Emotions are raw for the parents of Trayvon Martin, the Florida youth shot and killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
While mourning the loss of a son, they are wading through life in slow motion; surrounded by the media, politicians, rallies, marches, petitions, legal and medical authorities.
One day, the public intrusion will end. The words ‘injustice’ and ‘racism’ will no longer permeate every conversation about Trayvon Martin. That’s when unimaginable grief will begin and his family will have to broach the chasm between what is and what should have been.
Most psychologists agree there are stages to grief
- Shock and denial
- Pain and guilt
Grief is a natural healing response that offers protection from the pain of loss until a person is better able to cope. There is no correct way to grieve. Some move through the grieving process quickly while remain in one stage for years. Often it shows up disguised as illness, family conflict, work problems and poor coping skills. In unanticipated deaths, grief is intense and longer lasting.
Because Trayvon Martin’s death was violent, his family may have heightened feelings of vulnerability, anxiety and fear of the world are often heightened. There is no time to prepare for the death mentally or financially. Goodbyes remain unspoken. Relationship-broken.
The case of Trayvon Martin is high profile which complicates his family’s recovery.
A need to blame can become consuming along with the sense of helplessness, regrets and unfinished business. Denied the sense of closure, mourners often remain consumed with anger. The coping mechanism is diminished. Illogical and difficult to comprehend, the death contains many unanswered questions. A trial prolongs the grieving process, especially if the killer is not caught or goes unpunished.
Sometimes, those who have experienced a tragic death eventually stop asking the question ‘why’ and work to affect change. The parents of Trayvon Martin may decide to fight injustice, end racism or change to the Florida “Stand your ground” law that allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel reasonable threat of death or serious injury. Or it could be that their greater good has already been done.
In wrongful death personal injury cases, families can receive compensation to help pay for the expense of long term grief counseling with trained professionals.