Remembrance event helps support family members of homicide victims

Remembrance event helps support family members of homicide victims

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Suzanne MaGee has been organizing remembrance events for five years for the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence. Unfortunately, the number of participants is growing.

On Friday night, more than 30 people showed up for the National Day of Remembrance in Gulfport.

MaGee understands the need to help those dealing with the loss of loved ones who were murdered — she gives the kind of support that she didn't get when her brother was murdered 30 years ago.

"I get them to talk about it in the sessions I have with them," MaGee said. "Even if we talk about all kinds of other things, at some point, they feel comfortable and safe. I think that's the big word. They feel safe that no one's judging them and that they can cry. They can let all those emotions out. We didn't have that. So it was very difficult."

Family members shared personal effects from those they lost, placing them on the blanket MaGee saved from her brother. Shells bearing the names of those lost were then thrown into the Mississippi Sound as a memorial.

Katie Hogg's mother was murdered by a stalker in 2006.

"When you come into this group you realize how maybe you haven't dealt with a certain aspect of it," said Hogg. "Or maybe you thought, 'OK. It's over and done with and I can move on with my life.' But when you come into this group and you start talking, you realize, hey, I'm not there."

It's been a long journey for Stephanie Piper, who also works with the Center for Non-Violence. Her sister was murdered in 2005.

"It's been 10 years since my sister left and I'm still not over it. I don't know if I'll ever be over it. I just use her life. Instead of rest in peace, I ask that she live through me," noted Piper. "And I allow her to live through me by helping other people."

The Women's Center for Non-Violence has several programs to help those family members and friends of homicide victims through the grieving process.

For more information, click here to visit their website.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.