I’m just back from Phoenix, where I led a writing workshop at the Parents of Murdered Children Conference. The conference is a place for those who have lost someone to murder to gather with others who understand how isolating and stigmatizing a murder in the family can feel, who know that “closure” in the face of a violent and sudden death is a ludicrous concept, who don’t ask “aren’t you over that already?” The workshop turned out to be an amazing experience. I had no idea those of you who came would be so brave and open in putting your stories on the page, and sharing them aloud. I hope you found some release in the writing we did in class, and that you’ll continue with it. Within the next two weeks, I’ll be putting together a worksheet covering everything we went over in workshop, as many of you requested; if you’d like to receive it, be sure to send me an email at rachel at rachel howard dot com. You can also write to me there just to keep in touch and let me know how your writing progresses. I was thoroughly inspired by everyone’s courage, and I’d love to hear from you.

This was the first time I’d attempted teaching a writing workshop for murder survivors; I proceeded only with the knowledge of how much writing had helped me and a gut certainty that it would do the same for others. I was blown away to watch many of your breakthroughs in class, and to hear afterwards that the workshop helped you channel the shock and grief of murder onto the page, so that it no longer has to feel so raw in your own mind. I’m so encouraged by your responses that I know I’ll have to teach this workshop again, at another POMC conference or elsewhere. I wish you all a lot of peace.

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