Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) is a peer support group that meets regularly to try to cope with the loss of loved ones.
I attended a Parents of Murdered Children meeting tonight with my investigator school classmates. It's a group I respect but don't envy. One I admire but never want to be a member of. The attendees each wore a name tag with two names: their own, and that of their murdered child.
My fellow officers and I sat quitely in the back while the parents took turns introducing themselves. One by one they told of violent assaults, shootings, robberies, and home invasions that claimed the lives of one or more of their children. Their stories were horrific, tragic, and painfully sad. I listened to them describe the brutal and senseless murders of toddlers, teenagers, and young adults as they trembled with anguish, anger, and grief.
A few of the stories were familiar to me as being higher profile cases. I had long forgotten these news stories and now saw the grieving moms and dads trying to piece together their lives. They described the years of court hearings, trials, plea bargains, and interviews. They spoke of unsolved murders, ridiculously short prison terms, and unscrupulous defense attorneys. It was obvious some of these parents will never 'get over it' and I don't blame them. Some were too grief-stricken to speak while others vocalized their fury.
I learned a lot about how important the initial contact between police officer and relative of victim is. Many felt victimized twice (by the murderer and by an insensitive, accusatory police officer). I will think about this night and these parents for a long time.