The following is a reflection written by PBCP Executive Director, Amy Greensfelder, LMSW
The PBCP team was honored to take part in our friends at Roberta’s House commemoration of National Remembrance Day for Murder Victims. PBCP is privileged to work with Roberta’s House to ensure that the surviving loved ones of homicide victims get the support they need.
I don’t often have the occasion to bring my daughter to work functions with me—she spends her days at preschool, and most of my work isn’t exactly the kind of thing that’s appropriate for a 3-year-old. She’s popped by the office from time to time, and tagged along with me to a few family friendly outreach events, but most days, she’s off doing her thing while I’m doing mine.
I felt compelled to bring her to the Remembrance Day though—it was part of my work that she could see and participate in, it was first thing in the morning, and it was right on the route to her school.
With a few reminders she managed to “listen with her ears” as Roberta’s House Homicide Advocates talked about their important work, and Roberta’s House President, Annette March-Grier, shared inspiring words with the survivors of homicide. The event closed with a balloon release, where survivors shared affirmations and the names of their deceased loved ones. By this point, Georgie had wandered into the bushes, but the release of the balloons brought her back into the fold of the event.
I wasn’t really sure what she’d gotten from the event—she had indicated excitement about going to “Coberta’s House” and wanted to know, “Where is Ms. Coberta?” (I decided not to tell her that Ms. Roberta passed away 13 years ago), but I didn’t know what she had actually taken away from the experience, other than a diversion from her normal routine.
After though, when we were in the car, driving to her school she said, “Mama, it was really nice to have the circle time for your work.” Which got me thinking—in preschool lingo, circle time is a time to check in with your friends. During circle time the students share what emotions they’re feeling. Circle time is a part of centering the day with a ritual. While she didn’t fully grasp the entirety of the event, Georgie picked up that people were sharing emotions, and participating in ritual—both of which are important parts of the grieving process, that all who have suffered a loss of any kind, can benefit from.
PBCP provides free counseling to Marylanders who are experiencing sadness, grief, stress, or life transitions. Our important work with survivors of homicide is supported by funding from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, Survivor’s of Homicide Grant program. To get connected to services, call our office at 410.825.1001.