By Dr. Gloria Horsley, an internationally known grief expert and author. Gloria is the founder of the Open to Hope foundation.
This New Year may be a good time to declutter your grief: clean out that junk drawer of behavior and rid yourself of obstacles that might be keeping you from moving forward. It may be a time to ask yourself, “am I doing the things that make me happy or am I supporting others in dealing with their grief?” How we grieve is a personal as well as a community activity. We grieve the way we live. If prior to our loss we were a saver or a hoarder that may be the way we deal with our loss. Some people like to keep things tidy and have the philosophy that if you are not using it give it away. Others cherish lots of reminders like mom’s knickknacks and dad’s coin collection. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and there is not closure to grief; it is just that sometimes we make concessions that go contrary to our desires to move forward along our healing journey. If you are doing things that once worked, but no longer do, it may be a time to consider de-cluttering your grief.
Below is an assessment of your readiness and/or willingness to declutter:
1. Am I being true to my feelings?
2. Am I letting others know what my needs are?
3. Am I able to tell love ones that old behaviors are no longer working for me”?
4. Am I willing to allow myself to break outdated promises?
5. Am I willing to accept that loved ones may be angry with me?
6. Am I willing to compromise?
If you are able to answer the majority of these questions with a strong “yes” then you are on your way to a more peaceful and joyful existence, one with less stress and clutter. You were born to be joyful and happy. Use the New Year as an opportunity to again find meaning and purpose in your life. Please visit us often at www.Opentohope.com for more help and advice on finding hope after loss.
Yesterday, officials reported that 19-year-old Ethan Couch was detained in Mexico with his mother. For our statement on his capture, click here. An international manhunt began earlier this month after the teenager’s probation officer was allegedly unable to contact him.
This case enraged the nation. How could someone, who was convicted of causing a crash that killed four and left another passenger paralyzed, walk away with only probation? The defense council successfully argued that their client suffered from “affluenza” – an inability to understand the consequences of one's actions because of financial privilege.
Unfortunately, while this case caught the nation’s attention, it’s far from rare. Every day, MADD supports victims who all too often don’t find justice in a justice system set up to protect defendants, not victims.
In reality, this case just brought to the forefront a reality that so many victims face every day. So how do we fight “affluenza”?
We get mad. Or rather MADD.
We need people like you to speak up and say that drunk driving is unacceptable no matter how rich you are. We need advocates who want to push for laws that require judges to hold drunk driving offenders accountable. We need financial support to ensure that we can place a victim advocate in every courtroom, providing emotional support to families and ensuring that their voices are heard.
Are you MADD? Join us as we work to create a future of No More Victims™. Help us Fight "Affluenza".
All states and the federal government have passed laws that establish rights for victims. These laws require that victims have certain information, protections and a limited role in the criminal justice process. Laws and rights may vary by state and may have different levels of rights. Victims’ rights may depend on the laws of the jurisdiction where the crime is investigated and prosecuted such as state, federal or tribal government or military installation.
A victim is defined as anyone who has been directly harmed or impacted by a crime, such as drunk or drugged driving. It’s important that victims and survivors of substance impaired driving crashes, as well as the advocates working with them be aware and knowledgeable of the rights afforded to them. These rights are personally held by the victim that can be legally asserted during the criminal justice process. Independent legal representation is critical to making these rights meaningful.
Per the National Crime Victim Law Institute, victims have the right to be reasonably protected from the accused; the right to reasonable, accurate and time notice of court proceedings; not to be excluded; to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding; to confer with the attorney for the government; to full and timely restitution; to proceedings free from unrealistic delay and to be treated with fairness and with respect for their dignity and privacy.
For more information of victims’ rights and how to advocate for them or for yourself if you have been impacted by crime such as substance impaired driving, please visit the National Crime Victim Law Institute website, www.ncvli.org. For additional information about victim’s rights, please visit The National Center for Victims of Crime website, www.victimsofcrime.org.
Recently, I was in Chicago to honor Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Because of his efforts to implement and improve Illinois’ Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) program, Secretary White was presented with the MADD 2015 Legislative Champion Award.
White noted over the last two full years his office’s BAIID program has prevented nearly 40,000 vehicles from starting because alcohol was detected from the driver during breath tests. Since 2009, when White expanded BAIID to include first-time DUI offenders, drunk driving deaths in Illinois have dropped by 24 percent.
It was a pleasure to meet Secretary White and learn how much he cares about MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. He, and all of us at MADD, are hoping for a day when there are NO MORE VICTIMS.
For a full list of MADD Legislative Champions click here.
December 3rd was MADD’s National Day of Remembrance – a time for MADD offices across the nation to hold events to honor and remember the victims of drunk driving, drugged driving and underage drinking consequences. For me, being able to attend the Day of Remembrance event in Phoenix, Arizona was an honor. When I arrived at the event, I was greeted by 50 police motorcycles lining the walkway. Law enforcement officers greeted victims and survivors as they walked in to the event. It took my breath away.
The entrance to the auditorium was draped with beautiful flowers, candles and a long table of place settings representing the loved we have lost. The table setting is to represent that those lost will always have a place. And that all victims will always have a place at MADD.
As victims, we don't need a day to remember, because we remember everyday.....yesterday....today...and tomorrow. The Day of Remembrance was a day set aside to receive and give hugs and to celebrate the ones we cherish each day. It's the reason I was there...to honor those we lost, to service those still with us and to prevent these tragedies to happening to any other family.
If you were able to join a Day of Remembrance event, I hope you keep with you that you will always have a place at MADD. If you were unable to attend, please know that MADD is here 24/7. Our victim advocates are available at 1-877-MADD-HELP any hour of the day.
MADD’s Day of Remembrance may be over, but we will honor and remember your loved ones every day as we continue our life-saving mission to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, prevent underage drinking, and serve the victims of these violent crimes.
Wishing you all the best memories, and a wonderful holiday season.