After Emanuel AME Church Murders: The Grieving Process

kubler-ross-grief-cycle-1-728Yesterday, during our morning worship service, I read the names of the nine people murdered at Emanuel AME Church last Wednesday by suspected killer 21 year old Dylann Roof at Emanuel AME Church last Wednesday.  I am still at a loss for words that would capture all of the feelings and thoughts that are running around in my mind.  I am sure that there are countless others who feel the same way.

And there are plenty of people who want to tell us how to feel and offer appropriate ways to respond to this violation of sacred space.  But, amidst calls for justice and quick forgiveness for those uncomfortable with the reasons for their death– the fact is that Roof wanted to start a race war– still this indescribable loss of life death warrants grief.  With too many instances of police and community conflict, this recent mass murdering calls for a time of lament.

So, how do we grieve?  Elizabeth Kubler- Ross offers these five stages:

1.  Denial: “This is not happening.”

2. Anger: “Why me?  Why my loved one?”

3. Bargaining: “If I/ he/ she/ they do this, then everything will be as it was before.”

4. Depression: “I can’t do this.  This/ They will never change.  There is no reason to continue.”

5. Acceptance: “It’s unfortunate that it happened but I have to move on now.  What can I learn from this?”

As we remember them, consider these steps in your journey toward healing.



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Seeking to lead words and people to their highest and most authentic expression, I am the principal architect of a race/less world.

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