Here it comes again, Christmas! For the newly bereaved, we offer our deepest understanding and love. Yes, sympathy is a necessity for everyone whose loss or losses are prompted by the holiday season. It is trying just to get through each day because holiday time for many is monumental. The holiday season comes earlier each year. Halloween time is now when the stores bring out Christmas trees, ornaments, gifts we should buy, holiday meals, songs and shows that are totally holiday stories. For those who are suffering from traumatic grief and the triggers that put it right back in our face, we offer our deepest empathy. Most co-victims can hardly wait for the holiday season to be over.
For many, it just seems too much to bear. Many co-victims are already suffering from depression and holidays just add to their feeling of hopelessness. It is not uncommon for co-victims to suffer from flashbacks, nightmares and an unbearable sadness. It can stop a person in their tracks. Tears seen harder to hold back. Some of us cannot sleep and for others, they just want to stay in bed. During the holidays, some people become ill or have aliments that become chronic. Stress also causes physical illnesses to those who are suffering from making it to New Years. In addition, many of us have found that the anticipation of the holiday is actually worse than the day itself.
What we can do and what has helped other families is to try to discuss what traditions cause us the most grief. There are customs that we can change or do in another manner. Holiday happenings are not written on stone. It is an act of charity to try to understand. It is also important for co-victims to let others know that we appreciate their kindness and understanding. We see this when we have a holiday celebration at our December meeting on the first Monday in December. Of course, the room is full of co-victims and we plan it around the losses of our loved ones. Yet, it affects everyone in a different way. Tears are welcomed and we all know that everyone understands. Because we all have lost loved ones in a violent manner, no one has to make excuses or not let the tears flow. In fact, we draw strength from one another.
Adding a special tribute to remember our loved ones can also help co-victims. It is recommended that you might try one of the following traditions this Christmas: light a special candle; keep a special chair empty; write special notes or remembrances on a piece of paper and keep them where others can read them; openly express a special memory of your loved one during your family time together; or you can put a special ornament on your tree for your loved one just before you open presents so they are still a part of your celebration.
Traveling to a different location can help in some situations; nevertheless, it can also cause more loneliness. It is wise to remember that being away can cause more stress. Sometimes, we find comfort in keeping things the same as much as possible. However, it may also be wise to incorporate new memories or favorite things of your loved one. Reliving fond memories can also be up lifting. No one can ever take away the happy memories you have shared with your loved one. Celebrate what you have and though it is hard, remember that special memories last forever. Try to be with people who understand. However, if you cannot hold back your tears, know that they understand. This does not ruin the holidays for others. It is human to express how much we loved someone. Unsaid words and especially grief builds when we are unable to release them. Other family and friends may be having a sad time as well.
Do not be afraid to let your family know that you want them to mention your loved one. If it makes you cry, it is better to share your loss. Holding back or knowing others are afraid to mention their name only causes us more stress. We must learn how to give ourselves permission to feel our grief and to experience happiness. It is important to accept love, sympathy, and support from others who love us as well as reach out to others who need support.
When we help others during the holidays, it makes positive happenings in our life. It is helpful if we can contribute or volunteer to help someone who needs help. There is no way we can buy our way out of this sadness so just spending could cause us stress if we over spend. Bringing a favorite treat or any act of kindness is a true holiday gift.
Finally, take care of your health. Get the rest and sleep your body needs from the painful journey we are traveling. Group support is wonderful as well as having a special friend that you can share your feelings. Remember that your life has been turned upside down. Baby steps are good. POMC telephone friends can be a great help as well as going to our memorial and visiting the POMC Memorial Wall can be helpful. Your loved one’s name is engraved in stone and when our new memorial wall is finished, the new names will be added.
Please know that all of us at POMC will be thinking of our fellow co-victims. Be good to yourselves. We are not alone. Others also feel our pain.
All my love, Mary
On Monday, December 4, we will be celebrating out holiday memorial. There will be an ornament for each family from our holiday tree. We will have pictures of our loved ones on a slide show. There will be music, a light meal, candles, and a chance to gather to share after our meeting. If you have not sent a picture of your loved one, please do so by the end of November or as soon as possible. You can do this by e-mailing it or mailing it to Pat Schwiebert at: 2116 NE. 18th, Portland, OR 97212 or email: email@example.com. If we already have your pictures from past celebrations, we will be using those pictures as well.
We hope that this holiday season will be softer for the newly bereaved. We also hope that you will let us share with you and you will allow others who want to hear your story to listen and validate your grief.
Unless someone has been in your shoes, it is impossible for them to understand. Please know that you have a place to go where others understand. You are not alone. Our telephone friends volunteer and welcome your calls.
For the newly bereaved, please do not worry about tears. Our holiday memorial is a safe place to be. You are among friends who understand. Being with others who have been there gives us strength and hope. Sharing and telling our story allows others to understand the horror of homicide. Not releasing our pain allows it to play over and over in our minds. For those of us whose loved ones have been murdered years back, we know that our loved ones will always be remembered.
The Peace House is decorated
For everyone to see;
We all know that it continues on
To be a safe place for you and me.
Inside each of these handmade ornaments
Has a special heart for us to behold;
The heart represents our loved one and
Each of our stories needs to be told.
We keep our loved ones with us
When we remember;
They will always be with us
Especially in December!
Each family will have their choice
Of an ornament
To have and take home;
By remembering special times,
We will never be alone.
Being together on this special night,
Is the gift we give each other;
It doesn’t matter the relationship
As it could include everyone
From family to friends,
Every father and every mother.
We will listen to beautiful music
To soften each heart;
We all understand how we feel
For it is so painful
To be apart.
Reaching out to take each other’s hand;
Lets us know that we all understand.
MR. BEAR’S SECOND CHRISTMAS
Mr. Bear always remembers his second Christmas because he wanted to forget his first. Eight weeks before his first Christmas, he was packed in a large box with other teddy bears. Then, one morning, the box was opened and he was taken out, given a pat to make sure all of his stuffing was in the right place, and set on a shelf.
Mr. Bear was amazed when he looked around. A whole room full of teddy bears. More bears than he had seen at the factory where he was assembled. More—more—more. So many his head spun. About that time the door to the shop opened and a woman and a small boy came in. Mr. Bear watched as they approached some bears siting on the floor. To his amazement, the little boy grabbed a bear by the ear and flipped him high in the air. The boy’s mother caught the bear and scolded the boy “not until we buy one”. Mr. Bear wasn’t sure what to think of this. Were teddy bears meant to spend their lives flying through the air? While it looked like fun, he wasn’t sure he would like to do it all the time.
As it turned out, Mr. Bear didn’t need to worry. People came and went, days came and went, and still he sat on the shelf. Occasionally someone would stop and at him, and being a proper teddy bear, he would try to appear as lovable as possible. But, after a moment, they would set him back on the shelf and go on their way. Then, one day he saw “the box” being loaded with other bears. Shortly after that, his time came and it was back in the box with the others bears.
This time it seemed like such a long time before the box opened again. But, finally one day the box was opened and he went back on the shelf. Mr. Bear began to think maybe his job is going to be to either help fill a box on sit on a shelf. He didn’t much care for either of these. Again, the same thing happened. Days passed, people looked at him and set him back on the shelf, and still he sat.
He knew it was getting close to box time again because fewer and fewer bears were on the shelves. Finally, an older man came in and stopped right in front of Mr. Bear. He had long since given up trying to look special; he just looked back at the man. The man looked away and moved on looking at other bears, picking up some for examination and continuing to look. He went completely around the store finally returning to Mr. Bear. After looking at him for a moment, he went to the clerk. They both approached Mr. Bear and he head the worst words he had ever heard, “Do you have one like that only just a bit larger?” The clerk replied, “No, he only comes in that size”. The man thanked the clerk and continued looking at the other bears. Finally when Mr. Bear had lost all hope, the man returned picked him up, and went to the clerk. “I guess I will take this one,” he said. Mr. Bear was so excited. He didn’t know what would happen to him but he knew he wasn’t going back in the box. He was placed in a pretty pink sack and the top closed around him. A few days passed and Mr. Bear began to wonder if he had traded the box for a pink sack.
Finally, the sack opened and the man took him out. He looked at Mr. Bear and there were tears in his eyes. This really puzzled Mr. Bear. Bears were supposed to make people happy. After a moment he put Mr. Bear behind his back and went into a different room. Mr. Bear could only see where he had been so he had no idea what was going on. Then the man brought Mr. Bear forward and handed him to a woman. Mr. Bear looked up at her, holding his stubby little legs up, and saw the same tears he had seen in the man’s eyes. The woman took him and hugged him as he had never been hugged and he knew that he was home.
After they are assembled, all teddy bears attend Bear School where they learn what is expected of them. Mr. Bear remembered that teddy bears have two purposes. One is to provide love and companionship to children and the second is to provide support to adults (big people) when they have trouble.
Bears are taught that they not only can provide love but, they can also absorb pain. Just by being hugged Teddy Bears can take away some of the pain big people feel. Mr. Bear knew that this was going to be his job. Both the man and woman would pick him up, hug him tightly and sob. Great horrendous sobs that Mr. Bear knew contained more pain that anyone should bear. Even with all the pain, Mr. Bear felt good because he know that what he was doing was very important.
Months later, after the sobs had become less frequent and not quite so intense, Mr. Bear found out what caused them. The man and woman’s little boy’s life had been stolen by another person. Mr. Bear could not imagine a person that could do something like that. All the people that he had met were loving, but Mr. Bear knew it wasn’t his job to figure out people. It was his job to provide love and support.
Mr. Bear was a Christmas present to Shirlene Guthrie the Christmas after her son, Gregory was murdered on September 27th, 1991. We hope that you can find a “Mr. Bear” to comfort you.
By Tom Guthrie (Copyright 1997)
The Greater Portland Chapter is proud to announce that Lois Ward has done a remarkable job on her book about her beloved son, Shane. In her own words, Lois lets us know the loss and pain she has gone through and the injustice of her case. Her book is like a documentary. She has also written several other books about her life. She is able to recreate what has made her who she is.
“Defending Shane” is a tribute to her son and a true glimpse of what can happen and does in murder cases. I am proud of Lois as she is sharing one of the saddest things that can happen to a mother, the murder of her child. Thank you, Lois, for your dedicated work.
Hello, my name is Lois, and I am writing this to announce the book I wrote titled: defending SHANE. I wrote this book, and designed the covers to help “show” Shane’s life. Shane is my son. He was born on November 21, 1969, and he was murdered on a cold, sunny afternoon - December 14, 1989. Shane had stopped to defend a young girl who was being physically assaulted by a gang member, when a second gang member attacked Shane from behind, rupturing a main artery in the back of his head. I am told people who do what Shane did are called “the peacemaker”, and they are ofter killed in the process. The girl Shane had stepped-in to defend was released from the first gang member’s hold, and ran to safety. While Shane was being murdered by the gang members other stood by and watched it happen.
I describe how the police had both “offenders” in custody by the end of that first night, yet our town’s police department did not represent my son’s rights, and did not support me in my efforts to get justice for Shane. There was no trial for these offenders, as they were “allowed” to plea bargain down from murder even though they both had previous criminal records – though murdering Shane was their first “murder” offense.
Because I know I am not the only parent in the situation I was in, I started from the beginning of Shane’s life to help readers understand the kind of person he was, and I have included police records, a detectives records, news paper articles, and coroner’s reports in this book to show the truth of this nightmare.
Though this book is expensive because it contains full color photographs, and police documents, I am making the book available at a discount price for a short time to make it more affordable for POMC members through the Internet site: https://www.creatspace.com/7208352 and enter the Code: FSC69HNS. This special offer is valid through December 1, 2017. Any feed-back you would like to give about this book is welcome, and if you wish to send a quote I can use in my advertisement you can send it to my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
My best wishes to all,
Lois (Louise) Ward
For our “Holiday Memorial on December 5th, if we do not have a picture of your loved one already, please mail or e-mail it to: Pat Schwiebert at 2116 N. E. 18th Street, Portland . OR 97212. Her e-mail is: email@example.com. Pat needs the pictures as soon as possible so she can include them in our slide show. Your loved one’s name will be read out loud even if we do not have a picture on our board.
We are so grateful to Pat and her family at “The Peace House”, where we hold our meetings. They spend hours decorating their home so it is beautiful for our holiday memorial. For many, this time is the most special day they have during the holiday season since the murder of their loved one. It is a safe place to be.
On behalf of the Greater Portland Area Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, I would like to express our deepest appreciation to all of the generous people who have donated to the building of our addition memorial wall. We have a beautiful POMC Memorial now and families and friends from all over Oregon and Washington come to honor the memory of their loved ones who were so brutally taken from them. Sadly to say, our wall is completely filled. We have 500 names engraved on it.
What we are planning to do when we have enough funds is to build an additional wall that will hold 1000 more names. We have so many families who are waiting to add their loved ones’ name. It means so much to them because one of our greatest fears as a co-victims of homicide is that our loved one will not be remembered. They did not get to live the life they were suppose to. Some of the names on our wall belong to little babies to any age of adult. As co-victims, we have all suffered the same loss, the loss of a loved one to homicide. Our lives were completely changed. Homicide cannot be resolved.
What is also important is that we also educate the public when people come to see our wall. Murder can happen to any family. If people see the amount of people who are murdered, they will realize how important protection of society truly is. We need a justice system that works and laws for the protection of society. At POMC, we wish that people would never need our services. Sadly to say, we are getting more calls each day.
Co-victims of homicide need the peace and tranquility we are able to achieve at our POMC Memorial Wall. We are surrounded by beautiful sequoia trees, running water from the memorial, flowers, verses engraved on the stones that stand tall by the wall and a serenity that gives them hope and a place to gather and see that they are not alone.
We again ask for your help and thank those who have been so generous to our cause. If you would like to help, please go to the website of “Go Fund Me” and look under “POMC Memorial Wall”. All donations are appreciated and tax deductible. So many of our members are waiting to add their loved one’s name to the wall. Oregon has the largest POMC Memorial in the United States. Thank you for your help.
Funding for our new POMC Oregon/Washington Wall officially began this January, 2015. Members and friends of our chapter have been generous with donations and we are so thankful. Many of our new members are waiting for their loved ones names to be put on our new wall. We are listing new names that will be engraved when the wall is completed. We ask that members will call us, e-mail, or mail the information if you do not see your loved ones name on the list. The phone number is 503-656-8039, the e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org or POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Road.
We are designing the wall now and hoping to build a wall that will accommodate more names than the existing wall. We want to list all of our loved ones
If any of our members work at a company or know of anyone who would like to make a donation please let us know or it is fine for you to ask for a donation yourself. We are a non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. Please use the phone contact numbers from the first paragraph of this article. Thank you so much for your support.
Aisha Kathleen Zughbieh-Collins
Amber Rhiannon Adams
Anthony Branch Jr.
Austin Joe Hrynko
Braylon Michael Duguay
Brian Elton Spaulding
Cheritee Yvonne Vance
Cheryl Elizabeth Hart
Christopher James Loftus
Coltin Jacob Salsbury
Craig C. Moritz Jr.
Dale Archie Brown
David G. Swapp Jr.
Dean Anthony Kuntz
Devan Chanel Schmidt
Douglas Oliver Benton
Glen Edward Drysdale
Harold Sloan Blanchard
Jason Michael Ell
Jason Dale Johnson
Jason Scott Williams
Jayme Sue Austin
Jeffery Ray Brown
Jessica Lynn Clark
Jodi Marie Brewer
Joseph Ben Peterson
Julio Cesar Marquez Jr.
Kathleen Lois Bauman
Kaylee Anne Sawyer
Keith Ardell Benefield
Kenneth Dylan Lambert
Kenzie Rose La Buy
Krystal Jaye Mitchell
Kyle William Peckham
Laura Jean Bohlen
London Grey McCabe
Lori G. Billingsley
Marcos Juan Castillo
Molly Irene McCarter
Nicolas Lamont Lawson
Nicolette Naomi “Nikki” Elias
Paul W. Miller
Rachelle “Shelly” Law
Randall Leo Gettman
Raymond Lee Myers
Rebekah “Becky” Selegue Johnson
Ryan Robert Jones
Sahara Grace Dwight
Savannah Danielle Munden
Steve Leroy Johnson
Stuart M. Hess
Thomas James Fite
William Roland Hatch III
Windy Kim Kimball
Braedon Anthony Kroeker
Luke Aiden Kroeker
Ian Patrick McKay
Cody W. O’Brien
Judy D. Stanfill-Gourley
(Please contact us if your loved one’s name does not appear on this paper and you would like to have it added. A form will be added to our newsletter each month to be used for adding names for the wall when it is completed. Please check the spelling of your loved one’s name and let us know if it is wrong. You can e-mail us at email@example.com, call 505-656-8039, or mail us at POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045.)
Pat and Keith E.
The Greater Portland Chapter is proud to announce that Beth Greear has created a facebook support group for POMC members. To reach it use: www.facebook.com/groups/POMC.Portlalnd.Vancouver/ Beth said that there are several “admins” of the page so she is sure it will be very beneficial to anyone who would like to use it.
We cannot thank her enough for the chance to have even more support for our members. Beth is an outstanding person who is always there to reach out to help others. She even brought a delicious dessert for our December holiday meeting. We will be writing more on this next month and giving the names of other members who are helping with this project.
The murder of a loved one is the most horrific thing a person can experience. The only thing that can make it worse is a substandard initial investigation or not seeing justice in your case. Timely collection of evidence followed by an arrest and conviction would provide a degree of comfort, but what happens to co-victims when a thorough investigation is not done, and there is no arrest? Many of the victims' friends and acquaintances will gradually let go of their grief over time, but the closest of friends and family will remain in a state of sorrow, haunted by the injustice of investigators that may not have conformed to rules or standard operating procedures during their initial investigation. Not only is there no relief, but the agony of the event changes their lives forever, and becomes part of their very being. Co-victims' everyday battle becomes their effort to get a thorough investigation.
Helplessness is a gut-wrenching emotion which plagues co-victims who are not allowed to assist with the investigation and are longing for justice. We don't want to let our loved one down; we are compelled to fight for justice no matter how long it takes. As the process drags on, frustration grows. Many times, due to confidentiality, important conversations between co-victims and law enforcement are avoided, and this lack of communication can cause co-victims to feel neglected and disrespected, which often manifests itself in frustration, anger, and a loss of confidence in the investigators. Regular contact and truthfulness are two of the most important things survivors need from law enforcement. We need investigators to focus on routine communication of as much information as possible with sensitivity and without being misleading. Survivors’ perception that information is not being shared with them can result in them feeling they have been secondarily victimized. As the years pass, co-victims start wondering if their unsolved homicide could be reviewed by a fresh set of eyes, and they often look into getting their case to a cold case unit, only to find out that some jurisdictions don't even have a cold case unit. If there is a cold case unit in their jurisdiction, cases are evaluated and chosen according to a set of criteria. Co-victims whose cases seem to be continuously passed over for review become dismayed and even angry toward law enforcement. Anger can mobilize psychological resources for corrective action, but uncontrolled anger can negatively affect personal or social well-being.
Co-victims who put forth the effort to examine and understand the cold case process and various factors which must be dealt with during cold case investigations are able to put the process into perspective. They must understand that cold cases are among the most difficult and frustrating cases for both co-victims and law enforcement, and not every case is chosen to be investigated. It helps to review the following criteria checklist used by the National Sheriff’s Association, Justice Solutions and POMC:
Complete an application for cold case review. This application includes detailed information regarding agency reports, victimology, suspects/persons of interest, timeline, coroner, lab reports, investigation documents, weapon descriptions and media releases.
Co-victims should also be aware that closing rates can be more successful if investigators work only one or two cases at a time. At this point, if we find out that our case doesn’t qualify for review by a cold case unit, our only hope is that a thorough re-investigation will be done by homicide investigators.
If you have comments or questions about this article, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pat Kuiper at 702-809-8654 to get your loved ones' name listed in our newsletter. Feel free to contact Pat if you would like to share your story.
Lucy Eilertson (1998)
Diana Moffitt (1987)
Donald James Brown (2007)
Kimberly Larson Reames (1983)
William (Bill) Mark Stratton (2005)
The Greater Portland Chapter is so proud of our member, Amanda Harris, for launching her official site for siblings. Amanda is offering the Website: www.unitingsiblings.com so that sibling co-victims of homicide have a place to go where they will be understood and supported. This site will include video, chat, and telephone conference via a secure and private interface. Amanda is paying for the expenses and will be delighted to be another support for sibling co-victims. Amanda can also be reached at: Amanda@unitingsiblings.com or 623-866-3189.
Amanda Harris is now ready to start her web site for siblings. The Portland Chapter is excited about the support and understanding this new group will be for the many often overlooked survivors.
Please find, enclosed, $10.00 for my annual subscription (three issues) for the Survivors Newsletter.
(Please consider adding an extra subscription fee to help defray the cost for someone who cannot afford it.)
CITY, STATE, ZIP____________________________________________________________________
MAIL TO: POMC, INC. ENCLOSED IS MY: CHECK _________________
100 E. EIGHTH STREET, B-41 MONEY ORDER__________
CINCINATTI, OH 54202
Download form here
PRINTED NAME OF LOVED ONE_________________________________________ (This will be engraved on the wall)
LOVED ONE’S BIRTHDATE____________________________ DEATH DATE____________________________
MEMBER/FRIEND’S NAME AND ADDRESS ____________________________________________________________
MEMBER/FRIEND’S PHONE NUMBER_____________________________ Do you want a Newsletter? Yes No
SIGNATURE FOR PERMISSION TO
ENGRAVE NAME AND SPELLING APPROVAL_________________________________________________________
Please submit one form for each loved one. Please make efforts with other family members/friends to ensure multiple requests are not received for the same name. When completed, please mail, fax, or e-mail to the following places: POMC, Mary Elledge, 14427 S. Forsythe Road, Oregon City, OR 97045 or fax 503-656-4420, or e-mail: email@example.com. If you have any questions, please call 503-656-8039.
Download form here
Please Complete and Return to Memorial Garden,
POMC 14427 S. Forsythe Rd Oregon City, OR 97045
100% of Contributions are Tax Deductible
Name:____________________________________________ phone: __________________________
Gift in Memory of: __________________________________________________________
Anonymous gift (will not be recognized at the Memorial Garden or in published materials)
Method of Payment:
Credit Card #_________________________________________Exp Date:___________
Name on Card _________________________________________________________________
Pledged Payment (to be completed by December 31, 2014)
Please add notes on payment timing _________________________________________
Thank you for helping to create the Oregon-Washington Public Memorial Garden. Your generosity will never be forgotten.
Download form here
Tacoma Violent Crime Victim Services Welcomes Homicide Survivors
Peer Support Group Meeting
If someone you love has been the victim of a homicide, we invite you to attend our monthly support group meeting. You will find acceptance, compassion and support.
Place: United Way Building
3rd FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM
Date: 3rd Wednesday of Each Month!
Time: 7:30PM – 10:00PM
The United Way Building is located in Tacoma, at 1501 Pacific Avenue. This is the same building that the VCVS office is located in. It is next to Union Station on the north side. As you pass Union Station you will see the United Way Building. Parking is on the south side of the building. Please park your vehicle in an open space and enter the building’s front entrance and take the elevator to the third floor. The conference room is Suite 312. Please call Lew Cox for more information (253) 383-5254.
POMC'S Court Watch Program is designed to help families maneuver through the court system. Two of the most important aspects of Court Watch are the prevention of any re-victimization to family members, and the minimizing of the emotional pain of going through hearings and trials.
If you would like support from POMC during hearings and trials or want to offer assistance, call Pat Elmore at 503-312-5681 or Allen Tremain at 503-522- 0577.
Each month a number of newsletter are returned due to delivery problems. In addition to the initial postage, return postage is charged by the Postal Service. To minimize this expense, please write to the return address of this newsletter or contact Gayle if your address changes or you no longer wish to receive this publication.