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I had a younger aunt that was like a sister to me.

My sophomore year in college, I took her on spring break with me. When I moved out of state, and I would come home to visit, I didn’t stay at my parents, I would stay at her house. We were that close.

Then it all was gone. I got a call from my mother at 1AM one morning and my world stopped.

My aunt had been brutally tortured, murdered.

She was gone.

Murder brings out intense emotional reactions.

The emotional pain and anguish of murder seem unbearable. I feel an overwhelming sense of loss and deep, deep sorrow. I constantly experience thoughts about the circumstances of her death.

I relieve what I think happened and I see her being tortured and killed. I imagine the pleas for her life she was making.

Grieving for a murder victim is unlike any other grief. The murder of a loved one results in the survivors grieving not only the death, but how the person died.

I have intrusive visualizations of the murder and I see her suffering. I have flashbacks of the moment when I was notified of her death. I have flashbacks of the last time I saw her alive.

I dream of her knocking at my door and, when I open it, I see her, and she tells me, “It was a mistake! It wasn’t me.

I never got to see her dead body, so I think part of me has denial about her gruesome death.

Her life was cut short through an act of sick cruelty. The disregard for human life adds overwhelming feelings of anger, distrust, injustice, and helplessness to the normal sense of loss and sorrow. Sometimes, I cry like I am never going to stop.

I don’t think a person can rebound from this.

I have suffered lots of childhood abuse, both childhood sexual abuse and childhood emotional abuse. I suffer from bipolar disorder and PTSD. My mother has narcissistic personality disorder.

I’ve got my hands full, but dealing with a murder is a baffling head game.

I don’t think I will ever come to terms with it.