Undoubtedly, the family and loved ones of Samantha Runnion are devastated by the tragic, incomprehensible death of the precious little girl who was there, then gone, and will not return. They must grieve her death, and in doing so, find a way to not get stuck in either their hatred of the killer or in the demonic way in which she was murdered, lest they lose sight of the primary issue, which is their relationship with Samantha.
One of the most prevalent and damaging concepts related to the death of a child is the idea that you can never get over the death of a child. While it is impossible to ever forget your child, the idea of never getting over it adds a life in purgatory for the surviving parents and others. The statement often takes on even greater gravitas when that child has died a violent or gruesome death.
You can recover after losing a child
Our beliefs, confirmed by more than twenty years of hands-on experience helping tens of thousands of grievers, are that with correct information, correct choices, and a safe environment, people can begin to recover from any significant emotional loss. It is important to give voice to the anger and rage caused by this senseless act. It is also imperative not to let those feelings of anger override all the other emotional memories.
Here are two awkward but important questions:
Would the Runnion family miss Samantha any less if she had died in some other way? Would the parents of other children lost to violent crime, drunk drivers, medical malpractice, or abuse miss their children any less if they had died in some other manner?
The answer is always No. Grievers whose lives and hearts have been shattered by unfair and unwarranted deaths often funnel all of their emotions and energies into seeking justice or into insuring that this never happens again. Such activities do benefit society, but have limited value in healing the wounds of those whose hearts have been broken. The death of a loved one is a shattering event, no matter the circumstances. The notion that a violent death is somehow more shattering than a peaceful death, while logical, is not accurate.
Yes, the circumstances of a death can and do add significant emotions to the grievers’ overburdened hearts, but the heart is broken at 100% by the death itself and must be mended regardless of the cause of death. Those who loved Samantha Runnion are well advised to mourn HER loss and remember HER life. Fixating on the perpetrator or his evil methods only permits him to continue to inflict hurt and pain, while doing nothing to heal those who are truly innocent.