Post by Theresa Blakley, professor of social work
The Remember Me Commemorative Event for Families of Homicide Loss began nine years ago.
Dr. Mehr and I conduct a type of therapeutic support group (Restorative Retelling) for persons who have lost loved ones to homicide in and around West Tennessee. The group is free to the community and is operated out of the Trauma, Faith, and Resilience Initiative of The Center for Just and Caring Communities at Union University.
In one of the first groups we facilitated, members expressed how deeply they needed their community to know that their murdered loved ones were persons who were esteemed, cherished, beloved – that they were in the midst of chasing their dreams, ambitions, and managing their responsibilities when their lives were taken – and that they should not be forgotten.
It was from this angst, the annual Remember Me Commemorative Event for Families of Homicide Loss was born. The event provides an avenue for families of homicide-loss to know that they are not alone, to have their pain and courage acknowledged by a caring community, and to walk in the name and memory of their lost loved one.
In this ninth year, we continue to hear that Remember Me has become the essential event where families of homicide loss annually gather to remember and honor their loved ones.
Many hold up photographs of lost loved ones as they walk around Union’s bell tower; some wear specially made tee shirts with photographs and messages of love. Tears mingle with courageous smiles as families link arms in their walk of remembrance, vowing never to forget.
As for Dr. Mehr and I, both survivors of homicide-loss, it is our way of never forgetting as well. We have learned and have acted upon the lesson that so many who mourn know well: Placed in the hands of God, no suffering is ever wasted.
Photos by Kristi Woody