Homicide: Remembrance Devotionals.
TYPICAL TRAUMA SYMPTOMS EXPERIENCED POST-HOMICIDE
Tina C. Elacqua, Mother, University Professor
. . . to bind up the brokenhearted . . . to comfort all who mourn . . . to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. . . Isaiah 61:1-3 (NRSV)
I still remember sitting in my Jackson, Tennessee Healing Hearts of Homicide Survivors support group as we discussed the numerous symptoms that plagued our every day existence. Now that our loved ones were murdered, it was quite natural to experience a number of symptoms that we did not have prior to the homicide. Some of the symptoms we discussed included:
- flashbacks, fantasias, or unwanted and intrusive thoughts about the homicide
- sleep problems, including nightmares
- anxiety about a number of issues, but particularly about safety for our family members
- feeling jumpy and being startled easily
- being hyper-vigilant or super alert of what is going on at all times
- feeling depressed
- avoiding thoughts, people, places etc. that remind us of the crime and our lost loved ones
- guilt – “I am at fault!”
- anger towards God, perpetrator, self, family members
- denial – does not seem real
- trying to mask the pain (e.g., eating issues, drinking, drugs, excessive shopping)
- constantly trying to make sense by asking the questions: What if’s? Why questions?
- feeling mentally ill (“I feel crazy! No one understands.)
And the list went on! I was amazed at all these symptoms that were so common among a diversified group of people.
You may have experienced many, if not all, of the symptoms above. I hope the list helps you understand that these symptoms are normal and common among homicide survivors. You are not crazy! Even though none of us choose to experience these trauma symptoms, and our lost loved ones would not want us to live in this context, the reality is that we DO experience these symptoms. The good news is that “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). He is with us even in our struggles.
Lord, I hate these symptoms. This is not how I want to live my life. Yet, I praise You that You will not forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Hebrews 13:5). Thank You, Lord, for being near me – the brokenhearted, the crushed in spirit. Thank You that You will bind up my broken heart, comfort me as I mourn, give me a garland instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.
TIME OF PERSONAL REFLECTION AND APPLICATION:
What symptoms do you experience? What do you hope and pray God will do with your pain?
To receive your copy of Hope Beyond Homicide: Remembrance Devotionals, click on the menu tab called “Christian Books.”