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Few people ‘get it’ when it comes to loss by homicide

Remembering those taken too soon — taken by homicide — a visually stunning and thought-provoking memorial was displayed during a National Day of Remembrance event for homicide victims Friday evening in Brandon Park.

Intended to be interactive, organizers with Angel Families Unite posted photos of 60 slaying victims from throughout the region and displayed a painting of a tree with the names of victims. Those who have lost loved ones walked up to the tree, dipped their finger in paint and dabbed it on the names, bringing the tree to life with color. Balloons were released and stones to mark the moment were painted and left behind.

This marked the second observation locally of the National Day of Remembrance by Angel Families Unite, which provides a network of families of homicide victims “who get it” and are able to support each other, according to organizer and victim advocate Bridget Irwin.

She and others shared their stories of loss and offered support to survivors.

“We are there when the crowds get back to their new normal and the families are left with the silent nights, attempting to define their new normal.” Irwin said. “We are whatever the family member, friend or community member needs. Sometimes it’s someone to yell at. … There is no right way to navigate this. We remind them whatever they’re feeling is OK.”

Indeed, the pain and anguish inflicted on loved ones by homicide is unimaginable, let alone the process with which they must deal as law enforcement toils toward justice.

Support is essential.

So thank you, Angel Families Unite, for sharing your mission and compassion for those who have lost loved ones.

While it is sad that such a group is needed, we are glad that you are here as few people are equipped to truly understand.

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