Sense & Sensitivity

Mom Finding It Hard to Deal After Brother's Murder

DEAR HARRIETTE: My uncle just passed away. He was killed in a drive-by shooting not far from his house. He wasn’t involved in a gang; he was in the wrong place at wrong time. My mom was close with him and hasn’t been coping well. The police have no leads. Nobody is paying for this senseless murder.

My uncle was a single man without children, so it’s just like he’s gone. That’s it. It’s almost like he never existed. My mom can’t handle it. She’s been drinking a lot and crying. How can I be there for her during this hard time? -- Worried and Mourning, Jersey City, New Jersey

DEAR WORRIED AND MOURNING: What a horrible tragedy. Of course your mother is devastated. Her grief is natural, and it should pass in time. You are wise to seek help, though. Encourage your mother to get counseling from your church or community center. She can also receive counseling through an online therapist. Check out betterhelp.com, a website that matches people with counselors based on their needs. In this way, for a fee that is often lower than average therapy costs, she can get help without leaving home.

You can also encourage your mother to see friends and family members. Suggest to loved ones that they come over to visit. They may need to be pushy at first in order to get her attention.

Finally, check with the local precinct to see if there is a status change about finding your uncle’s killer. If the case can be solved, that would at least give your mother some sense of justice.

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