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From Patricia Simone, Cardinal Funeral Homes:

What To Do When the Police Leave:
A Guide To the First Days of Traumatic Loss

Bill Jenkins

WBJ Press, 1998
(804) 261-7838

Tragedy can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime. It requires no special qualifications or application processes. Victims and their secondary victims of crime, the family members and friends, desperately need guidance through the first days of the loss. All too often no supports seem to be available. Each individual tragic death will leave a wave of many mourners; often hundreds and even thousands are affected by the senseless death of one person.

What To Do When The Police Leave: A Guide To The First Days Of Traumatic Loss is a useful resource, suitable for many types of situations and losses. It is a much needed tool for those who are confronted with the traumatic loss of their loved one.

This book is not going to answer every question. Some content is specifically American. It is definitely not an exhaustive study of grief. It is however, a convenient, concise, and comprehensive package, ideal for distribution to those involved in initial contacts and death notifications. It is an honest, frank, and practical book to help grieving families through the first days of the sudden death of a loved one. Clearly this book was developed with the surviving, newly grieving family member in mind, as well as the police officer, the funeral director, medical professional, victim service advocate, bereavement counsellor, and chaplain so that their job may be made a bit easier.

So often, when it is time for the caregivers to leave, all that can be left behind with the family are the bad news, some good wishes and perhaps the promise of a follow-up visit or two. If the family members are "lucky", perhaps someone has thought to refer them to a good grief support program. This book empowers us all to leave the family with a resource, which provides the authoritative advice needed to make healthy decisions while facing the issues in the first few weeks of loss.

The book's content includes more in-depth chapters with valuable insights and helpful information, regardless of how much time has passed. Various chapters address: planning a funeral on short notice, a checklist of immediate issues and needs, an introduction to grief and its effects, accessing victim service programs, how to talk to children about death, an introduction to the criminal justice system, a bibliography of additional resources and lists of related organizations &emdash; including website resources. Throughout the book we also find helpful, inspirational poems, writings, and quotations from others who have suffered the unexpected, violent death of a loved one.

This book, combined with the personal contact of an empathetic caregiver, will be a powerful tool in the effort to help families adjust to the very difficult days ahead. Though this resource appears to be as complete as possible, nothing can substitute for the personal attention of caring individuals. This book should be considered the beginning step for families. When expertise is shared and when additional resources are brought together, an ultimate level of service for the sake of good health and future well being would be provided.

A must as a resource, this book should be made available to every family who must deal with the consequences of violent crime in Canada and the United States. It should be available in all private and public libraries and on the shelves of schools and various social service provider agencies. It will help the reader understand that they are not alone, that they will survive the ordeal and that there are things that can be done which will smooth the way a bit, which will help avoid later regrets.

Bill Jenkins authored this book, after his teenage son, tragically became another homicide victim in Virginia in 1997. Bill has since become active in victim support and rights. The cover of this book is adorned with the purple ribbon, a sign of remembrance for loved ones who have died through violence.

Patricia Simone
Cardinal Funeral Homes

Patricia's aunt and uncle were tragically killed in 1996 by a violent, repeat offender. Her family, like so many others, were forced to confront the many issues of traumatic grief and the criminal justice system. She currently is member of the Board of Directors of the Victims Services Program of Toronto.


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