Further Reading for Victim/Survivors & Facilitators
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Bartholomew, Therese. Coffee Shop God [a sister’s story of her and her family’s struggle following her brother’s murder in 2003], CPCC Press, 2009.
Therese’s brother and best friend, Steve, went on a business trip. He never came home. Steve was shot and killed in a Greenville, SC parking lot after an argument with a complete stranger went too far. From disbelief and anger to grief and acceptance, six years later, Therese’s journey is just beginning. Coffee Shop God will inspire forgiveness and healing in us all. Survivor Story.
Derksen, Wilma. Have You Seen Candace? [a mother’s story of her daughter’s abduction and murder in 1984], Amity, 2002.
This book spans the events and learnings of one year, beginning with the day that Candace disappeared and ending with the anniversary of that day. The story reveals the earnest goodwill of a supportive community, the life of an average family, the horror of the aftermath of murder, and the way one family tried to cope. Wilma Derksen is Director of Victim’s Voice, a national Canadian program of Mennonite Central Committee Canada that assists people impacted by homicide and violent crime. Survivor Story.
Edwards, Larry M., Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss, Wigeon Publishing, 2014.
Larry Edwards unmasks the emotional trauma of violent loss as he ferrets out new facts to get at the truth of how and why his parents were killed. In 1977, Loren and Joanne Edwards left Puget Sound aboard their 53-foot sailboat Spellbound, destined for French Polynesia. Six months later they lay dead aboard their boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In the author’s own words “Surviving a violent loss is a journey — a journey of emotional trauma, anger, grief, denial, and depression. A journey no one wants to take. Yet, when you have lost a loved one to violent death, you have no choice. It comes uninvited and unanticipated. You are blindsided. You are driving through an intersection of life when a contemptuous scofflaw plows into you. Your life is never the same. There is no going back. The journey begins. This book recounts my journey. A journey I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But if my telling this story proves helpful to others, then it takes on greater meaning. It expands the value of the work and lifts it to a higher plane. To that end, my intent is that this book serves a broader purpose than simply laying out the untold story of my parents’ deaths and refuting the errors in previously published material. I want to see this book generate greater awareness of and conversations about violent loss and its impact on the survivors and their families.”
Gibson, Gregory. Gone Boy: A Walkabout [the murder of the author’s college-age son], Anchor, 2000.
When Greg Gibson’s oldest son, Galen–eighteen, bright, unique, full of promise–was shot and killed by a fellow student at his school, Gibson found himself undertaking an unusual, highly personal investigation to discover the truth about his son’s murder. He felt he owed it to his son, and he knew the process would help save his own sanity. Gibson’s journey begins with a visit to the man who sold the killer the gun and builds to an astonishing interview with the killer’s parents–hardworking Taiwanese immigrants as anguished as the Gibsons about their own “gone boy.” Along the way, he meets investigators, lawyers, psychiatrists, conspiracy theorists, bureaucrats, and more than a few lost souls. Survivor Story
Hanscombe, Andre. The Last Thursday in July: The Story of Those Left Behind [the murder of the author’s wife, the mother of their two-year-old son], Century, U.K., 1996.
Andre Hanscombe, the author, was the partner of Rachel Nickell who was brutally murdered in the summer of 1992 on Wimbledon Common in the presence of her 3-yr. old son, Alex. Andre, was also the father Alex. Andre shares how he was propelled into taking full responsibility for the young child’s upbringing, whilst under the intense scrutiny of the media, and having to come to terms with his grief. Survivor Story
Moreland, Lesley. An Ordinary Murder [a mother’s story of a daughter’s murder, and a meeting with the murderer], Aurum Press, U.K., 2002.
On Friday 2 February 1990, while Lesley Moreland and her husband were eating their evening meal, the doorbell rang. It was the police. They told the Morelands that their daughter Ruth was dead. She had been murdered. This is Lesley Moreland’s extraordinary account of what happened to her and her family in the weeks, months and years that followed. She describes with painful honesty the visit to see Ruth’s body in the mortuary, the funeral, the efforts to obtain the facts about how Ruth died, and the trial. And she writes about her own need to meet the man who took Ruth’s life, and the difficult journey which eventually brought her face to face with him in prison. To learn more about the other side of murder, she embarked on a correspondence with a prisoner on Death Row in Texas and develops a close friendship with him. With a list of Further Reading and Useful Organizations. Survivor Story
O’Hara, Kathleen. A Grief Like No Other [a mother’s story of a son’s murder.], Marlowe & Co., 2006.
Violent death—which includes suicide, drug overdose, and death by vehicular homicide and drunk drivers—brings to survivors a different kind of grief. From intense feelings of guilt, anger and PTSD, to years spent dealing with legal ramifications, those left behind in the wake of violence have to contend with unique circumstances that are different from a “natural” death. Kathleen O’Hara knows both sides of this coin. As a therapist, she has counseled hundreds of people dealing with grief; as a mother, she saw her worst fears realized when her college-aged son, Aaron, was brutally murdered on Memorial Day, 1999. In the aftermath of his death, she developed the seven-stage journey that is at the heart of A Grief Like No Other. O’Hara offers concrete, practical, and compassionate steps for those who are grieving, allowing family and friends safe passage through this incredibly harrowing journey.
Saindon, Connie. Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources, Wigeon Publishing, 2014.
Connie Saindon’s professional as well as personal experience have given her a unique perspective that few others have. Not only did she learn first-hand about criminal death, she learned that she is a Survivor in every sense of the word. However, she also realized that little was known about the impact of murder on the survivors or their needs. She fills that void for the Survivors, the co-victims of murder. This book provides information, resources, and strategies for learning to live with the aftermath of a homicide, including safety issues, dealing with the criminal justice system, addressing the news media, and coping with traumatic grief, while preserving the memory of a loved one. In the book, Survivor Writers describe their own experiences and, through their tips and suggestions, lend a helping hand to those who follow in their footsteps. The Foreword to the book is written by Edward Rynearson, MD, Medical Director, Separation and Loss Services Program, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA, and the author of Retelling Violent Death.
Sharp, Debra Puglisi. Shattered: Reclaiming a Life Torn Apart by Violence, Atria, 2003.
Shattered represents one woman’s attempts to make sense of a senseless crime. In April 1998, this wife, nurse, and mother of teenage twins was tending the roses in her garden when a factory worker with a cocaine habit slipped through an open back door—a door Debra usually kept locked— and waited for her to come in. Nino, her husband of twenty-five years, got in the way and was shot. The man then attacked and raped Debra, placed her in the trunk of his car, and drove away. Debra was kept tied-up in her abductor’s house for five excruciating days. She learned of her beloved husband’s murder from a report on the radio that the man blared to muffle her screams while he was out. After five days, Debra’s mounting rage at her captor — and the wrenching thought of her children burying their father alone — gave her the courage and strength she desperately needed. She loosened her ties, got to the phone … and dialed 911. Struggling to heal from her ordeal and the devastating loss of her husband, Debra also had to endure an agonizing court trial, the raw grief of her children, and her own crippling fear. But through her work in hospice care and as an advocate for victims of violence and trauma, she has slowly discovered the measure of her own strength.