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Home >Online Support Ask The Experts >Brad Stetson

Brad Stetson(Social Analyst/Chaplain/Bereavement Specialist)

Not sure if you can help. My son was murdered 2 years ago, shot 4 times twice in the back which is what killed him. My Grandson who was really close to him and everyone who said that they would be there for him has either flaked out, started using drugs again, his own pawpaw ran out on him. Joe refuses to talk about Billy (who was murdered), he has started to act out and be abusive towards his mother and siblings and has started saying that he doesn't want to live anymore. My husband and I have been trying to help my daughter deal with his problems, but he is starting to use the system and division of family services. My daughter has yet to grieve her brothers loss from all of the problems that we had with the police and everyone stealing all of his possessions. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, looking for any help.

First let me say how very, very sorry I am for your loss. What a terrible trauma you and your whole family have experienced.

I assume Joe is a teenager, or in his younger teen years. Of course, as you all have, Joe has experienced a profound trauma, and naturally he has no  "roadmap" for his grief, he has no example or advice on how to grieve in a healthy manner. My first and perhaps most important piece of advice for you is to try to connect Joe with a professional therapist who can counsel him, and give him sound guidance regarding the changes that are taking place in his life. 

As well, communicate to Joe that while you love him and have great compassion for him, and his loss, he is still responsible for his own conduct, and that you and your family expect him to behave properly, even amid all the unfair and wrong things that have been done to his father and family.  

Also, try to surround Joe with good examples and roll models.  Perhaps seek a "Big Brothers" program or other mentoring program in your area that can provide good, positive male role models for him. He needs that. Also, let his schoolteachers know what he is going through, so they can better understand and help him. Try to ensure the friends he has in his life are good and decent kids, who will help Joe form good habits in his own life. Try to find an activity or endeavor Joe likes and is good at, for example sports, computers, art, carpentry, etc., and encourage him to pursue that.  And in my opinion it could be helpful to him to become a part of a church community. It is likely that there is a church near you that has programs for kids, and compassionate people there who will want to help him.   

For a child such as Joe, who has had terrible loss in his life, meaning and stability in his life, now, are most important. Seek those things for him, and above all professional counseling. And of course, as I know you have, tell him you love him, and want the best for him, and that he can honor his father by becoming a good person. 

- Brad Stetson