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December 2001

Rev. Dr. Richard Gilbert, BCC writes in Resources Hotline for the World Pastoral Care Center:

September 11 told us, as a nation, what many have long known.  We are a violent people in a violent nation.  Every day as a chaplain I see a new story, a new victimization, a new horror in the world we call the human predicament and the human experience.  Gangs.  Guns.  Sexual assaults.  Violence.  Drugs.  Destruction.  It is all here and, sadly, all too common.

That is the first assault.  The second, before the first has even really "hit," is that reality that hits us with the systematic destruction that often follows in the jungle of "support" services.  This is not an attack on the legal system or law enforcement, but it is a strong reminder that the very people who (naively thought, perhaps) were there to protect us now become yet another trial for us.  it is not their intention to work against us.  Quite the contrary.  I work with hundreds of police officers and legal systems who are sensitive and caring.  It is the process, the job that they must do while we wonder, wait and wander, that makes the second rung on this difficult grief ladder almost as "deadly" as the first.

Jenkins doesn't attack or criticize.  Quite the contrary.  He embraces the reality by offering friendly, insightful and encouraging directions, redirections and, at times, resurrection or rescue for families and individuals who now must work through systems and snares to come to terms first with the reality of the violence in loss and the justice system issues that follow and then, finally, to "begin" their sorrowful outpouring. 

There is a crucial checklist for "the eight things you need to know right now," working with victim assistance programs, checklists, planning and surviving the funeral, grief work and his content is so useful and attentive that it becomes some of the best material written for a person on any loss journey.  He know the systematic destruction that accompanies violence, and he knows the comfort and care that comes when people can grieve in healthy and safe ways.

This book must be made available to families and individuals following a violent death.  More than that, emergency room personnel (including chaplains), first responders, law enforcement, media and others who move in and out of sorrow's pathway, will do well to read this book.  It will enable them first to revisit who they are, what they do and how they do their work, and offer a refreshing new option for providing much needed and specialized care that follows a death due to violence.

 

Rev. Dr. Richard Gilbert is a noted pastoral counselor and chaplain, greatly respected in the grief and bereavement community.

 

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