How to help yourself after traumatic death of a loved one

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) --- Anytime you lose a loved one, especially in a traumatic way like the murder of 17-year-old Tysiona Crawford two years ago and now her parents after a murder suicide on Monday, it takes a toll on a family’s physical health, emotional health and mental health.

So, what are some resources to help deal with that?

Some medical professionals say it’s about recognizing the need for help and knowing where to get help.

“Especially after a traumatic death of a homicide, families can feel very overwhelmed, so it can be hard to know where even to begin.” Ryan’s Place Program Director Laurenne Hamlin said.

That is exactly how family and friends are feeling – overwhelmed – after the murder-suicide that took the lives of 36-year-old Doneisha Jones and 37-year-old Tyson Crawford.

“We loved her and we loved him. We loved them both,” relative Cynthia Crawford-Burton said.

They are the parents whose lives changed forever after their daughter, 17-year-old Tysiona Crawford, was murdered in 2018.

A family shattered by that cycle of violence has people asking this question: What type of resources are out there for people who lose someone they love in this way?

Hamlin, who helps grieving children, teens and families who have experienced traumatic death, has the answer.

“We really rely on our group model. Meaning, we have a group specifically for adults. For example, for adults that have had a child die, there are families specifically who have had the child that was murdered. Unless you have been through something like that, it’s hard to relate to other people who haven’t been through that. Being able to connect to, relate to that experience can help, because the family no longer feels isolated,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin also say that oftentimes, mental health does not get the attention it deserves and is overlooked, especially following traumatic death.

“We live in a culture that does not like to talk about death or grief, and so people are told to get over it. ‘It’s OK. Shake it off.’ You know, you get a couple days of bereavement time and then you got to go back to work or back to school and you are expected to perform at the same level that you were before the death, and after a traumatic death like a homicide, it can be incredibly difficult,” Hamlin said.

If you or your loved one needs help following the death of a loved one, you can contact the following agencies for help:

- St. Joseph County Victim Services
- RyansPlace.org
- CenterForHospiceCare.org
- TheSourceElkhartCounty.org