Bereavement due to traumatic death

Linda - Interview 15

Female
Age at interview: 52

Brief outline: In 2007 Linda's son, Kevin, was murdered. He was 27 years old. He was stabbed and died 5 hours later. It was a terrific shock to all the family. Linda misses Kevin tremendously but her spiritual beliefs have helped her cope with her grief.

Background: Linda works to prevent misuse of drugs. She is married and has 4 children (1 died). Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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In 2007 Linda’s son, Kevin, was murdered. He was 27 years old. He was stabbed by his sister’s ex-boyfriend because he told the ex-boyfriend to leave his sister alone. Kevin was taken to hospital but died five hours later, because the knife had punctured his heart. Kevin’s death was a tremendous shock.
 
Members of the family and Kevin’s girl friend were allowed to see him in the hospital mortuary. At that stage Kevin was treated as “police property” and there were two autopsies. Linda found this very difficult; the fact that the police were in control of her son’s body.
 
There was an inquest that was opened and closed. The verdict was “death with a single stab wound to the heart”. The family could then go ahead with the funeral. It was a humanist funeral, which was held at the crematorium. Some of Kevin’s ashes were scattered on local Downs. The family put a bench in one of the local parks in memory of Kevin. Linda also asked an artist to spray paint her hallway with aspects of Kevin’s life and a picture of his face. She has also planted a rose bush in his memory.
 
Linda still misses Kevin very much. Her spiritual beliefs have helped her and she takes solace in meditation. She believes that she will meet Kevin again one day and that he is in a “better place”. Other members of the family have had some bereavement counselling. Linda decided she did not need counselling, mainly because of her belief system.
 
At first Linda felt guilty if she did not think about her son all the time, but now she realises that she cannot always think of him. If she thought about Kevin constantly she would not get through the day. Linda also says that it is important to remember the good times they all had with Kevin.
 
The trial was a year after Kevin died, in September 2008. Linda found the court case “horrific”. There were two people on trial, one for murder and one for accessory to murder. Their families sat close to Linda and her family in the public gallery, which was awful. The case went on for two and a half weeks. The jury decided that the killer, who had taken steroids and cannabis, had committed murder. It was a unanimous decision. The other man was acquitted. The judge read the impact statements made by Linda and by Kevin’s girl friend and sentenced the murderer to sixteen and a half years in jail.
 
Linda believes that it is important to have a focus for the next year. She has chosen to climb Kilimanjaro to collect money for the hospital where Kevin died. She finds that training for the climb has helped her cope.
 
Linda has forgiven her son’s murderer. She says that she can not live the rest of her life hating him. However, she says that the rest of the family cannot forgive him.
 
Linda was interviewed in 2008.

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